Buying a new property does have that excitement value to it, the romance that one feels when considering all the pretty fixups, the possibilities, the extra income some fix-ups will generate. But we humans need to be careful not to lose ourselves in this romance, especially when it comes to investment properties.  Today I though I will make you a list of 10 Home Improvements that will pay off when it comes to selling your property.

Only Interested in the Selling Value:

Your home improvements will be more beneficial closer to the selling date, due to the changing tides of fashion

Interested in the Selling Value & Rental Rate:

Some of these home improvements might even be beneficial right now, simply because of the increase in rent.  When the property is purely for investments one can start thinking very creatively about how to make your monthly maintenance cost less, as well as keeping the future selling price in mind.  This brings us to our first item on our 10 Home Improvements that will pay off list.

1. Fresh coat of Paint:

Interested in the Selling Value

Painting may seem pointless as you think “but the new owner is going to paint anyway…”

But giving your property a fresh coat of paint will simply make possible buyers feel more at ease, because they believe the property is well taken care of… or so it seems.  For even more cost savings, consider only painting the trims of the property.  The window frame/skirting/gutters that once was white, but now yellow.  Making sure your whites are white, this will definitely give a cleaner, more well maintained appearance.

Interested in the Rental Rate

Lets’ say, you have a rental unit and you add the clause of no painting allowed in your rental contract.  This idea allows you two savings options:

  1. To buy a standard 20liters of beige, saving you lots of money if you buy bulk.
  2. To choose very carefully which walls needs to be repainted with every tenant switch.  Making it possible to only paint the walls with foot prints, or where the headboard use to be.

I have done this with my rental unit and it works well.  My tenants likes the idea that the painting isn’t their responsibility. And I like the iead that no tenants can mess up my floors and trimmings. Just choose a colour that fits with most interior styles, like beige.  

2. Small Maintenance

It is but obvious that you will have to fix those small maintenance issues before even listing your property.  Fixing up some drywalling,  light fitting, cupboard doors, gutters, squeaky doors, est.  These small fix-ups shouldn’t be that big, considering these are the maintenance issues we should be keeping our thumbs on anyway.

3. Update outdated or unsightly fixtures:

Giving your property a quick facelift with newer fittings can bring it from the 60’s to present.  These fittings shouldn’t cost you a fortune as your profit margins might be very slim.  Consider the light switch covers, are they still clean and unscratched.

4. Garden

If your property comes with a garden ensure that it looks neat.  As a landlord you may have very little input on the garden appeal of your property but make sure that the garden is neat.  Grass is green and short, there are no weeds in the pavement, generally gardening expenses is fully recovered within the selling price.

5. Security

Adding security to your property is always a benefit, for the selling price as well as your current rental rate.  A security gate or increase in wall height are things to be considered.

6. Minor Construction Projects

Fixing up a room or two in your property might be very beneficial for the rental rate as well as the selling price.  Consider re-tiling the bathroom, giving the kitchen cupboards a repaint with new counter tops.  These minor construction projects shouldn’t have to cost a fortune.  For a budget value of R30 000 you can easily add a total sell value of R50-60 000 depending on the project.  Be very smart and think carefully what to fix, up date and replace when it comes to the construction projects of your property.

Home additions are still considered worth it for the seemingly high expense they can cost.

The key is to CALCULATE everything before hand.

Something that has become very popular is the ideas of creating more storage.  Consider the dead space beneath the stairs or converting an attic or basement into usable family space.  Bathrooms and kitchens are still considered one of the best minor construction projects to take on.  But it is still more important to ensure the building is solid, the roof doesn’t leak and the basement doesn’t smell.  These major construction projects will put potential buyers off

7. Clean Flooring

Flooring is one of those elements that can make or break a house.  Thusly, I would recommend checking that your flooring seems neat.  If you  have carpets, have them cleaned.  If you have a chipped tile or two, try and replace them with that extra 10% you bought but never used.  For wooden floors, give them a proper polish, you will be surprised how fast a groggy old home can come alive with a shine to the floor.

8. Curb Appeal and Entrance

The way your property present to the outside is surprisingly super important.  

How does the house welcome guest?

Do you have a porch, unique front door, … is the pavement clean and neat, how’s the landscaping.   These are the question you should be asking when looking at your property from the outside. Another reason why painting is considered a must.

9. Energy Efficient Fixtures

Energy Efficiency in property is still a new idea, but an idea we know are going to stay.  It will be worth your while to consider adding some energy efficiency element within your property.  Putting in energy saving bulbs that last 10 years (with their receipts) can be a  nice to have when buying the property.  But adding a water tank will not break the bank.  Or adding a few solar panels already connected to a small battery system will impress any potential buyer.  

Considering how expensive electricity and water will become world wide, makes these addition worthwhile as all buyers can see the benefit.

10. Remove the question from your property

Your property shouldn’t give a potential buyer the opportunity to say “what’s that?”

By ensuring that everything are in place and looks inplace potential buyers will not question the property.  Otherwise they can think that’s weird or strange, I don’t know, maybe not this one…

If there are strange nooks and crannies in your home either fix them or remove them.  If there are strange flooring under flooring, ceiling on top of a ceiling, take them out.  Have a friend give you an honest assessment of elements within your yard and home that attract strange questions, this is especially true if you have an older home.

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Written by Lizl Brink, Lizl is copywriter and designer based in Johannesburg, she is also a frequent contributor to the Mafadi blog, and as an Urban investor and rejuvenation shares a passion for urban regeneration, go check out her personal portfolio here
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