How to boost your property value
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.
Landscaping is one of the top three investments that yield the biggest returns.