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10 Home Improvements To Increase The Value Of Your Property

Author: Melissa Cohen
Date: 2017-05-17
Flip your first property for the maximum asking price or up the future value with these great tips from a real estate professional.
Property in South Africa is expensive for the average middle-income earner. Whether due to affordability or ignorance (transfer duty, attorney's fees, etc.), first-time home buyers often compromise on their dream home and settle in houses that are too small and areas that are far from central, just to get a foot in the property door. How can homeowners like these up their property game and get closer to ‘Home Sweet Heaven’? We ask Remax Central broker manager, Cameron Jansen.

How To Increase The Value Of Your Property

According to Jansen, it’s unusual for a first-time home buyer to buy a freehold (freestanding) property because of the maintenance it entails.
“The majority of first-time home buyers are probably buying into a complex (sectional title),” he says. But both freehold and sectional properties each offer owners unique opportunities to maximize the value it can offer a new buyer. “A first time home buyer, in all likelihood, would just be excited that they’re in a financial position to buy a home,” says Jansen. He emphasizes that most would be focusing on the fit and finishings of the home. Did you know that you can stand to save up to 35% on your monthly premiums by combining your car and home insurance? CLICK BELOW to get multiple quotes!

How To Increase The Value Of A Sectional Title

1. Install A Shower

Jansen reports that many of the complexes from 20 to 40 years ago didn’t have showers. He says a new buyer coming in would hope to find both a bath and a shower. But if only one, it would need to be a shower.
“Very few people are bathing these days,” he says. “In today’s market, if you don’t have a house with a shower, you’re definitely behind the curve.”

2. Lift The Carpets

“Older properties will typically have a lot of carpeting. Some of them will even have carpeting in the bathroom!” says Jansen.
He suggests people hoping to sell should give buyers what they want. Since people have moved away from carpets, tiling in the living spaces is a good choice, as well as laminate flooring in the bedrooms. As low maintenance as possible.

3. Update The Tiles

“Not too long ago, the average tile size in your property was what they call a ‘330x330’ and what we’re finding now is that tile sizes are getting bigger,” reports Jansen. “An average tile size would be 500x500.”
He says a bigger tile is an immediate indicator that a property has been updated or renovated. He doesn’t advise blowing the budget, but looking at what the biggest, nicest, tile under R110 per meter square.

4. Paint By Trend

Make sure your property is as on trend as possible. The colour palette at the moment is neutral beige and grey colours. “A lot of people might like a feature wall: a maroon, or a dark blue; but your feature wall and my feature wall would obviously be different,” says Jansen.
He says: paint the property in a neutral colour that is the ‘colour of the moment’. To find out what that is, consult the latest home magazines or ask your local paint shop what the popular colours are at the moment. But focus on neutrality - not the bright colours.

5. Bathroom DIY

“Let’s say I bought a townhouse that was 10 years old - the basin in the bathroom is probably a basin and a pedestal,” says Jansen. He advises doing an easy DIY: replacing the pedestal with a cabinet for extra storage and to modernise the look of the bathroom.

6. Replace The Taps

Jansen says it's unlikely developers would install the best taps money can buy. People like the look and feel of the newer taps and slightly bigger shower heads. Not the small oval rose balls of 15 years ago.

7. New Handles

“Something that you can easily do is change the handles on the cupboard doors.” Find something that’s the same size as the old handles, but modern. “It just gives the whole place a much fresher look,” says Jansen, who recommends the chrome or brushed metal look.
In your kitchen, especially, replace or update the cupboard doors. Chalk paint is quite trendy for a new look.

How To Increase The Value Of A Freehold Property (Big Changes)


8. A Real Garage

People perceive more value in a closed garage than in a ‘Hollywood garage’. Jansen explains that what’s known as a ‘Hollywood garage’ has all the looks of a real garage from the front, but on the other side of the door, there’s nothing there. It offers the look but not the security of a closed garage.

9. Security

Something that all South Africans will probably be looking at is security. Does the house have an alarm? Burglar bars? Who are the local security providers in that area? I don’t think any of us want to live in a prison. Those houses that have all security but don’t have the security bars that make it look like a prison, those are going to sell faster than those with the good-old-fashioned grid over the windows. It’s probably the number one thing people will ask, particularly with your freeholds.

10. Domestic Quarters

Most of the buyers looking at your standard three-bedroom, two-bathroom freeholds are young families or couples looking to start a family.
“These days both parents work, so they’d require a live-in nanny for the children. So you’re looking at domestic quarters for the nanny,” says Jansen.

Guidelines For Big Renovations

“The big problem is the cost of the renovation. If I wanted to add another bathroom, I’m probably looking at anything between and R120 000 and probably R150 000 - and that’s at cost. The question is: will I get that money back whether I decide to sell or not? “The likelihood is you‘ll make your money back over a period of time. The general advice that I’ve given in the past is, don’t renovate to sell, you should be renovating to live. Particularly in the current marketplace. In trending suburbs, something like that could probably be a good idea. But if it’s not in a trending suburb and there isn't a huge demand for it, then you’ve got to be very careful about overspending on the property. The likelihood of you getting your money back is not very good,” concludes Jansen.

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