Property buyers and tenants generally pay more for a well-maintained home. Keeping your property in a good condition underscores the integrity of your asset so that it can appreciate in value, says Samuel Seeff, chairman of the Seeff Property Group.

A property in a good condition can make the difference between getting your full asking price (assuming it is realistic and market-related) and having to drop your price by up to 20% according to international research and local sales data.

Buyers are not always well informed about renovations or the costs thereof. When they see something wrong with the property, they will often want to knock off much more from your asking price than what it might cost to make the necessary repairs, says Seeff. It is not uncommon for a buyer to want to knock R50,000 to a R100,000 off the price because the bathrooms are shoddy for example.

Basic maintenance that should be done include painting and repairing cracks, leaks, mould and damp, broken or dysfunctional hinges and handles, tiles and so on. If there is a swimming pool, it should have no leaks and the pump and accessories should be in full working order. The same applies to a Jacuzzi.

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Outdated features and finishes could also affect what buyers or tenants would be willing to pay. It is therefore advisable to upgrade outdated features, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms. It is often as simple as retiling and changing handles and fittings.

Seeff warns though that you should always keep it neutral. Tastes and views differ drastically. Buyers and tenants may not share your taste and brightly coloured walls and tiles or elaborate artistic features can be off putting. The buyer may look at it and think I am going to have to paint and replace tiles and will want a discount on your asking price.

The garden should be cleaned, the lawn cut, and the flower beds turned over. Any overgrowth should be trimmed. Edges should be neat. Unsightly items should be removed. Bins should be neat and clean. The garage should also be clean and orderly. There is nothing worse than a garage being a “no-go” area when prospective buyers or tenants come to view the property.

The home should also be thoroughly cleaned, especially the bathrooms and kitchen, wardrobes, windows and wall and floor tiles. Carpets must be steam cleaned. Ensure the curtain rods or rails are in full working order.

Seeff says adds that security has become an important feature. Owners should ensure their property is adequately secured and that everything is in working order, especially if there is electric fencing and an alarm system. Good security is a strong selling point.

Increasingly, buyers and tenants are also looking for off-the-grid features given the electricity and water challenges. Features such as water tanks and grey water usage, and alternative heating such as solar are becoming high-demand features.

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