Old houses as good as new

AS the cost of newly built homes rises and their size shrinks many first time buyers are turning back to older suburbs in the hope of finding a larger home at a smaller price.

But if they want a really "good deal", says Dr Piet Botha chairman of the Nationlink, estate agency group they need to take a tip from more experienced fix up buyers and look be yond the current appearance of a home to its core potential.

It often takes a while for first time buyers who've been looking at newly built homes to adjust their focus when they start viewing older homes.

"So what first time buyers should really be hunting for, are homes that are 'sound but sad' properties that don t need extensive and expensive renovation but could really benefit from being redecorated", he says.

Things that often put buyers off but are easy to fix include dingy walls and shabby floors, provided they are basically sound.

Walls have a huge visual impact and potential buyers should try to picture them with a fresh coat of paint and perhaps a little re pointing around the windows and doors.

Carpets or vinyl floor coverings are easily replaced and re sanding will give good wooden floors a "million dollar" look.

A modern kitchen can give a whole new look to an old house but to save costs much can be achieved by just replacing cupboard doors and the work surface with bright and durable laminate to startwith.

The garden may take a little longer to put right, but pruning untidy shrubs and regular mowing of a neglected lawn will with a new coat of paint on the house improve the kerb appeal enormously.

"Most of this work can be done with very little cash outlay", says Botha, " And if the bigger jobs are undertaken over a period the budget will not be badly bruised."

"The improvements will bring pleasure to the owners and a handsome dividend if the house has to be sold."

Article by: Nationlink - www.nationlinkproperty.com