Renovating your house is seldom a bad idea, but there comes a point when the cost of improvements can't be recovered if you decide to sell your home.
This is referred to as "over-capitalising" on your house. Basically, it means spending money on a property with little or no hope of a good return on your investment.
The trick is to understand which home improvements are most appealing to potential buyers and which ones might simply inflate the selling price to a point where no one is interested.
Best home improvements
The best home improvements are those that don’t cost a ridiculous amount of money but add significantly to the overall value – and "kerb appeal" – of a property.
New roof and gutters
Most potential buyers will be on the look-out for possible roof damage and leaks, so this is an important consideration.
A low-maintenance aluminium roof can easily last 40 to 50 years and doesn’t need to be painted. This peace of mind for new homeowners is nearly invaluable. A sound roof and gutters also prevent damp, especially in older houses.
Modernised kitchen and bathroom
As long as you don’t go overboard with expensive countertops or imported fittings, modernising your kitchen and bathroom can add significant appeal.
Small things like ditching the old taps for a modern mixer or getting rid of old linoleum can make a significant, positive difference to the impression a home makes.
Secure parking for at least one car is a big plus for potential buyers. If space allows, a garage or even a properly fenced car port is a worthwhile investment.
Most people are put off by street parking because of the risk of damage or theft. Secure, off-street parking also results in lower insurance premiums.
An established garden is a big plus. No one wants to move into a new home with a big patch of dirt instead of a back garden.
If you’re not the gardening type, go with paving for a low-maintenance outdoor area that can double up as an entertainment or braai area.
With our high crime rate, burglar bars, alarm systems and even electric fencing are a big plus for South African houses. Many potential buyers expect at least burglar bars and security gates.
Grey water system (or other water saving features)
Many areas in South Africa are water scarce or plagued by frequent droughts. Means to save water or catch rainwater in tanks are a welcome addition to any home.
Worst home improvements
Unfortunately, some improvements cost too much money to qualify as good investments.
Expensive, imported flooring or tiles
Imported tiles and flooring might look pretty, but it’s hard to justify the cost when you’re selling your home.
Potential buyers might not be able even to tell the difference between your pricey imported tiles and the less expensive ones they have back home. Also, buyers won't necessarily share your taste.
Jacuzzis (and sometimes pools)
Jacuzzis and pools are appealing to some buyers, especially if they like to entertain or have kids.
However, if you live in an area that's subject to water restrictions, pools and Jacuzzis can be more of a drawback than a boon. The costs and effort required to maintain Jacuzzis and pools can also be off-putting to buyers.
Auto filling bathtubs, waste disposals, automatic blinds and "clap on" lights are great to have but expensive to install. They might increase the overall appeal of your home – but not generally to the point that buyers will make higher offers.
Textured or overly bright paint colours
Dark colours take a lot of paint to cover up. If a prospective buyer doesn’t want a bright orange wall in their lounge, for instance, they might be put off.
Expensive paint effects might also not appeal to buyers, in which case they might not want to hassle of painting over them. Similar applies to bold wallpaper designs.
Trendy light fittings
Retro light fittings are often seen in recent home renovations. Because they're trendy at the moment, they cost more than regular light fittings. This means you might not get that money back when you sell.
Buyers also might not like your choice of light fitting if their furniture and décor differ greatly.
Storage with XtraSpace
If you’re renovating your home and need somewhere safe and clean to store your belongings, we can help. It also makes sense to keep general clutter and any eyesores, like comfy but damaged old furniture, in storage when you're showing your home.