Tips to share with buyers into home renovating
MAIN IMAGE: Paul Stevens, CEO of Just Property; Lindy Breytenbach, Just Property Mossel Bay; Johannes van den Berg, Just Property N1 City; Maritza van Rooyen, Just Property Durbanville
Property practitioners dealing with buyers investing in property they earmark for renovating, should be aware of the pitfalls lurking in shadows of seemingly excellent quality properties. It is their duty and good ethical sales practice to warn buyers of possible unwanted situations.
Over-capitalisation is one of these dangers and implies that the total expenditure on the property, including the purchase price and the cost of alterations, exceeds the amount you could sell the house for soon.
But what are the advice from property practitioners to prospective clients themselves?
“Do not spend more than one-quarter of what your property is worth on improvements,” says Mona Broadhurst, from Just Property Alberton. Find out the average price paid for properties in your area and make sure your renovations will not push you over that.”
Most buyers will negotiate on price, so choose which upgrades you do wisely – this could mean the difference between spending possible profit on unnecessary “improvements”, explains Johannes van den Berg, Just Property N1 City Branch (Burgundy Estate Office). Kitchens, bathrooms, entertainment areas and sustainability (e.g., water harvesting, alternative power) are important to today’s buyers but overspending on each of these is easy, so upgrade with caution and due diligence.
“Before you do renovations, especially if it’s for the purpose of getting a quick sale, get a qualified property practitioner specialising in your area to do a valuation on your property and give input on which improvements will achieve a better selling price,” says Maritza van Rooyen of Just Property Durbanville. A property practitioner will look at your property objectively and with an understanding of how it compares with other properties on the local market.”
What improvements will positively influence the value of a house?
First focus on the basics. Curb appeal is one of the main factors that attract interest. “It is important to make sure that the buyer’s first impression of your property is positive. Just changing your garage door can make an enormous difference,” says Van Rooyen.
Van den Berg agrees, advising that sellers make sure the garden is neat and tidy, and repair or repaint the exterior of a property. “Inside, it is vital to keep clutter to a minimum. A proper clean will also go a long way,” he says.
Lindy Breytenbach of Just Property Mossel Bay and Hartenbos says that improvements to the kitchen and bathrooms are good investments. “Older cabinets can either be painted and handles replaced with new hardware or completely gutted and replaced with new cabinetry. But keep to light neutral-coloured floors and walls as this will make your rooms look bigger and brighter. A new gas stove will immediately lift a boring old kitchen, but the gas installation should be compliant and come with a certificate.”
Taking the demands of current times into account when thinking about how you can add value to your home. Improvements like a gutter-fed water tank, an inverter system or solar panels goes a long way to adding value to the property.
Lezaan Mentz says: “Consider a pressure pump for municipal outages and climate-control devices. And security upgrades, like well-placed lighting outdoors and beams, are worth the investment.”
Negative effects of improvements
You might think that adding a lettable granny flat would increase value, but it should be carefully planned. Converting a garage or outbuilding into a flat can mean you lose a garage as well as security and privacy. “Properties like these stay on the market for longer.
Debi Deetlefs of the Stilbaai branch Western Cape warns against adding on to old houses without considering a practical floor plan. “Poor flow makes a house difficult to sell,” she warns.
It is important to do proper planning and approval for any additions. Always make sure that improvements are approved and on plan, so you do not have any problems when it is time to sell.
Van den Berg warns against very bold colours and finishes and advises that spending a lot of money on finishes that are not neutral should be avoided. Flooring also makes a significant difference and sometimes a seller spend thousands on carpets when these days most buyers prefer laminate flooring or tiles.
“There are many simple ways to upgrade a kitchen or bathroom that don’t cost a fortune,” says Tracey Hutton of the Gqeberha branch. She suggests painting old fashioned tiles white, painting a feature wall or some artwork.
“Outside, it’s a great idea to paint a vibracrete wall dark grey and add some hanging plants to soften it,” she says. “And get your garden going before you list your property – if you start in time, it does not have to cost much, and it is amazing the difference this can make to your property price.
Johannes notes that a swimming pool, while expensive, can significantly impact the comparative value of two otherwise comparable properties: “The one with a sparkling pool will almost always fetch the higher price, usually more than covering the cost of installation.”
“Our agents get called in when it’s time to sell and by then people have already made mistakes, like emotional choices rather than wise investments,” concludes Paul Stevens, CEO of Just Property. “The smartest idea is to buy the worst looking house in a good area. Over time, make careful improvements. Ask your local agent where to start. They will be able to give you the right advice.”