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Monday May 07, 2012

Do renovations add value to your property, or can you get away with a lick of paint?

The financial value renovations might add to your home is hardly an exact science - there's more certainty in the amount potential buyers are likely to subtract from the listed price if they think renovations are necessary, says Mike Greeff, chief executive of Greeff Properties.

"Potential buyers might reduce an offer by R50 000 to R100 000 for a basic bathroom revamp and R100 000 to R130 000 as a starting point for a kitchen renovation.

"A lack of security features such as burglar bars and an alarm system will also detract from perceived value, so when evaluating a property, an experienced estate agent with a thorough knowledge of your suburb should factor in all these elements to come to a realistic selling price," he says.

Greeff also suggests using the services of a qualified estate agent to help acquire information that could be crucial in deciding whether to renovate or simply spruce up your property for resale.

"Request a Propstats listing of recent sales in the area. This will give you exact prices per square metre of homes comparable to yours. If your renovation plans are going to place your home in a price bracket way beyond the going rate, you're clearly over- capitalising," says Greeff.

Green or energy-saving features are usually a good bet, as most are perceived valueadders due to obvious longterm saving. Sound investments include solar panels, gas hobs, effective insulation, boreholes, well- points and roof lanterns for cooling.

"Whatever you decide to do, your home must be in a state of good repair. Even a dated property will sell if it's neat, but in the current market, you have to be a step ahead of the buyer, and this means eliminating the need for repair," says Greeff.

He suggests a thorough inspection of the building by a qualified building contractor who is a member of the Master Builders and Allied Trades Association.

David Gelb, chief executive of Gelbuild Contractors, suggests the following checklist:

  • Keep gutters clear of leaves and ensure that down pipes are unblocked and draining properly. Sagging gutters must be repaired.

  • Damp marks on ceilings are indications of roof leaks and bubbling and blistering paint is a sign of damp.

  • External walls, doors and windows must be regularly maintained - cracks must be mended and wood treated to avoid rot which leads to contraction and, inevitably, leaks.

  • Loose or creaky timber floors can be an indication of a faulty or dropped sub- floor structure.

    "Apart from getting buyers to pay your price, you also want the sale to happen as soon as possible, since having a property on the market for extended periods of time is likely to result in a drop in value as sellers get increasingly desperate and buyers more opportunistic.

    "Swift sales are largely attributed to a winning combination of correct pricing and appeal, and there are a number of ways to tap into this phenomenon," says Greeff :

  • A new coat of paint is essential. Opt for neutral tones to maximise universal appeal.

  • Remove dated and soiled fixtures like awnings, and old or broken garden furniture.

  • Replace old light fittings and never leave naked bulbs on display.

  • A functioning fireplace adds emotional appeal, so lay fresh firewood or pine cones in the grate to prompt potential buyers to visualise a cosy scene.

  • A spacious, clean area makes it easier for buyers to imagine their own furniture in the room. Clear away clutter, and if possible remove a piece or two of furniture from cramped rooms.

  • Hire a home stager - someone who will style your home with rented furniture and accessories.

  • Convert any extra rooms into bedrooms.

    "A garden with appeal is often your ticket to getting a potential buyer through the front door," says Gwen Gower, managing director and owner of Earthworx Garden World in Hout Bay.

    "Gardens are so often an afterthought, and many people either don't budget for them or they run out of time and just throw money at the problem. But blowing a fortune at the nursery on beautiful plants does not guarantee an Eden either.

    "Placing plants in the wrong position either results in a failure to thrive or huge plants that cover the windows of a house and block out light, or trees with roots that damage brickwork and paving.

    "If you don't have green fingers but want to invest in your garden, consult a landscaper who will assess your soil and the positions available in your garden."

    Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)

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