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Should you renovate your house before selling?

Your home is your most powerful asset and you'll want to get the most value out of it, but will renovations be worth the investment?

Mixed use development

Article summary

  • Take into account how renovations will affect the property’s appeal to buyers rather than its value.
  • Many buyers want the chance to forge the home in their own image after buying, and this may be more difficult if recent renovations have been conducted.
  • Some minor changes can make your home more appealing, such as fixing defects and adding security features.

It’s logical to take measures that increase your property value before selling, but will full-scale renovations pay off in the long term, or is it too drastic an undertaking? This is indeed a dilemma homeowners face.

Will renovations attract buyers?

This is the key question you should consider; not whether renovations will improve the property’s value but whether it will affect its appeal to buyers.

Many buyers want to forge the home in their image after buying, and recent renovations will make it more difficult for them to do this.

Furthermore, alterations to the home may appeal to you, but you risk adding features that prospective buyers don’t actually want.

So what measures can you take to make the property more attractive? Here are some small touches you can make in lieu of undertaking large-scale renovations:

  • Repair any defects in the home such as broken windows or cupboards.
  • Give the home a fresh lick of paint, but don’t change the colour as there’s no point undertaking a measure which may backfire since the new colour may not appeal to the buyer’s taste.
  • Pack away any clutter to ensure the home is neat and tidy for viewing.
  • Remove personal touches such as family photos so the property doesn’t feel lived in.
  • If there’s a garden, mow the lawn and trim any foliage to ensure it looks tidy.
  • Add some additional security features such as burglar bars on the windows and an alarm system.

Are renovations worth the investment?

Most of the time, the cost of renovations will not be worth the return.

Furthermore, renovations may increase the value of the home but put off the buyers specifically for that reason as they’ll have to put in a higher offer than they originally assumed.

If you plan to make renovations, take the following into account.

  • The kitchen is the hub of the home and thus the room many home sellers are tempted to renovate, but it’s also the most expensive to renovate. Costs vary from R10 000 to R250 000+, depending on the size of the kitchen and the extent of the remodelling project. So don’t get ahead of yourself when renovating a kitchen. Plan your budget beforehand. Minor touches such as adding a kitchen island may be worth the investment.
  • The bathroom is one of the most cost-effective rooms to renovate. Additional touches to the bathroom could add some value without breaking the bank.
  • Adding extra rooms may backfire as the buyer may not require the additional space.
  • Extravagant finishes such as fancy wardrobes will not add value.
  • Solar panels are desirable but you shouldn’t install them with a view to increasing the value of the home.

Seek professional advice

An estate agent can advise you on how renovations will impact the value of your home, and whether that additional value will work for or against you.

Sometimes it can be a hindrance for your home to stand out from other properties in the area. The buyer will be looking in your area because they’ll have assessed the average value and features of properties in the area.

Planning your sale

Your home is your most valuable asset and you’ll want to get the most value out of its sale, but you also need to attract buyers in the first place. So plan any changes to the home carefully and do your research.

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