If the suburb price ceiling isn’t sufficiently high enough then over-capitalising is a real risk. However, residential property is twofold – it’s about a lifestyle choice and it’s an investment, so if your priority is to live in your home for several years and enjoy it, then renovate it to suit your needs. If, however, you are more investment-minded, then you should be prudent with your renovation budget.
A renovated property will always generate better returns, ie rental income, than a property in poor condition. Many people seek a home where they can just move in without the need for cost- and time-consuming renovations, not to mention the disruption, and the hassle of getting plans drawn up and approved.
To achieve this goal, good, as opposed to bad ‘bones’ are vital. Bad bones mean that the basics have been carried out poorly: for example: there is simply no flow and it is impossible to create flow because the house has been badly designed. Or, the property is positioned incorrectly on the site, making it is impossible to maximise the views or garden without literally demolishing the property and starting again.
Your objective is to add some make-up without having to undergo a full facelift. This way, you minimise the time spent on upgrading the property and minimise costs. Often, all that is needed is a coat of paint, some landscaping in the garden and new light fittings. If you need to spend a bit more on the renovation, spend your money where it counts: open up spaces by demolishing internal walls, and then spend your money on the bathrooms and kitchen. Don’t overspend on high quality fittings as these are never fully appreciated – instead invest in creating good spaces and great flow and then modernise the kitchen and bathrooms tastefully rather than extravagantly.
Modern kitchens and bathrooms as well as general open-plan living areas are the key aspects buyers always look for. As a general rule, if upgrading to sell prioritise kitchens, bathrooms and entertainment flow which normally means an upgrade to your entertainment area and covered veranda.
While feature rooms can certainly facilitate and perhaps even secure a sale, these won’t be the primary reason for the buyer choosing to purchase. The fundamentals need to be correct first, and then beautiful features like an outside shower or games room will sweeten the deal. Entertainment areas are top of the list when it comes to added features.
I suggest that unless you are in a very sought-after suburb, you should undertake renovations that yield the best results with the minimum spend. This would include: repainting; changing kitchen counter tops and re-spraying cupboards; cleaning up gardens and enhancing curb appeal; de-cluttering the interior and ensuring that the home presents well. If budget allows, then opening up and removing some interior walls to create better flow is always well-received and the cost of removing walls is less expensive than doing additions.
Carol Reynolds is Pam Golding Properties area principal for Durban Coastal. For further information visit www.pamgolding.co.za or contact Pam Golding Properties KZN on 031 2075584.