Schalk van der Merwe of Rawson properties urges property owners not to dismiss the idea of renovations as an alternative way to upgrade their property and get a better return. “Buying and selling property is expensive these days,” he says. “The cost of selling a R1.5million home and buying a R2.5million home is in the region of R250k. Spending this kind of money needs some serious consideration – it’s definitely possible that adding on or renovating your existing home might be a better option.”
The current average cost of additions and alterations to existing homes in SA is about R7323 per sqm, which is around 17% higher than at this time last year. But not all home improvements are this costly. There are other ways to add value without breaking the bank. For example, a few weeks of hard work in the garden and a fresh coat of paint can give an older home a whole new look and boost its market value considerably..
“At the same time, you should seek qualified advice on whether the house you plan to renovate is structurally sound, on whether it needs costly re-wiring, re-roofing or new plumbing and on the estimated cost of the changes you would like to make, says Berry Everitt, CEO of Chas Everitt.
According to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX SA: “In a buyer’s market, sellers often over-invest on renovations to make sure that their home sells. However, not all renovations will add value to your home. “You can then work out whether there is a sufficient margin between the average home selling price in the area and the current value of your home – or the one you plan to buy – to justify what you plan to spend on renovating or upgrading the property.”
It does mean, however, that buyers and owners need to take proper precautions to avoid over-capitalising by undertaking expensive home improvement projects in an area that would not immediately support a sale price that included the original cost of the house plus the cost of the planned improvements.”
“You don’t have to break the bank when it comes to improvements to your property that increases its value,” says interior designer Christo Koegelenberg, who has worked closely with Romney Park Luxury Apartments on its recent upgrade. “Making some small but clever changes to your property can make a substantial difference to the price of your residence.”
Here are a few tips for effective improvements to help you get the most out of your property.
1. Upgrade the kitchen
“Upgrading your kitchen need not be an expensive overhaul, and small changes can go a long way,” says Koegelenberg. If your kitchen has your stock-standard Formica, for example, replace it with granite tops to instantly give a much better look and feel.
“At Romney Park Luxury Apartments, I changed the colour of the cabinets and used bespoke crystal doorknobs, a luxurious update that was also cost effective,” says Koegelenberg.
2. Upgrade the bathroom
In the bathroom, make sure the grouting is all clean and in good repair. “Tiles don’t always need to be replaced, but a good tile paint can be a huge improvement,” says Koegelenberg. And think about swapping out your old taps for a contemporary mixer to give it a new look.
3. Create more light
Being clever with lighting can make your home look a lot larger. Koegelenberg suggests creating additional light by hanging a large mirror directly opposite the biggest window in the room, which will instantly help brighten up the space.
Another cost-effective option is to use lighter-coloured curtains that will allow sunshine to spread throughout the room. And a floor lamp is a great option to get upward light in those dark corners that the natural light can’t reach. Glass sliding doors and large windows allow for ample natural light to enter, and a mixture of sheer and neutral-coloured curtains were used to create a bright room even on winter days.
4. Go green
Energy consumption is a growing concern in South Africa, so making your home more energy efficient will go a long way to adding value. Ensure that all light bulbs are LED and put timers on any outside lights so they are only used when necessary.
In an average household, the geyser accounts for 40-60% of the monthly electricity bill. If a solar geyser isn’t an option, invest in a geyser blanket to clad the water cylinder and hot water pipes. And install a timer to ensure the geyser is only switched on when it’s needed. Water usage is also something we need to watch in South Africa. Ensure all taps are leak free and install water-efficient showerheads.
5. Walls must be pristine
“First impressions count, and if your walls aren’t looking great, it can give the impression that the house is shabby in other places too,” says Koegelenberg. Make sure there are no chips, mould or bubbling from damp.
6. Replace damaged floors if necessary
The same goes for the floors. Replace any chipped tiles, and ensure carpets are clean and in good condition. Wood laminate is a cost-effective option for areas of floor that need attention.
SOURCE: Chas Everitt; RE/MAX; Romney Park; Rawson