Adding value to your home

“What can I do to increase the value of my home” is one of the most common questions posed to real estate professionals. The answer, however, can be a little more complicated than homeowners expect.

What does value mean to you?

“When it comes to real estate, value can mean different things to different people,” says Klaradyn Stemmet, Sales Partner with Rawson Properties Somerset West. “There’s the objective, market-related value based on sales trends and buyer behaviour, and then there’s the subjective side of things – the value of the lifestyle and luxuries that homeowners enjoy.”

While subjective upgrades based on the current owner’s lifestyle preferences don’t always add notable value to a property’s eventual sales price, Stemmet says that doesn’t mean they can’t be worthwhile.

“If you’re happy in your neighbourhood and simply want a few extra home comforts, doing some upgrades can be very rewarding,” she says. “You may not recoup the full cost of adding that man-cave or jacuzzi when you sell, but the happy memories you’ll have using them in years to come are often well worth the financial outlay.”

Adding value before a sale

Of course, if you’re planning to move out of your home in the immediate future, adding upgrades that do little for your sales value may not be such a great financial decision. In this case, Stemmet recommends making use of the following five tips, instead.

Schedule a professional home valuation

A valuation is an essential step for anyone looking to sell a property, but it can also highlight potential areas for improvement before a sale.

“At Rawson, we always include a comparative market analysis that shows homeowners where their property fits in to the local market, how it compares to its neighbours, and what its strengths and weaknesses are,” says Stemmet. “We can then offer advice on whether fixing up those weaknesses would add material value to the property without overcapitalising, or if it would make more sense for the owner to just sell as is.”

Get on top of maintenance

“While proper maintenance doesn’t add new value to a home, poor maintenance definitely decreases it,” says Stemmet. “If you want to get the best price for your home, you need to make sure your walls, fascia boards, roofs, gutters and gardens are up-to-date and well-maintained.”

Improve first impressions

“Upgrading your home’s first impressions on visitors can be a very cost-effective way to improve its value,” says Stemmet. “Enhance your curb appeal with neat garden beds, planted pots or pretty paving, and make sure your entryway is uncluttered and appears to be attractive, welcoming and structurally sound.”

Spruce up your kitchen and bathrooms

It’s often said that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, but a generally outdated home is unlikely to recover the cost of a full kitchen or bathroom renovation on sale. Rather, Stemmet suggests owners opt for inexpensive updates that offer more bang for their buck.

“Fix and paint any cracks and replace those dated handles and knobs in the kitchen,” she says. “A new toilet seat and a pedestal sink can also make a big difference in the bathroom, as can re-grouting grungy showers and baths, and replacing chipped tiles.”

Make the most of natural light and space

“Open space, light and flow are very important when it comes to a home’s appeal,” says Stemmet, “but that doesn’t mean you have to bash down all your interior walls before you sell. Simply cleaning out clutter like old books and boxes, and freshening up blinds and curtains can make a big difference. Add sparkling windows and spotless floors, and you’ll be well on your way to a more successful sale.”

Get the right advice

While the tips above are good, general ideas for increasing your home’s appeal to buyers, Stemmet reminds homeowners that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to property.

“So much depends on the specific details of your home and your neighbourhood, not to mention your own personal preferences and motivations,” she says. “A good realtor will be able to help you prioritise improvements based on your precise situation and needs.”

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