One of the greatest dangers when renovating your home is over-capitalisation. Over-capitalisation means that the total expenditure on your home, including the purchase price and the cost of alterations, exceeds the amount you could sell the house for in the foreseeable future. We asked a number of agents for their advice on renovating; what improvements increase the value of a home, and which ones don’t.

“Do not spend more than one-quarter of what your property is worth on improvements,” says Mona Broadhurst, Just Property Alberton. Find out the average price paid for properties in your area and make sure your renovations won’t push you over that.”

The majority of buyers will negotiate on price, so choose which upgrades you do wisely – this could mean the difference between spending possible profit on unnecessary “improvements”, explains Johannes van den Berg, Just Property N1 City Branch (Burgundy Estate Office). Kitchens, bathrooms, entertainment areas and sustainability (e.g. water harvesting, alternative power) are important to today’s buyers but overspending on each of these is easy, so upgrade with caution and due diligence.

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“Before you do renovations, especially if it’s for the purpose of getting a quick sale, get a qualified property practitioner (estate agent) specialising in your area to do a valuation on your property and give input on which improvements will achieve a better selling price,” says Maritza van Rooyen of Just Property  Durbanville. A property practitioner will look at your property objectively and with an understanding of how it compares with other properties on the local market.

What improvements will positively influence the value of a house?

First focus on the basics. Curb appeal is one of the main factors that attract interest. “It’s important to make sure that the buyer’s first impression of your property is positive. Just changing your garage door can make a huge difference,” says Maritza.

Johannes agrees, advising that sellers make sure the garden is neat and tidy, and repair or repaint the exterior of a property. “Inside, it is vital to keep clutter to a minimum. A proper clean will also go a long way,” he says.

Tracey Hutton of Just Property Port Elizabeth adds that DIY repairs and a fresh coat of paint will do wonders. “But choose neutral colours for the walls, and stick to cold colours for decor and accents so that buyers can imagine their own furniture in your spaces.”

Lindy Breytenbach of Just Property Mossel Bay and Hartenbos says that improvements to the kitchen and bathrooms are good investments. “Older cabinets can either be painted and handles replaced with new hardware or completely gutted and replaced with new cabinetry. But keep to light neutral-coloured floors and walls as this will make your rooms look bigger and brighter. A new gas stove will immediately lift a boring old kitchen, but the gas installation should be compliant and come with a certificate.”

source: Just Property

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