Choose those home contractors with care
COSTLY A change is as good as a holiday, they say, and this is the thinking behind many home owners’ decisions to make alterations to their properties. But there is big money at stake if the work is not done properly. “A strong driver for home improvements is the difficulty in obtaining bond finance,” says Harcourts Africa CEO Richard Gray. “Many people who might otherwise have moved to a bigger or more luxurious property don’t want to go through the hassle and anxiety of applying for a new bond, so they are staying put and upgrading their homes. They are further persuaded by the high costs of relocation, including transfer duty, bond registration costs and legal fees, which on a R1m property, for example, are now about R45 000, excluding the agent’s commission. You can make quite a lot of improvements for that.” The trend is reflected in the latest FNB property barometer, which shows big increases in the number of home owners maintaining their homes fully (35,5%, up from 28% in 2009) and those maintaining and making improvements (36,3%, up from 31,5% in 2009), and also shows that almost 70% of those spending money on their properties are doing so for their own convenience.