Open-plan kitchens attract buyers
A classic, modern look helps when selling
WHILE we may decorate our homes according to what we consider to be our own choice, we are inevitably influenced by trending styles and designs.
Times change, and so does geography. Sometimes what is considered attractive in one suburb can be a turn-off in another. And then there are the across-the-board deal-clinchers that do not depend on budget or area.
Kitchens and bathrooms are two key areas for buyers. Lyonelle Venter, of Jawitz Properties Atlantic Seaboard, says crisp white and neutral tiles are in.
“Subway tiles, or ones with simple borders, are the rage. Buyers prefer not too much of a statement, but they are after quality tap fittings with water-wise features, such as water-saving aerated pressure.”
Open-plan kitchens: These are still trending, Venter says, as young professionals prefer “eat-in kitchens” with tables that double up as islands. “Large counters are considered passé.”
In the southern suburbs, the open-plan kitchen with middle islands is also the trend, says Charne Shipper, a property consultant at Jawitz Properties Southern Suburbs.
“Modern kitchens should include soft-touch features, various colour options, high gloss or matt finishes, neutral colours on door fronts, or adding accents such as natural wood or stainless steel.”
Kitchens where fridges, dishwashers and other appliances are behind the joinery, are also popular, says David Cohen, director of Signatura properties.
“This provides cleaner lines for open-plan apartments so kitchens are not full of non-matching appliances. Metalware in black, white and gold, is trending as well.”
A good kitchen adds “tremendous allure” to a property, agrees Mike Greeff, chief executive of Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate.
Bianca Arnsmeyer, sales man- ager for Berman Brothers Properties, says when designing kitchens it is important to choose styles that will not date.
“A common theme nowadays for the kitchen and bathroom is a classic and contemporary style, and we are also seeing people drawn to modern expressions that include the use of wood,” she says.
Quality bathroom finishes: Shipper says the master bathroom should have room for a shower, bath, double vanity and separate toilet.
“Popular features include slipper baths, imported tiles and taps, marble tops, heated towel rails, frameless showers, large shower heads and steam showers.”
Cohen says people love walk-in showers where there is no door, just a fixed piece of glass. And not every surface or wall in a bathroom needs to be tiled.
Open-plan and airy: Venter says sunny, open lounges with high ceilings and large windows – ideally with study nooks – are appealing.
Shipper says people like openplan living areas that flow out onto enclosed patios.
Arnsmeyer says aluminium windows and frames are popular as they provide long-lasting quality while giving structures a more defined look and feel.
Aluminium window frames are especially important for coastal properties as they do not rust.
Shipper adds: “North- facing, open-plan living areas with large windows and skylights help to preserve heat, thus saving energy. Ecofriendly homes are increasingly popular. Features such as LED lighting, solar heating, solar geysers, double-glazed windows, borehole and generators add value.”
Sandy Geffen, executive director of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in South Africa, agrees. Most buyers still prefer open-plan living areas with large windows and floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors to maximise natural light, she says. “Increasingly important is a seamless flow between the interior and outdoor entertainment area which becomes an extension of the living area.”
Cohen says “open-plan” is also changing to “broken plan”, where areas that are still open to each other are also clearly defined in terms of function, through ceiling, floor and lighting details.
Added value: Geffen agrees that there has been a notable increase in the desire for eco-friendly systems that save water and reduce energy costs. Security features are also a growing priority.
Greeff says garages add value too: “Of all the home alterations possible, the addition of a garage is probably the most desirable.
“An increase in crime has made on-street parking more risky, and buyers want a home with secure parking facilities. Also garaging your vehicle overnight means you’ll save on insurance premiums.”
In the City Bowl, apartments with garages will sell for around R150 000 more than those without, Greeff says. In areas like Lynfrae and Claremont, a double garage can push prices up by as much as R200 000.
“In the southern suburbs, garages are expected. Many buyers will not even look at a home without a garage.”
Unique features are important if you want your property to stand out, says Arnsmeyer.
“Private pools and Jacuzzis are great for the garden. In addition to excellent security, having a smart home connected to the internet is becoming increasingly popular in many upmarket properties.”
Large balconies: These, along with enclosed patios with built-in braais are also “ideal”, agents say.
An outside space is still valuable, especially for apartment blocks, says Arnsmeyer. “Although many balconies have been enclosed, we still hear buyer demand for a balcony as it allows for braaing, smoking, pets and pot plants.”
Large gardens are no longer a strong selling feature. Geffen says Cape Town buyers opt for north-facing properties as they optimise warmth and sunshine while offering protection from south-easterlies.
Neutral finishes: Cohen says developers try to appeal to large audiences by keeping apartments relatively neutral.
“We try to have some great feature in the landscaping and the common areas. There is nothing better than walking into a new development that has established trees.”
Finishes that impress buyers include flooring like Oggie sustainable timber.
Arnsmeyer adds: “It is important not to skimp when choosing the fittings and finishes as they are often one of the first things a buyer notices. Choosing something that has a classic or contemporary look is safe, and any fittings and finishes that exude style and attention to detail will generally excite buyers.”
An open-plan kitchen like this one in a home in Noordhoek is high on the wish lists of most buyers and is even more desirable since the scullery is hidden around the corner.
Buyers want balconies, especially if they can be used for entertaining or admiring a view.