How to increase the value of your home

Property or land is a valuable asset that a person can obtain as it will generally appreciate over time. If you’ve bought a house or flat, however, the maintenance of your home is of paramount importance in order to assure a return on your investment, finds Alina Hardcastle.

For those who intend to sell their homes or who simply want to give their homes a face lift, here are a few tips and tricks to improve your home’s physical appearance and to increase its value.

What is the first thing you need to do?

The best way to increase your home’s value starts with research and planning to ensure the renovation is succesful. Plans need to be made intentionally, as making renovation decisions on impulse might just turn out to be disastrous.

Arrange a meeting with a local estate agent, he or she can advise you on the value of your home and what potential buyers are looking for. This will help you determine where your home’s strengths lie and spot the areas that need to be improved.

Once you have established the above, make a list of the things you want changed and the renovations you would like to make.

Professional assistance

You will eventually need some form of professional assistance during the project. You may only need assistance when ordering appliances; when hiring an architect or interior designers or you may decide to work directly with builders and contractors.

Professionals can assist you with contracts, space planning, budgeting, choosing finishes, or ordering and shopping for products.

What are you prepared to do and what is your budget?

The above services do come at a price; you need to ask yourself, “What exactly am I prepared to do?”

Are you prepared to take on a massive renovation or are you someone who would like to gradually renovate over time and start off with small individual projects? For many this answer depends on their financial situation.

Now you need to decide whether or not you can you afford to take on massive upgrade at once or can you only budget for small individual projects over time?’

You need to consider whether the cost of your renovation will increase the value of your home and if you will get a return on your expenditure when you resell.

What are potential buyers looking for?

There are key areas and features you need to consider when upgrading such as: an open floor plan, lighting and security.

Open floor plan

It is imperative to consider the flow of your home when you are remodelling. An open floor plan has become a popular and desired feature for most buyers.

A majority of home buyers enjoy having an entertainment area for family and friends. An open floor plan provides space that allows you to interact with your family or guests even when you are in a different area or room in your home.

“Most buyers prefer an open plan environment as it is seen to be more sociable and families can interact better instead of mom being isolated in the kitchen whilst preparing dinner. It definitely also creates a feeling of more space,” says Letitia Botha, a RE/MAX estate agent.

Trevor Harris, broker/owner of RE/MAX Winelands, adds: “I believe the more doorways into a room; the less utility you have for furniture and people movement.”

Delene Minny, broker/owner of RE/MAX Legacy in Potchefstroom, nots: “Gone are the days of a formal closed wasted space room. For the practical use of all the space in the house, an open plan fits all the needs.”

In most homes this can be created by removing one or two non- structural walls which not only provides you with space but gives your home a modern appearance.


“Many buyers notice the light and brightness of a home. Homes where there is not much natural light often caused by overgrown gardens tend not to be so popular,” highlights Jenny Ramsay, a RE/MAX estate agent.

Haigh suggests that the use of “lighter curtains, Venetian blinds, skylights and glass bricks” to make a home appear brighter.

Another way to increase or improve the natural lighting in your house would be to increase the size of existing windows, adding new window, or putting in one or two sky lights.


“I believe these days security is the most important consideration,” states Botha.

The high crime rate within our country is a reality that must be faced. So it’s important that your home has an alarm system installed, electric fencing and motion detector exterior lighting. This decreases the chance of a break-in and creates a desirable living environment as potential buyers are more interested in purchasing a safe and secure home.

What are the most important rooms /areas for potential buyers?

This depends solely on the potential buyer’s needs. Most of RE/MAX’s estate agents that I talked to agreed that the kitchen and bathroom areas are the most important areas of the home. However, some of the agents suggest the main bedroom as an important room, as well as the garage for security and storage purposes.

“Kitchens and bathrooms tend to be very important as the cost to renovate is high,” points out Ramsay. These two areas need to look their best as these are the interior spaces where you can maximise the value in the sale of your home.

Kitchen upgrades

Kitchens are the main focus of one’s home, this is the area in your home where you start your day; and where families come together to sit down, have a meal and bond with one another.

“Modern kitchens have become a demand following the popularity of the TV cooking shows that have created a very high sense of food preparation and styles,” says Harris.

It would be in the potential seller’s interest to maintain the upkeep of things such as the tiling, counters, door handles, taps, cupboard and light fittings, to appeal to potential buyers. “Modern finishes like granite or Caesar stone tops in neutral colours to fit almost anyone’s taste and that can be personalised with décor,” suggests Botha.

If your kitchen is in need of upgrading or a makeover, a fresh coat of paint or new colour is simple but effective and a cheaper way to revamp your kitchen. Gas stoves, ample space for appliances, and kitchen islands are also a popular feature in kitchens. The layout is also very important.

Bathroom bliss

“Bathrooms are no longer the room where people perform basic hygiene tasks but an area of beauty, relaxation and personal grooming, hence the desire for modern, clean and quality bathrooms,” says Harris.

You need to ensure your bathroom has overhead lights, fittings and mirrors. If you have small budget then change small things such as your toilet seat, towel rails and medicine cabinet or place a full length mirror in your bathroom as it will give the room a bigger feel.

Garden improvements

When potential buyers are viewing your home ensure that your garden is always neat and clean; the lawn is mowed; and consider investing in trees and shrubs; or planting flowers to give your garden a hint of colour.

“Gardens are popular with many people requiring space for pets or children,” notes Ramsay.

However, Botha points out: “Young executives or people who travel a lot, a garden could be more of a burden than an advantage as these buyers are looking for lock-up and go and low maintenance properties.”

Again, the garden requirements depend solely on the potential buyer’s needs and wants but generally most buyers are looking for a garden with a green effect and low maintenance.

Final tips

“Generally buyers are looking for well-maintained properties that are not in need of major renovations,” highlights Botha.

Buyers are looking for a clean home that is open and has a flow, as well as high quality finishes.

Whether or not you renovate, if your house is on the market it is important to keep your home neat and cluster free when potential buyers view the house. Ensure natural lighting is maximised by opening up curtains; investing in venetian blinds or light curtains. If you are planning on painting stick to neutral shades as it’s easier to paint over and makes your space looking bigger.

Another way to make your home appear more spacious is by placing full lengths mirrors around the house to make it appear larger. Small things such as re-painting, re-tiling or replacing fittings can make the world of a difference when reselling.

Renovating or remodelling your home might seem overwhelming with so many options to choose from; considering prices but the key is to plan realistically and work within your budget.

Further reading:

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