What Will Happen to the Toronto Cube House?

toronto cube house
Martin Trainor calls the cubes home sweet home. From the Toronto Star

Toronto is home to a score of amazing architectural feats. There’s the striking, contentious Crystal addition which juts out onto the street from the Royal Ontario Museum; the glass palace that is the Globe & Mail Centre; and, of course, the iconic CN Tower.

With so many massive structures, it’s easy to forget this modest entry in modern architecture: the cube house on Sumach St.

Designed by architect Ben Kutner in 1996, the Unitri cubes may be the most unique home in Toronto. And though it’s not as big as the ROM or the G&M, it’s hard to miss it.

The home is sandwiched between two on/off ramps between Adelaide and Eastern Avenue, greeting drivers heading to and from the Don Valley Parkway. Though originally intended as a three-condo unit, it has gradually transformed into a house-billboard hybrid.

Each cube is 42 feet by 42 feet and divided into three separate floors, which adds up to over 9,000 square feet of living space. Though they have few windows, the cubes get enough natural light to grow house plants inside.

Kutner based his idea on Rotterdam’s famous Cubic Houses. The cubes are designed to be the versatile and affordable modular homes of the future. They can be erected in weeks and arranged complex residential or commercial units. They can also fit in areas where there’s no room to build a traditional house. Kutner calls them, “Meccano on steroids.”

Of course, the cubes didn’t catch on like their Dutch inspiration did. Kutner never got around to building more cube homes, and they didn’t exactly lead the way to the future of architecture. But that just makes the Toronto prototype all the more special.

CBC video producer Martin Trainor calls the cube house home for fifteen years. “I choose to live here because it’s unique”, he says. “It’s a great architectural masterpiece, if you ask me.”

Unfortunately, these cute little cubes face an uncertain future. Last fall, the owner of the property placed the entire lot up for sale – cube home and all.

It’s not surprising, given how the value of the land has soared in the past decade. Since the cubes are just over twenty years old, it’s unlikely they could get protection as heritage properties. What happens to the Unitri cubes will be up to whoever buys the property.

Sure, not everyone wants to live in a forest-green cube with billboards plastered to the side. But there’s no shortage of identical suburban townhomes out there for plain, ordinary folk to snap up. There’s only one Unitri cube in all the world!

Building are part of what make the city what it is. Let’s hope the eventual buyer will help keep this spark alive.

Is Hiring a Real Estate Photographer Worth It?

real estate photographer

Our previous post stressed the importance of curb appeal in selling a home. TL;DR: Buyers won’t bother to look inside if the outside doesn’t look right, so make sure your home puts on its best face before it hits the real estate listings.

This brings us to another important point: while curb appeal matters, the first time buyers see your home is not literally from the curb. It’s in an online real estate listing. More specifically, they see a photo of the exterior of your home.

90% of buyers look for homes on the Internet, and 83% of them say photos are the most important and useful feature on a listing.

If the main listing photo see doesn’t appeal, buyers will gladly scroll past it. If the interior shots disappoint, it may not be enough to keep them interested. A person’s decision to take the leap and schedule a viewing often turns on the quality of the photos inside.

That’s why it’s usually worthwhile to hire a real estate photographer.

Why Can’t I Just Take My Own Photos?

Well, you can take your own photos for your real estate listing. Your realtor can, too. After all, everyone has a cell phone. Most cell phones have cameras. And these cameras are getting better and more high-def all the time.

But should you take your own photos? In most cases, you should not.

The thing is, a great camera does not make a great photographer. Photography is an art, and it takes years of study and practice to become skilled in the art of photography. Taking great real estate listing photos is about more than setting up a tripod and taking the shots. It involves an understanding of lighting, placement, and angles.

Inadequate lighting makes your space look dreary or washed out. Bad angles can emphasize the home’s rough edges while neglecting the good. Poor placement make your space look smaller than it should.

An experience real estate photographer has the knowledge and expertise to capture your home effectively. You want your photos to provide an strong representation of your home. It shouldn’t just convey what your home looks like – it should entice buyers to take a closer look.

A professionally-shot home has a better chance to stand out among the other listings, attract higher offers, and close faster.

What if I Don’t Have a Realtor?

When it comes to selling their house, more and more people are taking the matters into their own hands.

Today, anyone can create a real estate listing with ease. There are plenty of resources out there to help ordinary people navigate the home selling process. In the spirit of DIY and the pursuit of higher returns, many homeowners decide to sell directly to buyers – no realtor involved.

The quality of your photos is even more important when you’re going it alone. Lacking the network and marketing machine that comes with a realtor, you’ll want to take every advantage you can get to sell your home. Hiring a professional real estate photographer can help.

Since professional photos can increase the value of a home, investing in good photos can pay off in the long run.