Property upgrades do show good returns

If there was any doubt about the matter, a US study shows that well conceived home improvements do generally enhance values and saleability.

Indeed as the property market continues to gain traction and homeowners minds turn towards selling, their chances of success are clearly increased by well considered upgrades says Gerhard Kotzé, CEO of the ERA South Africa property group.

The findings are somewhat unexpected in one sense however in that they point both towards doing the obvious, such as changing bathroom layouts or adding a new family room, but also to the value flowing from small external improvements, he says.

“Interestingly it’s those small external improvements to improve the ‘kerb appeal’ of a home that are often overlooked in favour of more expensive internal changes and therein lies opportunity for homeowners, provided they are willing to change their mindset on the matter.”

“Also, the findings of the survey “the 2009 Remodelling costs vs Value Report” conducted by the Realtor Magazine in the US, actually show that the small scale re-models are the most profitable on re-sale.

“The study refers to the likes of simple changes like certain types of door replacements, wood deck additions, attic bedroom additions, a minor kitchen re-model, window replacements, etc.

“But surprisingly home office remodels and sun room additions showed the least return, although that may differ in South Africa where there is so much emphasis on a Small Office Home Offices ( SOHO) and indoor/outdoor living.

“All the re-modelling done was priced at less than $14 000 (about R105 000 at ruling exchange rates), so your literally don’t have to mortgage the house in order to finance them.

“The investments added to the sales value of the properties concerned and although this may appear self evident, it’s comforting to know that the expectations can be realised aesthetically and financially.

“No investment is totally foolproof of course and the provisos in South Africa are that you should not over-capitalise for your neighbourhood, that the changes blend well aesthetically and functionally with your existing property and that they are professionally carried out.

“Moreover, it’s also true that the return in a given area will not necessarily realise the same yield as that in another area for obvious reasons.

“Probably your best rule of thumb in the matter is the macro market of the area.”

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