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Smart DIY Renovations: Boost Appeal Without Overcapitalising

Published December 29, 2023
7 months ago

The concept of do-it-yourself (DIY) in home renovation has been a growing trend, more so since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic when homes became multifunctional spaces. Homeowners are eager to personalize their living spaces, with a keen focus on budget-friendly upgrades. However, industry professionals stress the need for careful planning to enhance a home's appeal while avoiding diminishing returns.

The allure of DIY renovations is understandable. In a time where financial constraints are prevalent, the idea of saving on labor costs and achieving immediate results is appealing. Yet, the risks of diminishing property value through poor workmanship or overcapitalisation are a significant concern.

Leading real estate experts urge homeowners to think twice before embarking on major DIY projects. Steve Thomas from Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Cape Town suggests targeting improvements that will offer broad appeal to potential buyers without breaking the bank. He advises being particularly mindful of the 'wow factor' and functional aspects of a property.

Adrian Goslett of RE/MAX Southern Africa concurs, emphasizing the assessment of a home's potential resale value prior to renovation. Enlisting a real estate practitioner for a professional evaluation is prudent to avoid overshooting the market value ceiling in your suburb.

Mike Greeff from Greeff Christie’s Real Estate echoes the sentiment, pointing out that while maintaining and making minor changes to a home is reasonable, significant alterations should be carefully considered.

A common piece of advice from agents is to provide enough room for future owners to infuse their personality into the home. Thomas recommends investing in enhancements that ensure a return, like sustainable features and essential infrastructure improvements.

So, what should DIY enthusiasts focus on? Here are the projects with likely benefits:

- Home entrance and exterior: Upgrade with a fresh coat of paint, clear pathways, and replace outdated mailboxes or house numbers for a cohesive aesthetic.

- Garden: Optimize parking space, maintain neatly trimmed boundaries, upgrade to LED lighting, and introduce a water-wise landscape.

- Bathrooms: Employ cost-effective changes like a paint refresh, water-saving features, and potentially new fittings.

- Kitchen: Fresh paint, updated handles, and modern splashbacks can dramatically revitalize a kitchen without overspending.

However, not all home projects are advisable. Experts discern that significant outlays on areas like high-end kitchen remodels are rarely recouped in resale.

Finding a middle ground between lifestyle satisfaction and intelligent investment is key, reminding homeowners that while comfort is paramount, reasonableness in expenditure should not be undermined.

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