Home + Garden Show Professional advice and inspiring ideas

By Peter Squire

Following the customary Parade of Homes, is the Winnipeg Home + Garden Show which was held this past weekend from April 7-10. Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board was a proud sponsor and had the opportunity to moderate the main stage. 

Shannon Novak, the show coordinator worked with her team to make everything look terrific on the third floor of the RBC Convention Centre and take advantage of bringing in a good stream of natural light from the new addition which extends south over St. Mary’s Avenue. It was truly an inspiring event which showcased many ideas to accessorize and enhance the outdoor experience. If one thing the two-year pandemic created besides seeking more suitable space for one’s living arrangements was exploring a larger outdoor living area since people were not travelling and working from home. How can you turn your yard into a more usable and attractive space to sit and enjoy and entertain friends and family?

The headliner for this year’s show who drew big crowds to see him on the main stage was Bryan Baeumler of HGTV Canada fame. One thing we heard from Baeumler and echoed by local renovators and  REALTORS® was practical tips on where to spend your money on renovations that bring real value to your home.

Some of this information came out of a main stage panel the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board (WRREB) presented on Saturday and was moderated by Peter Squire, WRREB’s Vice-president of External Relations and Market Intelligence. The real estate expert panelists included WRREB’s 2022 president Akash Bedi, Manitoba Real Estate Association president Stewart Elston, Appraisal Institute of Canada-Manitoba chapter director Alana Jennings-Coutts and Denis Brunet, the Manitoba representative for Mortgage Professionals Canada who heads up Mortgage Architects in Winnipeg.

Both REALTOR® representatives spoke of being careful and thoughtful in understanding your strategy and plans with respect to a renovation as it will not always translate into the value you may be expecting if it is a significant cost and undertaking (e.g. major addition or high end kitchen) in a neighbourhood which will not command the price you think the home is worth. Elston also mentioned that as much as we are in a seller’s market with homes receiving multiple offers and prices well above list price, do not think there are not discerning buyers in the market who can really see the difference in do-it-yourself renovations and professional contract ones. Buyers are paying premium prices for homes in this current market but homeowners thinking of selling their home need to be cognizant of the MLS® listings which are doing better in this regard as a result of presenting the home in a very favourable light, inside and out, as curb appeal will draw more buyers to look at your home.

Jennings-Coutts, the residential appraiser on the panel, brought to everyone’s attention a smart and concise brochure the Appraisal Institute of Canada has published called How to Value Your Renovations. It segments the type of renovations you do into ones which bring you the highest returns such as kitchens, bathrooms, decluttering and repainting interior and exterior of home to renovations to maintain the worth of the home. They include replacing roofing, updating the heating and cooling systems, replacing windows and doors, repairing structural defects, and updating electrical. There are also what top five renovations can bring the highest enjoyment value and the best return on your investment. The one that most comes to mind for Manitobans has to be basement finishing as we have shown a real disposition to take advantage of that additional space to add bedrooms and an entertainment room to watch Netflix and sporting events. Landscaping is another one in this category that has been a trend more homeowners are investing in.

The valuable and helpful advice these four panelists provided with the keen audience in the hour was very enlightening with good questions following the presentation.

A key takeaway is you need to be consulting a professional when dealing with the most important investment of your life. Be it finding the right mortgage and financing terms for your situation even if it is not the lowest rate, understanding the market from an appraisal and real estate perspective when it comes to the neighbourhood you are deciding to purchase in as they not only vary considerably in price but in expectations from buyers that choose to live there. A stucco finish in one area is not the norm in another.

Parting advice from this expert panel is knowing what type of market you are in as it became abundantly clear from listening to both Bedi and Elston that the seller’s market we are in, especially within sought-after Winnipeg neighbourhoods, can be challenging. There are many multiple offer situations so being patient, working with your REALTOR® to ask pertinent questions and to thoroughly review the property disclosure statement (PDS) are even more critical now with so much competition for a home from other buyers. While one home will stand out over others, many other buyers are feeling the same way you do about it.

One point Squire shared with the attendees is if you scan exhibitors throughout the show, most if not all, are part of what makes up the economic impact when one sells or buys a home as there are so many ancillary costs and expenditures. For every home sale, Altus Group estimates it is around $54,000 in economic spin-offs. Even within Manitoba, based on our close to 20,000 MLS® sales in 2021, that equates to $1 billion in economic activity.

Shannon Novak, Show Coordinator had this to say:

“We are extremely happy with how the Winnipeg Home + Garden Show turned out this year. After a two year hiatus for this Show, it was so great to be able to showcase all of our incredible exhibitors and connect with Winnipeggers in person once again. The garden and landscaping displays were gorgeous, and gave us a little taste of spring just ahead of the snow storm. Bryan Baeumler brought a large crowd, as he continues to be a fan favourite in Winnipeg! We also saw such a great response to our first ever Paws-itive Vibes feature, where we partnered with Spirit of Hope Rescue to highlight puppies available for adoption. Four of the puppies were adopted and applications continue to roll in. We’re already looking forward to returning for next year’s Winnipeg Renovation Show from January 13-15 and Winnipeg Home + Garden Show from April 13-16!”

Peter Squire is the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board’s Vice-President, External Relations & Market Intelligence.