1 Dec 2017

One’s home is a place where one wishes to feel physically and psychologically safe. One’s home also offers one of the best opportunities for expressing one’s identity and uniqueness. It is a place where life is lived and memories are made.

As our needs and wants change over time, we often bring about changes or improvements to make us feel more comfortable.

While it shouldn’t be one’s only goal to be guided by what a next buyer may prefer, it does make sense to take the type of home improvements that will stand you in good stead in the long term, into consideration.

Globally and locally, the following types of improvements still seem to yield the most value once you reach the point of considering selling:

  • Upgrade your kitchen. A modern, functional, rather than uniquely themed kitchen will convert into the best return on investment. On the other hand, be careful not to over-capitalize. By, for example, focusing on painting walls in a fresh, neutral colour, or painting cupboards, adding on-trend handles, adding a modern backsplash, as well as granite or similarly looking tops, a lot of value can be added, which could impact positively on the sales price. As many of today’s buyers prefer an open-plan kitchen to enable interaction with the family or guests while cooking, it may be worth wile to keep this in mind in planning the layout of your kitchen.

  • Upgrade your bathroom(s). For example, consider white bath and plain tiles, modern taps and towel racks, open shower or use of transparent glass doors and water saving, spa-like shower heads.

  • Add a 2nd bathroom. Most buyers look for 2 full (bath, shower and basin), or at least 1,5 (bath or shower, and basin) bathrooms. It would be a better return on investment to convert an underutilized space into a 2nd bathroom than to put in a swimming pool, for example.

  • In the Western Cape, an enclosed braai room is also likely to add value to your property! However, keep the architecture plain to enable occasional change in décor or with a next buyer in mind. If you already have a pool, it would be best to build a braai room or patio with pergola close by to ensure a concentrated, easy-flowing entertainment area.

  • Similar looking flooring throughout the house is a good investment. However, floor to floor carpeting may be a less successful investment. A better option is to invest in a modern-looking light tile, or hardwood or similarly looking flooring (Vinyl, Laminate), which is easier to clean and less dust-bearing. A larger tile option also has the added benefit of creating the feeling of extra space and luxury.

  • That most people in the suburbs have two cars, increasingly necessitates the need for a double garage or carport behind lockable gates. As such, this is likely to be a good investment but, again, above the importance of having a swimming pool.

  • Increasingly, prospective buyers are looking for properties that have a granny flat or the potential for conversion, but only after meeting the requirements of 3 bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a double garage.

  • Despite the current drought in the Western Cape, a swimming pool may add some value, but also only after meeting the 3-bedroom, two bathroom and double garage requirements. A pool that is small and plain will be more attractive than a large pool.

Home improvements essentially centre on keeping things plain and simple or as they say: ‘’less is more’’. By ensuring that your home improvements are fairly generic, conform to principles of elegance and quality, the best value will ultimately be added. This enables you to, instead, express yourself through colourful accessories and furniture that reflect your interests and souvenirs. In this way, when you finally have to prepare your house for sale, mere staging would be required to meet prospective buyers’ needs and to ensure a good return on investment.