Renovate, don't re-invent your home for sale

Giving your home a facelift prior to putting it up for sale may be a good idea, but it's usually not worth embarking on major alterations.

That's the advice of Dr Piet Botha, chairman of the Nationlink estate agency group, who says that while owners do stand to increase the appeal and value of their home by renovating, large-scale remodelling just before resale is unlikely to pay off unless they initially bought a really dilapidated property for a song.

"Of course most buyers will steer clear of homes that look like they require lots of work," he says, "and it has been proven over and over that boosting the 'curb appeal' of properties pays off in quicker sales and higher prices.

"But some homes do need more than a new coat of paint and colourful pots of flowers on the porch if the owners hope to get a good price. The trick is to know where to draw the line between profitable and unprofitable improvements.

"In short, what owners should be looking to do is renovate, not re-invent the property."

A good way to decide what improvements to make, Botha says, is to stand back and take a look at your home as objectively as you can. "Imagine you're the buyer and viewing the property for the first time, then make a note of what would impress you and what would really put you off.

"The latter items are what you need to work on - after you have set a renovation budget and planned how to make it go as far as possible. This is essential because it is all too easy to blow your whole budget on one item such as a bathroom revamp and leave the rest of the house in an unappealing state.

"Indeed before you decide to modernise anything or add on anything, you should spend your money to ensure that the home as it stands is shipshape, with everything from door handles and light switches to bathroom fixtures and the sprinkler system in good repair and working order. This will usually please buyers and at the very least will mean that they have no excuse to talk down the price."

What is more, he says, if your budget does stretch to bigger improvements, you should be very careful to stick to plain designs and neutral colours.

Pretty good bets are new tiles and tubs in bathrooms; new doors and countertops on kitchen units; more cupboard space in bedrooms and new light fittings in living areas.

"Outside of that, it is quite likely that you will end up spending much more on the renovation than you can hope to recoup on resale of the property, and thus end up actually making a loss instead of boosting the value of your home."

Article by: