Up the value of your property with these home improvements

These on-trend home improvements will offer you the best return on investment

While any home improvements made to your house will invariably increase the value of your property, not all renovations are worth the cost when you consider how much value they will actually add.

Based on market analysis collated over 30 years, the latest Cost vs Value report by US-based magazine Remodeling has found that focusing on the finer details will deliver much better returns than taking on bigger projects such as a complete remodel of your kitchen or bedroom, particularly if these rooms have been well maintained.

Instead, the publication suggests you concentrate on making minor tweaks to existing structures, such as changing door handles and window frames.

“Making your existing home the best it can be is the most cost-effective course of action, with the top-ranking projects of the year – those likely to generate the highest return on money spent – being the installation of fibreglass ceiling insulation, the installation of a steel front door, the improvement of the exterior appearance of your home, a minor kitchen remodel and a garage door replacement,” the report notes.

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These type of smaller renovations generate, on average, a return on investment of about 74%, whereas the bigger and more common home improvements, like remodelling your kitchen, gets you an average return of about 64%.

Short-term insurer Santam says homeowners should also consider knocking out non-structural walls as this will open up your home and give you more space.

“Trends today are firmly entrenched in open-plan living and wider spaces. If you really want an island in your kitchen, consider a portable island that can be moved out of the way or removed entirely by a potential new owner,” the company advises.

Another area that will bump up the value of your home is your garden as well as the exterior of your house, which is known as curb appeal.

Making improvements to the interior of your house will give you a return of about 63%, while exterior renovations will give you about 75%, a trend that RealNet estate agency MD Gerhard Kotze says “holds true for South Africa”.

“We generally like to spend a lot of leisure time outside, gardening or swimming or entertaining around the braai,” he says. “Spending money on a poolside patio or new thatch for the lap is likely to give you a much better payoff, rand for rand, than a new kitchen or an extra bathroom, and it will still increase the appeal of your home for prospective buyers.

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“In fact, kitchens and bathrooms are such personal spaces that a major revamp might not pay off at all if your dream makeover fails to impress a buyer that has a totally different taste.”

An emerging trend among homebuyers is to go green. Features of this nature are likely to up the value of your property considerably.

“With increasing concern about climate change and rising costs in electricity, the investment to make your home as environmentally friendly as possible can dramatically improve the attractiveness and value of your home,” Santam advises. “Consider solar geysers, efficient lighting systems and ways to maximise the use of water in and around your home. A solar water geyser can save you up to 40% in heating energy costs.”