Pics: Simple, but chic, attracts buyers

By HOME Writer Time of article published Mar 3, 2016

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Cape Town - Many people renovate homes for their own benefit, but alterations, whether major or minor, can be specifically undertaken with a property’s resale value in mind.

This approach can be applied if you have decided to move, are planning a career as a property tycoon or buying and selling purely for investment.

“Renovation can add significant value to a home,” says Steve Thomas, franchise manager at Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty. “However, it’s essential to consider current trends and popular home features in your area if you are renovating to add value to your home.”

For instance, in South Africa, people like houses to be north-facing, which is related to weather influences. In Cape Town, particularly, this has the added advantage of protection against the south-easterly wind.

The features most commonly at the top of prospective buyers’ wish lists are plenty of natural light, as well as open-plan living areas, and, increasingly, eco-friendly systems which save water and reduce the cost of energy. In older homes, value would be added by upgrading bathrooms and kitchens, and plastering and painting a face brick exterior.

It is often worth adding a garage if you have the space and building a cottage or flatlet, as dual living is becoming increasingly popular and an income can be derived from the growing demand for seasonal and short-stay rentals.

However, it is equally important to guard against the most common pitfall – over-capitalising, which includes splurging on unnecessary fixtures and fittings.

“Always take into consideration the current value of your home, as well as property in your area, as neighbourhoods will generally have a ceiling value,” advises Thomas.

Other common mistakes are building garages too far away from the house, entertainment areas too far from the kitchen and poor flow with too many rooms and corridors.

We asked architect Sandy Wolff from M-Interiors for some tips.

What should home owners be considering when planning to renovate a home for resale?

“Buy wisely, investigate the area first to find out what kind of prices one could achieve, and which kind of properties are in high demand in this area,” she says.

Echoing Thomas, Wolff warns not to over capitalise on the property.

Wolff suggests focusing on the “wow factor” of the property: “When potential buyers enter the property they should be quickly impressed by the general look and feel of it.

Keep it simple but chic, which will allow potential buyers to visualise their own furniture and style in it.”

There are two types of projects to keep in mind to make the most of your renovation for resale, says Wolff – the basics and curb appeal.

The basics are the things buyers expect when they purchase a home,such as:

* A roof that doesn’t leak.

* Functioning gutters and downspouts (if there are any).

* Solid floors.

* Walls in good repair.

* Retaining walls that work.

* Other common-sense items.

In upscale properties, this includes air conditioning, a certain number of bedrooms, bathrooms and garages, and any other amenities that are common to the neighbourhood.

Items that add curb appeal help the property look good when prospective buyers arrive, and will help the place sell faster.

These include attractive landscaping, fresh paint inside and out, new appliances, and a warm atmosphere.

What are the current trends in design and architecture?

“Less is more,” says Wolff. “Colour-wise, use white and shades of grey. Natural finishes and straight, simple lines are in.

“Most popular appliances colours seem to change every few years. Polished stainless steel is on the way out now; instead of gleaming silver appliances, black stainless steel is the trend for the future.

“There is a return to formal dining rooms, with more homeowners opting to keep these instead of converting them into media rooms or offices.

What are buyers looking for in an existing home, and how can it be improved to attract them?

“Plenty of natural light, light wall colours – white – with some feature walls, and open-plan, rather than small rooms, with lots of corridor space,” says Wolff.

“Bathrooms and kitchens are usually out of date. By adding new cupboard doors or countertops a kitchen will look much more modern. New tiling and sanitary fittings in bathrooms will also help to uplift the look, while adding new continuous flooring will make the property feel much bigger and more elegant.”

Some quick and less expensive fixes to give your home a facelift to attract buyers include walls, skirtings and doors in white, new feature lights, and new flooring.

Once you have decided to go ahead with more extensive renovations and have selected a reputable contractor, do not ignore the one step which could derail your project if you are making structural changes, says Thomas – city council approval.

“If it is a flat in a complex, one would need body corporate approval. For any structural changes one would also need council approval.

“If it is a freestanding house, you would need council approval for any structural changes. Council would generally ask for a structural engineer to be appointed as well.”

Do research on building plan restrictions from the council, body corporates and those noted in the title deeds.

This will curb the legal costs and make the chances of approval by the various departments high.

Bianca Coleman, Independent HOME

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