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Want to improve your home's value? 3 proven ways to do it

When you bought your home, it was primarily a place to live. However, as time passes your home becomes one of your best assets. It builds equity, and as you put your time and energy into maintaining it, even more valuable.

Lockdown life has meant we are spending more time in our homes than ever before. We've come to value it as a place of sanctuary and many of us have been prompted to make a few changes - whether needing a more comfortable home office, or a more luxurious, communal space for the family.

However, be wary of rushing into renovations that are costly and don’t add as much value as they will cost you, warns SA’s leading short-term insurer Santam.

“Carefully consider the type of renovation you want to make. The last thing you want is to lay out R150 000 on renovations and then find it only actually improves your home value by R50 000.

“A swimming pool may make a difference to the value of your home. However, when weighed against the installation and maintenance costs as well as your increased water and electricity bill, this is not actually a renovation that should be first choice.

Before you begin, make a point of getting a before and after evaluation, adds Santam.

"Most estate agents use a method called “comparative market analysis”, which basically means that they work out the value of your home based on the relative values of the properties in your area and taking into account recent property sales data in your area. Factors affecting your home's market value, include:

  • External characteristics - kerb appeal, home condition, lot size, popularity of an architectural style of property, water/sewage systems, sidewalk, paved road etc.

  • Internal characteristics - size and number of rooms, construction quality, appliance condition, demonstrated "pride of ownership", heating type, energy efficiency.

  • Supply and demand - the number of homes for sale versus the number of buyers; how quickly the homes in your area sell.

  • Location - desirability for a particular school district, neighborhood etc. Typically homes situated near schools sell much faster and are considered desirable properties, particularly if schools are fussy about accepting pupils from outside their “catchment area”.

These three changes can make a significant impact to improving your home:

1. Create more space

If you have a wall in your home that is not considered a structural wall (that is, it doesn’t need to be there to support the building structure), knock it out. Trends today are firmly entrenched in open-plan living and wider spaces. If you really want an island in your kitchen, consider a portable island, which can be moved out of the way or removed entirely by a potential new owner.

Quick tip: A neutral palette appeals to a wider buyer pool than a home that is too colourful. Light-filled homes are more appealing than dark homes. Declutter to increase that sense space and light in your home.

2. Landscape your garden

First impressions are lasting and your garden is the starting point for anybody visiting your home. Investing in a gardener or landscaping service to make sure your garden looks neat and inviting is worth the time and money. Potential buyers will certainly notice an unkempt garden. Research shows that a small investment can lead to a difference of four times as much in your property value.

Quick Tip: Trees planted today can either be a blessing or a curse. Keep the type of tree and the position of the tree in mind. Think about the space it will need to grow into - without cause any damage to boundary walls or overhead powerlines. Other than that, fruit trees and the like can be regarded as a real asset.

3. Go green

With increasing concern about climate change and rising costs in electricity, the investment to make your home as environmentally friendly as possible can dramatically improve the attractiveness and value of your home. Consider solar geysers, efficient lighting systems, and ways to maximise the use of water in and around your home. A solar water geyser can save you up to 40% in heating energy costs.

Quick Tip: More homeowners are withdrawing from the grid to install alternative energy systems. A gas stove helps reduce the reliance on electricity, while modifying your home’s guttering to direct rainwater into tanks will save on utility bills for watering. It is also in your best interest to update your insurance policies accordingly, when making energy efficient changes to your home.



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