Adding value to your home

If you have followed the adage “location, location, location” and purchased a home in a desirable area, there will be a natural appreciation of the value of your home over time, following property price increases and the demand for homes in certain areas. But there are steps you can take to boost the value of your home over and above this too, like adding a garden flat or conducting renovations.

All investors want their investments to accumulate in value – it’s part of the process of wealth building – and as Home Owners, we become investors too. Your home is a financial investment that can accumulate in value, however this needs to be carefully managed.

Boosting your Home Value

Regular home maintenance is the most basic and important step to take to ensure your home maintains its value. Keeping gutters and drains in good working order, replacing old roof tiles and making sure walls and fences are in great condition will not only keep your home secure in adverse weather conditions, but will also make sure it stays looking good to potential buyers should you ever decide to sell.

Renovations or additions to your home are another way to increase value. Building a garden flat or home office, extending your home to add a bedroom or bathroom, or simply renovating your kitchen are all reliable ways to increase the value of your property. However, this is not something that should be undertaken without the proper homework because if done wrong, you stand a chance of losing money instead of adding value.

First things First

Whether you’re thinking about selling your house or simply looking to do renovations, it’s important to know the impact the changes can have on your home’s value. So-called “House flippers” make their living from buying and upgrading homes and then reselling them at a profit, but you may choose to simply boost your investment, without choosing to sell immediately afterwards.  However, before you do anything, you should keep these suggestions in mind:

  • Only hire professional, reputable contractors.
  • Ensure your building plans are legal by having them approved by your local municipality.
  • Be certain that you have more than enough cashflow for your project.
  • Have a professional architect look at your plans before breaking walls.
  • Avoid removing unique features, such as fire places

Kitchens and Bathrooms

In the real estate business, it’s common knowledge that a buyer will be swayed by these two areas in a home. So, if you’re considering making a change somewhere, make sure your kitchen and bathrooms are up to scratch before you renovate any other areas.  If you’re looking to make small alterations to your kitchen or bathrooms, there are several options to consider, such as:

  • Handles
  • Taps
  • Shower heads
  • Railings
  • Cupboard doors

For bigger renovations and upgrades, redoing the entire area – complete with new counter tops, cupboards, a walk-in shower and new tiles – can result in a good return when you decide to sell. Professionals in the industry will also suggest, if your property only has 1 bathroom but more than 2 bedrooms, rather invest in a second bathroom, as opposed to renovating the existing one.

Outdoor Areas

In South Africa, we’re all about the braai and outside culture. So, if your home has a garden with potential for an entertainment area, it’s certainly worth investigating your options and budget. Taking into account comfort, accessibility and space, along with the right budget, you could consider installing a sheltered, built-in braai with a wooden deck or patio area for entertainment.

Additionally, a well-kept garden provides a beautiful background for your home – as well as a place for your children to entertain themselves – which can make a good first impression on potential buyers before they have even seen the interior. Flower pots, trimmed lawns and hedges and a few flower beds or indigenous shrubs can add an appeal in the long run. Also, consider adding some environmentally- friendly features to your garden, such as a rain-water tank.

And finally, we’ve all heard the great debate about swimming pools. Yes, they do tend to make a home more desirable to buyers.  However, if your property does not have one already, it’s important to consider the cost of installing and maintaining one, against the value it will add to your home.

Time for a Change

Before you undertake renovations in order to boost the value to your property, ensure to seek advice from professionals in the industry. Real estate agents, building contractors, architects and home loan consultants can each offer valuable insight that’s been gained from experience. So, whether it’s a garden flat, swimming pool or small upgrades and renovations, ensure you get professional input before you start breaking walls.

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