Should You Renovate or Improve Before Selling?

Should You Renovate or Improve Before Selling?

When putting a home on the market, property sellers should disclose all defects to their agents and insist that agents in turn list these on the defects list that is usually attached to the sales mandate on the property. Full disclosure will protect the seller from any claims on faults that may be found in the home later.

Van Blerck says to get your asking price, or perhaps even a little more, spending a little money and time on a home can be worth the effort.
This is according to Laurence van Blerck, a Knight Frank South Africa agent, who says it often happens that, on going through a defects list, the seller will contemplate repairing items that are in a state of disrepair or improving certain aspects of the home in order to improve its marketability.

However, Van Blerck says it is important to distinguish between marketability and value.

“Marketability refers to the desirability of the property from the buyers’ perspective, and value is its likely selling price taking into account the accommodation on offer, the area and its amenities, whilst bearing in mind the supply and demand for similar properties on the market,” he says.

“Some repairs and renovations will improve a property’s marketability without resulting in a significant increase in its value.”

The question is, what amount should be put towards repairs or renovations?

“It is difficult to pinpoint what each person should spend on a home before they sell because values would be unique to each situation,” he says.

Van Blerck says in many cases, simple items such as repairing a broken window or door frame, plastering superficial cracks in walls, painting the home or replacing a worn carpet could be the difference between a buyer considering purchasing the property or deciding to continue looking.

“Many say kitchens and bathrooms sell homes, and sellers may have the idea to renovate or upgrade these before putting the home on the market,” he says.

“However, caution should be applied concerning the money spent here as these rooms are known to be expensive to upgrade, and if the potential buyer does not like the new fittings, he might well end up removing all the new items that have been installed, which would be a waste of money.”

Van Blerck says decoration in a home is subjective and what one person might see as a “dream kitchen” might not be to someone else’s taste. There is the risk of over-capitalisation as well as too much money spent on big-ticket items being difficult to recoup when putting a home on the market.

“I would advise homeowners contemplating renovating to not do so because you’re selling, but rather because you’d like to have a new kitchen or bathroom,” he says.

“If it is solely for the purpose of making the home more marketable, try the more cost-effective ways of sprucing the home up, such as fresh paint in a neutral colour, a professional carpet clean, sanding worn wooden floors or changing cupboard door handles to more modern ones.”

Some light fittings are easily replaceable with cost effective ones and need not be expensive designer types, but rather just more contemporary ones, he says.

Van Blerck says the crucial thing to remember when selling a home is that neat and tidy properties with light and bright rooms tend to be more marketable than dark, cluttered ones.

“To get your asking price, or perhaps even a little more, spending a little money and time on a home can be worth the effort.”

Property24

22 Dec 2015