By Chantalle Bell from Engel & Völkers Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd
There is no doubt that house renovations are getting increasingly popular these days and homes are getting upgraded for various reasons. Some are integrating smart home applications and devices, others are doing a complete remodel and there are those who simply want to raise the value of their home for selling. For whichever reason, renovations done have to be sensible and wise, ensuring that the homeowner regains a beneficial return on investment when the time comes to sell.
“As much as we’d like to think that the money we pour into renovations will come back at us in full when we sell our home, that’s rarely the case. However certain renovations add value immediately, some small and exterior-focused improvements offer better value than larger challenging renovations” states Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa. If you are considering making some home improvements, you will want to understand a concept called ROI. ROI stands for return on investment, which means how much money you stand to get back on any particular renovation whenever you decide to sell your home.
Craig continues by warning that many clients choose to add lavish features, thinking that it would make their property stand out. Sometimes standing out might actually be the wrong thing to do, especially if it changes the price tag. One should always remember that what you like, might not be what the next owner would want in a home, and that would mean that they might not be willing to pay for your customisations. If you custom your home too much, you are narrowing your potential buyers down to a very niche few, and this could result in your home remaining on the market for years.
A good place to start is to check the value of the homes in the area to give you a good feel of your home’s value and how much you should spend on the renovations. The last thing you want to do is over capitalise. If you are hoping to make a significant return when selling your home, make sure that the exterior is on par with the rest of the neighbourhood by making minor improvements to create maximum appeal. It is always a good idea to speak to an estate agent in your area to get a sense of the value that doing such improvements could add, and how best to get your renovation to deliver a significant return in future.
Choose smaller renovations instead of major remodelling projects to see the greatest potential return on investment. “Renovations to kitchen and bathrooms can generate a return on investment of between 60-80%. You don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune on renovations. Replacing countertops and flooring with inexpensive tiles, re-enamelling baths and basins and re-grouting existing tiles in a bathroom can all have a major impact on the aesthetics and thus the inherent value of the property. Replacing old taps, light fittings and towel rails and installing mirrors or even re-painting can make the room appear more spacious and clean” advises Ooba. Another area that can add significant value is the garden and the entrance to the house. Neat beds full of healthy plants, manicured lawns and well-maintained boundary walls or fences all create a good impression of your home and can be quite easily achieved.
Renovating? What is the best ROI?
(see the infographic at the bottom of the post)
Loft conversion +192%
It’s often the easiest cheaper and less disruptive way to create an extra space in your house. The loft could be used for an extra bedroom, workroom, TV-room, playroom, study, games room, extra storage or a private home office which will immediately add value.
Going green +65%
Going green can seem totally overwhelming but it may be good to revise your home’s energy consumption. Many buyers look at the amount of energy a home saves because of the increase in electricity costs. Install solar heating panels, switch all or a few of your light bulbs to LED/CFLs, fix leaky taps, install water saving shower heads and have a timer installed on your geysers.
Braai room +80%
There are two types of people those with braai rooms and those still wanting one. A braai room means being able to entertain, irrespective of the elements outside. A small unusable area can easily be altered into a practical braai area. Folding/sliding doors are also an option, enabling a person to have an area completely open when needed, yet closed when the need arises.
Decking / patio +133%
A deck/patio will provide you with more than a place to entertain outside and soak up the sun. Buyers see a deck as offering a seamless transition from inside to outside. It increases a home’s usable space – but costs only about half of what it would to build a new room. A well-made deck is something that can add real wow-factor as well as functionality.
A low maintenance garden could attract a buyer and can be just as appealing as a high maintenance garden. Making use of plants and shrubs that are indigenous to the area will alleviate unnecessary watering and maintenance. An automatic watering system and a water feature will add value to the garden. Ensure that the existing plants and trees in your garden are pruned regularly.
If you live in a higher-end neighbourhood and most of your neighbours have pools then not having a pool might make your home harder to sell. A pool can add value to your quality of life and enhance the enjoyment of your home; you can’t put a price tag on that. If it’s an upmarket area, however, having a pool may be an expectation. Only the homeowner can determine the true return on this investment.
New bathroom +75%
Simple bathroom fixes are a great way to redecorate your home and add value, without having to invest a lot of money in renovations. Refresh the paintwork, deep clean, replace the taps, replace that shower curtain with a glass screen, and invest in a heated towel rail rather than a hook on the back of the door. Let plenty of light in – fit more or bigger windows if possible, think about installing skylights.
Redecorating can make a property look brand-new. Add a splash of paint, your paintwork sends a strong message to buyers. Change the light switches, the standard white light switches tend to look yellow over time. Rethink window treatments, is the glass sparkling, check that the latches are working correctly. Revive the flooring, replace old rugs and ensure all of your floorings are clean and well kept.
New kitchen +80%
Redecorating your kitchen is one of the best ways to add value to your home. It’s essential to have it looking up-to-date, clean and functional. Replace kitchen cabinet doors/handles and drawer fronts, replace kitchen countertops. Add the wow factor with soft closings and some nifty storage solutions. Create as much space as possible. Use down-lights underneath the cupboards or in bulkheads to light splash-backs and countertops for a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Fit the garage with shelves and cupboard space and replace the garage door. Most homes have double garages – you could build a flatlet above the garage. Talk to estate agents to find out what buyers in your area want most – living space, another bedroom, an office. Potential buyers could view this as a way of generating additional income as it could be rented out or even used as office space.
This is possibly one of the most important features for resale value. Upgrading your home security will not only be lucrative for you when you decide to sell your property but will also benefit you currently. Adding features like electric fencing, beams, and perhaps security cameras or merely upgrading your fencing will create a safer environment for you and for the potential buyer.