Good reasons to renovate now

Even though house prices are only rising slowly at the moment, it is worth investing in your home to maintain and improve it.
That’s the advice of RealNet estate agency group MD Jan Davel, who says that there are several good reasons for homeowners to tackle renovation projects now rather than put them off until later – the first being that they should be able to get any construction work done at relatively low cost.
“Business is currently very slow in the building industry so the chances are good that contractors will now not only call you back, but also offer you a significant discount on what you would have paid a couple of years ago,” he says. “In addition the prices of many building materials have gone down, so DIY projects should also be cheaper to complete.”
What is more, says Davel, if you need to access some of the equity in your home, or borrow some money to finance a renovation project, now would be a good time to do so because interest rates are so low.
“And if you upgrade your home instead of moving to a new one, you get to keep your existing bond. Apart from the fact that it is often cheaper to renovate than to move (no transfer duties, bond registration, legal fees), staying in your existing home means that you also don’t have to go through the nerve-wracking process of applying for a new home loan – or go all the way back to the 20-year repayment starting line.”
As for those worried that they will not recoup the costs of any renovations if they then decide to sell their home, he says they should be looking at “smart” projects that will add value even in the current market – by at the very least ensuring that potential buyers don’t bypass your property in favour of competing homes that have been modernised.
“For example, there’s a big difference between remodelling a 10-year-old kitchen or bathroom now just because you don’t like the style anymore (which would be a waste of money if your plan is to then sell the property) and replacing a 40-year-old installation that would really put potential buyers off.”
Other smart projects to consider now, Davel says, are improvements that will cut energy costs - such as roof insulation, solar power systems and heat pumps – and conserve water. 
However, he says, all renovations are best undertaken when you are planning to stay in your home for at least another five years. “If you’re going to add on an extra living room or create a great new entertainment space outdoors, the idea should not be to do so for the next owners of your home, but so that you can enjoy the home you already love even more.”

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