Which renovation project will give you the best return on investment? And how will Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials affect your next home improvement project?
The infographic shows the relative Return of Investment (ROI) of a number of home improvements to a three bedroom house, with two bathrooms and double garage in an upmarket suburb in Cape Town.
Additional floor space and home improvements will undoubtedly increase the value of your home almost simultaneously says Manja Kritzinger, CEO of Realtors International, generally improve the value of your home almost instantaneously. But, there are fundamentals to every investment and homeowners should understand where value lies when investing. As an example, Manja cites the substantial difference in price between a two-, three- and four bedroom-houses against homes with five bedrooms or more which seldom enjoy a similar increase. In another example, Manja warns: “An area of the home that should offer a high return on investment is the kitchen. However, spending R100 000 on a kitchen in a house worth R1 000 000 just doesn’t make financial sense. One should consider getting advice from your local realtor before investing in extensive home improvement projects.”
Cliff Harriman, veteran of the South African home improvement sector and founder of Lofts, says it’s important to be aware of how macroeconomic factors and changing demographics have impacted on some home improvement trends.
“A small percentage of South Africans can afford to retire successfully; so many parents are moving into their children’s homes. At the other end of the scale, we see a large number of the Millennials still living at home well into their twenties. There is also an increasing sense of community which means that many people prefer to stay in their suburb rather than to upgrade as the Baby Boomer era did in the previous generation. People need more space but it’s not always feasible to move to a bigger home or build on using bricks and mortar.
“Lofts are usually associated with large city centre living, but we have experienced acceleration in lofts being installed in the southern suburbs – including Newlands, Bishopscourt and Claremont – the City Bowl, the Atlantic Seaboard and Northern Suburbs.”
Harriman says that a loft can be installed within three working days at a fraction of the price of bricks and mortar extensions. He says that together with the savings in time, a loft installation offers a healthy return on investment because otherwise dead space is converted into a functional and aesthetically appealing living area.
Leon Fourie of Realtors International Somerset West, believes that bathroom renovation offers an attractive investment, advising: “Keep it simple and tasteful, adding features such as taps, heated towel rails and shower head. If you own an older home with four bedrooms and one bathroom, rather invest in adding a second bathroom than renovating the one bathroom.”
Fourie says that owning a swimming pool in his trading area of Somerset West is very important and having other outdoor features such as a decked patio and built in braai makes it easier to market a home. Good security could account for as much as R100 000 of a R3.5 million property. Fourie also advises never to underestimate the curb value – a healthy lawn, landscaped garden and good irrigation system.
Cliff Harriman, who has been a part of the South African home improvement landscape for over 40 years, concludes:
“Any investment is only as good as the jockeys – in this case, the tradesmen and craftsmen doing the work. It is very important to get references from previous customers, ask which industry bodies they’re associated with and check consumer complaint portals for any evidence of poor performance. I’d also check their website for tell-tale signs about the company. It must be modern, look clean, organised and professional.”