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12 Condo Floorplan Tips and Tricks from the Experts |

A Condo Floorplan Guide for Your Next Real Estate Investment

Okay, we tried to tell you this years ago and some of you listened and well, some of you did not. But, never say never. There is always time to get your game plan in play and we think 2019 might just be your year! The Toronto condo market is on fire (and there are a lot of reasons why), one being that the long of the short of it has everything to do with low supply and high demand. In fact, the condo market segment is sizzling with prices up 9.4%* versus the same time last year, and $1,000 PSF becoming commonplace. So, with this in mind, we put together a Condo Floorplan Guide to help you start thinking about your next real estate investment or end-user play.

* Toronto MLS April Market Watch [C01 Composite Appreciation Y-O-Y] 


12 Condo Floorplan Tips and Tricks 

In our opinion, nothing should ever be average. And, these 12 tips will help take your condo floorplan from ordinary to extraordinary, increasing profitability and return on investment! 


1. Say Yes! …to a Door

Please be sure that your master bedroom has a real door! Not a tracked door, sliding door, or pocket door. Rather, a wooden door with hinges that opens and closes for privacy, design aesthetic, and most importantly resale potential. It’s amazing how excited we get when we see a swing door on a condo floorplan. It’s the little things, right? 


2. No Man is an Island

A kitchen island or peninsula should be mandatory. And, it’s preferred if you can look out over your living space or dining area. If there isn’t one existing or offered by the developer, source one or have one made. CB2, Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware and Ikea all have great options if you’re stuck! And, it’s always smart to cruise Craigslist, Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace for affordable solutions that “up” your condo kitchen game!


3. Customize Your Storage

Since condo floorplans are often small, especially the bedrooms…storage solutions can be tricky and require some creativity. If you want to add value, convenience and a touch of luxury to an average condo apartment, hire a custom closet designer! Prices are very competitive among most closet companies, so you can score a great deal for a winning wardrobe if you shop around. There are also some excellent DIY options out there for our weekend warriors who like to work with a single allen key and a bag full of nuts and bolts! 


4. Fresh City Air

Show us a little outdoor space! Fifty square feet would do the trick. We’re talking a little bistro set, some plants and good-old-fashioned urban air flow. This can be a deal breaker for buyers. So, be sure to select a condo floorplan with a balcony, terrace, or simple Juliette. It’s a given that your space will feel bigger and brighter especially if you spend a few dollars bringing it to life with some outdoor decking (Ikea and Home Depot have great options), greenery, and a BBQ.


5. Your Hardware

We have never seen a developer source amazing hardware for kitchens and bathrooms – not even in the luxury market. So, you simply need to follow these basic instructions. Hop in an Uber, head over to Restoration Hardware or Lee Valley, select new door poles for $25 per piece (be sure to know the exact measurement from screw-to-screw of your existing hardware). From here, replace every single cabinet in your kitchen and bath. We guarantee, your condo will instantly look better than your neighbours’ without needing to hire a handyman. If you want to get a little adventurous, source hardware in black, brushed brass or rose-gold to shake up generic, condo cabinetry.


6. It’s Small, But Mighty

Change your kitchen backsplash please and thank you. $3.00/PSF for a porcelain tile that looks like marble – for such a small amount of square area, this is practically pocket change. Add some Ikea undermount lighting and your average condo kitchen now looks like a custom job! 


7. Smooth It Out

Smooth ceilings AND high ceilings. Obvious, but true. It’s not the most inexpensive fix to remove the cheap popcorn ceiling job. But, we think it’s worth saving some pretty pennies to smooth out the ends and finish things the right way. If you’re lucky, you can often expose a beautiful concrete ceiling that has buyers begging for more! 


8. Bring on the Sunshine

Natural light from any exposure is key. Our personal preference is a western exposure, but not always viable. Cosmetic upgrades are an easy fix; however, adding natural light is an impossibility. We always encourage you to purchase a less-than-beautiful but bright condo floorplan versus a dark and fashionable one any day of the week! And remember, sunny south exposures are beautiful but can be smoking hot in the middle of the day. No one needs to roll down their shades and pump the air conditioning in the middle of the day.


9. “Media” Rooms

If you have your heart set on a “den space”, be sure it functions as something other than a place to store your suitcase and mountain bike. A small office or spare room would be ideal. And, if you cannot make the space functional (meaning, there is a usage), skip the den and opt for a one bedroom. It’s not worth the extra $50K for a cut-out in the wall that you can’t actually use.


10. ELFs (Electrical Light Fixtures)

If you’re looking to rent, sell or live in your condo, the best design decision you can make is to change out all of your light fixtures. It is worth a trip to Morba or West Elm for some contemporary options to replace the cheap developer flush mounts. Give Jiffy (the app) a call to source a professional electrician for your install, and you’ll see your space transform within an hour’s time! This is one of our biggest condo staging tricks that transform our photography and inspires potential buyers alike.


11. Glass or No Glass?

What if you have the option for a glassed-in shower versus a bathtub? Our thoughts? It’s not going to make or break a transaction. Ideally, the glassed-in shower alternative goes into smaller suites with a single washroom. For larger condo floorplan suites, with the potential for young families, you should opt for a bathtub, hands down! 


12. Stay Away From the “Bowling Alley”

Last but definitely not least! Whatever you do, avoid the long and narrow condo floorplan often referred to as a bowling alley. What does this mean? Dodge a long hallway with all of the rooms off to one side.  Most of these floorplans have a windowless bedroom with pocket doors. Instead, go with a deep and shallow floorplan or something square and boxy. These types of condo floorplans can maximize day-to-day living, furniture planning, and resale value!  


What’s Your Next Move?

Whether you are looking to buy or sell your first condominium, we’re confident that these tips and tricks will play a major role in your real estate success story. 

Our goal is to help people get ahead in the Toronto real estate market. By making some smart, strategic moves with your condominium acquisition or divestiture, we know that you’ll be further along than you ever expected!  


This article is written by Kori Marin, Managing Partner and Broker at Fox Marin Associates. With a passion for Scandinavian design and all-things-Toronto, Kori brings her own brand of charismatic energy, creative integrity, and expertise to her work.