How to boost your prop­erty value

Lesotho Times - - Property -

WITH house prices in­creas­ing and the eco­nomic growth fore­cast at an all-time low, now’s the time to in­vest in your home so you can cap­i­talise on its value. This is ac­cord­ing to Ariel Pheif­fer from SA DAMP, who says whether you’re sell­ing now or in the fu­ture, home im­prove­ment projects pay off. Be­low are some value-adding tips… 1. Cre­ate space Ariel says to achieve this, home­own­ers should knock out a non­struc­tural wall or re­move a kitchen is­land. He says any­thing that opens the space and cre­ates a sense of flow in the house will gen­er­ate a re­sponse from buy­ers who can af­ford to be choosy.

He says for a min­i­mal fi­nan­cial out­lay, you could trans­form the feel of the house. 2. Land­scape Tan­gled trees and un­kempt bushes can ob­scure views, darken in­te­ri­ors, pro­mote mould and block a good look at the house.

Ariel says land­scap­ing is one of the top three in­vest­ments that yield the big­gest re­turns. Ac­cord­ing to a 2007 sur­vey of 2 000 agents con­ducted by Homegain in the US, an on­line real es­tate mar­ket­ing site, an in­vest­ment of around $500 or R8 000 in land­scap­ing could bring a re­turn of four times that. This could make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in the price.

No­body likes to spend money, but land­scap­ing might be the most im­por­tant thing, even if own­ers have kept up the house.

If buy­ers can’t see what they’re get­ting, they just move right on, and if ne­glected, Mother Na­ture may go wild at a con­sid­er­able cost. 3. Let in the light Light­ing, the num­ber one item on the 2007 Homegain sur­vey, which in­cludes every­thing from a dim­mer switch to the in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar sun tubes, no­tice­ably en­hances a home’s ap­peal.

Use re­flec­tive ma­te­rial to fun­nel nat­u­ral light from a globe-capped hole cut in a rooftop, down through a ceil­ing fix­ture into a room. Ariel says sun­light is great, and moon­light is even bet­ter — nat­u­ral light is your best op­tion and will add value.

A few other ways to light things up in­clude fix­ing bro­ken panes, mak­ing sure the win­dows are open and in­stalling lights that use mo­tion de­tec­tors that turn them­selves off.

Ariel says re­mem­ber that high wattage bulbs make small spa­ces feel larger, and soft light­ing brings warmth to empty spa­ces. 4. Don’t put off care and main­te­nance Be­fore think­ing about an ex­pen­sive up­grade for your kitchen, ad­dress the ba­sics, he says. Home­own­ers should in­su­late, re­pair plumb­ing leaks, re­place rusty rain gut­ters, in­spect the fire­place and sep­tic sys­tem, re­place or re­pair leaky win­dows, in­stall storm doors and weed the flower beds.

Th­ese kinds of fixes go a long way to­ward value, he says. Peo­ple think they have to put in a lot of money to see a big dif­fer­ence, but they re­ally don’t.

In­vest­ing in main­te­nance and re­pairs is not only money wise but could also be cru­cial to a sale.

Ac­cord­ing to Ariel, agents from across the country say the houses that get at­ten­tion in this buy­ers mar­ket are in tip-top shape. He says what’s im­por­tant in this mar­ket, now more than ever, be­cause there is so much in­ven­tory, is that the houses that sell are in pris­tine con­di­tion and are priced for the mar­ket. 5. Go green Re­search pub­lished by The Ap­praisal Jour­nal es­ti­mates that en­ergy sav­ings add 20 times the an­nual sav­ings to the value of your prop­erty.

En­ergy savers make your house more de­sir­able, says Ariel. When ren­o­vat­ing, he says con­sider green­ing your home be­cause now, for the first time in five years, buy­ers are ask­ing about the util­i­ties.

To­day, we are in a sit­u­a­tion where en­ergy con­sump­tion is a crit­i­cal con­cern and we need to con­sider op­tions to add value through en­ergy sav­ings ini­tia­tives. 6. Home be­gins at the front door Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the power of a front door. Many peo­ple make up their minds in the first 7 sec­onds of en­ter­ing a house.

Ariel says sur­veyed agents rec­om­mend a work­ing door bell, and don’t for­get an over­hang such as an awning or por­tico above the front door. If you don’t have a way out of the rain or shel­ter from the sun while you’re fum­bling for your keys, you’re miss­ing out. 7. What’s un­der your feet? Don’t un­der­value the ma­te­ri­als you’re stand­ing on. Ariel says 94% of real es­tate pro­fes­sion­als re­com- mend spend­ing money on floors. But it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, it just needs to look good.

He says small projects with a big im­pact in­clude re­pair­ing bro­ken tiles, patch­ing dam­aged floor boards and toss­ing out wall-to-wall car­pet­ing.

In some cases, how­ever, a new floor is in or­der. Let’s face it, he says an ugly floor is an eye sore, and any self-re­spect­ing buyer will walk away from a house due to the fin­ishes.

A tight econ­omy means that buy­ers are look­ing for value for money, and an ugly or dam­aged floor is hard to hide. 8. Easy bath up­grades Agents say spiff­ing up the kitchen and bath is a sure bet for adding value to your home. Th­ese kinds of im­prove­ments can get ex­pen­sive.

Ariel says it may not be eco­nom­i­cal to do a ma­jor ren­o­va­tion if you’re try­ing to spend as lit­tle as pos­si­ble be­fore putting a house up for sale. But some up­grades are cheap, easy and fast, es­pe­cially when it comes to the bath­room.

He says home­own­ers can re­place frosted glass with clear glass, clean the grout, re­move rust stains, ap­ply fresh caulk, up­date door­knobs and cabi­net pulls, re­place faucets, and in­stall a low-flush toi­let. 9. Neu­tral wall colours If you’re get­ting ready to put a house on the mar­ket, don’t al­low walls with chipped paint to go un­main­tained. If you need to do more than just a touch up, Ariel says choose neu­tral colours.

He says get out of your per­sonal taste as buy­ers want to be able to project their own ideas onto a space - and sellers can help with toned­down wall colour. 10. Get a durable exter­ior wall fin­ish It goes with­out say­ing that if your house looks bad, with cracks, mould, bald peb­bledash etc., it will lose a sig­nif­i­cant part of its value.

Home­own­ers should in­stall weath­er­proof exter­ior wall coat­ing, which will add much more value to the house than what they ini­tially paid for it.

Ac­cord­ing to Ariel, buy­ers want to know that the house will be stand­ing there af­ter you leave. He says they want to be re­as­sured that it will still be stand­ing 15 years down the line.

Pre­sent­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion to show what you have done to the prop­erty will add a lot of value and may pos­si­bly en­sure that you get your ask­ing price. When it comes to ren­o­va­tions, home­own­ers should also use a con­trac­tor worth their guar­an­tee and do their re­search, he says.

— Prop­erty24

Land­scap­ing is one of the top three in­vest­ments that yield the big­gest re­turns.

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