Home improvements: elbow grease vs cash

2018-10-25 06:02

COSTLY renovations might not get you the return you want when you sell your house, so if you’re getting a loan for home improvements consider the smaller, cosmetic changes that will make your property more appealing.

“Most estate agents agree that there’s a ceiling on prices in most neighbourhoods, so there’s a real risk that you could struggle to get your money back on a massive renovation,” says Marlies Kappers, head of marketing at financial services provider, DirectAxis.

This is particularly true in difficult economic times.

Personal indulgences, such as jacuzzis, are also on the list of no-nos. You might think that champagne-fuelled midnight soaks are the best thing ever, but prospective buyers may see just another hassle that needs to be cleaned, maintained or repaired.

Here are some ideas about cost-effective renovations and how to go about them from Lindsay Beck, from Pam Golding.

Create curb appeal

One of the first things to consider is what estate agents call curb appeal. It’s what makes people decide to stop at a show house or drive past.

A freshly painted exterior, neat garden and clean windows all point to a house that is cared for and consequently one that’s more likely to attract buyers.

Best of all creating curb appeal generally requires more of an investment in elbow grease than cash. The research is also straightforward: take a drive around the neighbourhood and consider which houses you’d visit on a show day and what makes them appealing.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew

Have a plan and tackle one thing at a time. This way you can keep your projects achievable and won’t face the situation where you’ve taken on too much, have run out of money and end up trying to sell a house with half-painted rooms or unfinished bathrooms.

Repair before renovating

Keeping on top of home maintenance and spotting potential problems before they become expensive can be just as important as renovations. A shiny new kitchen may not be enough to offset broken gutters and a green swimming pool.

Keep it simple

A fresh coat of paint can go a long way towards improving a room and is a lot cheaper than remodelling or breaking down walls. Similarly sanding down and re-varnishing wooden floors is more cost effective than laying new ones.

Small changes can sometimes make a big difference, such as fitting a Perspex or stainless-steel splashback in the kitchen. Also, avoid customised features. They’re generally expensive and require specialist installation. Use off-the-shelf products wherever you can.

Be clean and tidy

Bathrooms and kitchens get a lot of wear and tear which can result in them looking tatty and unhygienic.

Regularly cleaning tiles and grouting is a chore, but a lot less expensive than having to replace them.

The same applies to shower floors and remember to look up and check the ceiling for mould. A new shower curtain may cost you a couple of rand, but an old, grubby one could cost you the sale.

  • For more about home improvements visit: www.directaxis.co.za/make-a-plan/best-home-improvements-for-resale

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