Home Improvements to Add Value

Home Improvements to Add Value

Thinking of putting in a pool or building a new room on your property? The ooba experts advise that as with any other financial outlay, a renovation needs planning and forethought to add value. If you're thinking about doing a renovation, decide what you need to do, then use research and common sense to work out the best way to go about it. In this way, you can make sure that you get your home extension to deliver the greatest possible return on investment. "Certain renovations add value immediately, while others can even detract from the value of your house," says Linda Rall, KZN Sales Manager at ooba. "If you're considering making an alteration or modernising a space, speak to a couple of estate agents in your area to get a sense of the value that doing such work could add, and how best to get your renovation to deliver a significant return in future." What adds value? Add-ons that add value in most cases are extra bedrooms, extra bathrooms, garages, pools or cottages. Newly installed bathrooms and kitchens are also extremely appealing to buyers. But if you are going to all that effort and expense, then make sure that the alteration is done well. "The quality of the work is extremely important," says Rall. "Badly finished building, poor paint jobs and ill-fitting units immediately set off alarm bells for any prospective buyer that they might have to fix problems. So make sure you don't cut corners and you get the right person in to do the job." She says it's also important to carefully contemplate where you would like to position the newly built area. Problems like an illogical flow, cluttered space or the loss of a garden will more likely bring the value of your property down than push it up. It's also important to stay in keeping with the original style of the house - if you have wooden floors and high ceilings, a small, carpeted fourth bedroom isn't going to give you much of a return. "Not every property can comfortably accommodate more rooms or a garden cottage," says Rall. "So always weigh up what you want to do against the overall impact on the property and its garden. And if you can possibly avoid it, never remove a classic fixture like a fireplace or a sash window." She also points out that while you might want a certain unusual feature or space - like a soundproofed home theatre or a sunken wine cellar - these aren't necessarily a marketable value to for the average homebuyer. Small changes, big improvements Even without spending a lot of money on a new structure or installation, you can still improve the value of your home with some minor alterations that needn't cost you the earth. Regrouting bathroom tiles, replacing damaged, dirty or tired fittings, cleaning or refitting carpets or applying a new coat of paint to the walls and roof will all create a good impression of your property. "Basically, take a look at every room in the house as if you were a buyer and try to think what you would want to fix - especially if the problem in any way suggests dirt or disrepair," suggests Rall. "Then make an effort to address those problem areas to give your house a facelift, save your buyer the trouble and boost your sale price." Another area that can add significant value without costing you a fortune is the garden. Rall explains that neat beds full of healthy plants, manicured lawns and well maintained boundary walls or fences all create a good impression of your home, and can be quite easily achieved. Even adding a few pot plants and a seat to a tiny outdoor area or balcony can create a pleasant and usable space for you and your future buyer. Getting a further homeloan This is all well and good, but even the smallest alterations cost money. You will need to apply to your bank for what is known as a "further homeloan" to fund your renovation. Your bank will use the same criteria to calculate a further homeloan as they do to calculate a homeloan for purchase. "The banks will assess the applicant's financial position to work out if they can afford the further homeloan in line with the requirements of the National Credit Act and then make sure that the valuation of the property is sufficient to cover the costs of the loan," explains Rall. What this basically means is that you will have to go through the same processes and paperwork as you did when applying for your original homeloan. "Using an expert bond originator like ooba, who knows the system, will help to position your application in the best possible light for approval at no cost to you," says Rall. A well maintained home is its own best marketing tool, so every home owner should be focusing on retaining and adding value to their property. With the help of the experts, it's easy to get it right.

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When applying for a home loan, one of your most important considerations should be securing the lowest interest rate possible. And when the home loan is granted, you should do everything you can to reduce the term and the interest that you pay.

It came as some relief to homeowners when the prime interest rate was cut by 50 basis points to just 8.5% last month. Although this provides a welcome reduction in the monthly costs of repaying a mortgage, ooba, the South African home loan experts, say it would be wise for people to keep their repayment levels unchanged.

Despite the buyer's market in the property industry at the moment, in the wake of the global economic downturn, banks are still wary of granting 100% home loans. In light of this, if you're considering buying a home, it's a good idea to start saving up for a decent deposit.

If you're thinking about buying your first home, get your financial affairs in order as soon as possible. You need a clean credit record to secure a home loan. Unless you have a clean record of servicing debt, your bank will be unlikely to grant you a home loan.