Countertop investment, Power of Attorney


Dear David,

We’ve recently repainted our kitchen cabinets and would like to update the countertops. Quartz looks nice, but is it really worth the investment? – UNSURE ABOUT STONE

DEAR UNSURE: Do the cabinets look good with a new coat of paint? If so, then go ahead with quartz counters. Quartz is a long-wearing choice that will look great now and can also offer a higher return on investment when it comes time to sell. Laminate is easy on the wallet by comparison but doesn’t offer much in terms of “wow factor”. If the surrounding kitchen looks fresh, I’d say go ahead with the upgrade and maybe even some new appliances.

A few years ago, I may have answered this question differently. But with home values rising so quickly in our area, higher-end updates (like quartz) cost less than they used to in relation to the overall value of the house. The price of an entry-level home has doubled in the last decade, but the same can’t be said for a slab of quartz. That’s why high-end details like this are showing up in unexpected places, like smaller, newly built condos.

PRO TIP: My one red flag about quartz is that you should choose something with broad appeal instead of making a personal style statement. Bold shades and glitter may look great in the showroom, but if a potential buyer feels your choice is odd or dated, the added value of your high-end upgrade is lost. Ask your Realtor for input.

Dear David,

My uncle had a stroke recently. He has some physical challenges to deal with but is OK mentally. He’s currently in hospital and does not have a financial Power of Attorney. How do we pay his mortgage, utilities and credit cards? – PAYMENT PRESSURE

DEAR PAYMENT: I’m sorry to hear of your uncle’s setback. Powers of Attorney relating to finances and property are separate from those that relate to health care. If either type has not been arranged for your uncle, I encourage you to call a lawyer immediately.

Power of Attorney is the legal document that grants limited authority over finances and property to a specific person. With this document in place, you can accomplish such tasks as writing cheques on your uncle’s behalf or dealing with his financial institution.

Technology can be godsend, given that your uncle is mentally capable. With mobile phone apps, customers can bank from just about anywhere, including a hospital room. This can make things easier for both of you.

PRO TIP: This medical scare should be a wakeup call to have Powers of Attorney in place. If required, a lawyer will come to the hospital to complete the paperwork. If a stroke (or other factor) were to render a person incapable under the law without a POA, their expenses would need to be covered until the necessary powers could be granted by a judge. #AskDavid #Advice