Property owners need to weather the storm

From flooding to ice-storms, Canadian homeowners endured a costly 2013. Insurance and real estate agents say homeowners should take a hard lesson from these unfortunate events and invest in equipment or renovation that will protect and may add value to your property in the long-term.


Think about what can damage your property, and take appropriate steps. Water, heat, cold, animals, and trees/plants can all have a detrimental effect on your property, depending on the circumstances. Everything from back-flow valves in your basement, to ice/snow arrestors on your roof, to trimming tree branches, and investing in a back-up generator are some easy ways to protect your investment.

Many people balk at the cost, for example, of a generator. The few thousand dollars it might set you back (including appropriate set-up inside your property), can prevent tens of thousands of dollars in damage and lost revenue if you have water pipes freeze and burst during a drawn-out power outage.
Will preventative measures add value to your home?
Just like renovating a kitchen versus a washroom, or installing hardwood flooring versus finishing your basement adds more or less value to your property, various preventative measures will add value over time.
After an ice storm like Toronto just experienced before Christmas 2013, people are more apt to pay attention if a landlord or seller has a few solar panels installed for a bare minimum of power in case of the electrical system failing. It is the same for a generator or kerosene heater.
These preventative measures are still a “nice to have”, and not a “need to have”, but consumer awareness is increasing, and while the financial return cannot always be calculated exactly, there is value.
For example, if you lease your property two months sooner, or sell three months faster, there is a real value in not keeping a space empty, or carrying a property and mortgage for a longer period of time.
During the recent ice storm, when I told some of my clients that years ago we rigged our furnace so we could plug it into a gas-powered generator we have, many of them paid attention and said they would like to investigate such measures for themselves in the new year.


Claude Boiron is an author, speaker and commercial real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Terrequity Realty. For more information, please call (905) 882-8000, or visit

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