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Homeowners stay put and renovate

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There are many factors to consider before you repair, expand or modernise

Home renovations are continuing unabated in Joburg with many owners spending money on upmarket finishes.
The past 18 months in particular have seen an increase in the number of homes being upgraded, says Fergus Boake, director of FBA Projects.

Owners are adding rooms to their properties, undertaking full bathroom and kitchen renovations, and even completely making over their homes, with projects ranging in size and spend from R50000 to R1.5million.

“People generally renovate for their own living comfort as they plan to stay longer in their properties. It is not cost-effective to renovate to sell as renovation costs are high.

“People are spending on more upmarket finishes with more individual styling,” Boake says.

Younger buyers are also looking for homes in good areas to renovate, but for their living pleasure, not for resale, says Berry Everitt, chief executive of the Chas Everitt International Property Group.

This, he says, is a good choice as it is not wise to renovate to sell, unless the home is extremely dilapidated or dated.

“It is usually better to declutter, clean and tidy the home, garden and garage to let buyers see the existing home looking its best.”

Stian Senekal, sales manager at Just Property in Midrand, says if a seller has an older property that has not undergone improvement or renovation, it is preferred they do attend to some before selling because purchasers expect modern finishes.

Before renovations. Picture: The Renuvators Home Makeovers
During renovations. Picture: The Renuvators Home Makeovers
The finished kitchen. Picture: The Renuvators Home Makeovers

“Bathrooms are preferred areas that purchasers like renovated.”

Buyers in Midrand are looking for modernised homes, so older properties in the suburbs are either struggling to achieve sales or receiving offers much lower than asking prices.

In this area specifically, many properties are investment units that are rented out, so many owners have not refurbished or renovated them, Senekal says.

“Many of these property owners looking to sell are hesitant to spend money on renovating but still expect top selling prices compared with newer units being developed.”

He says it is important for owners to continuously upgrade and improve their properties, even if they are being rented out.

However, Boake warns owners to ensure their renovation companies are reputable.

With rising unemployment in the country, many people work in the industry out of necessity, but lack skills to take on complete renovations. This often leaves the client with an unsatisfactory completed project, or one that is not completed.

“We are often called in to finish or rectify projects,” he says.

In addition to Joburg companies and agents reporting a trend of renovations, the FNB/BER Building Confidence Index has revealed that almost all the building sub-sectors in South Africa have reported increased confidence during the first quarter of 2018.

This includes architects, main contractors, sub-contractors such as plumbers, electricians, carpenters and shop fitters, manufacturers of building materials like cement, bricks and glass, and retailers of building material and hardware.

Only quantity surveyors reported lower confidence, says John Loos, property economist at FNB.

In all sectors, the biggest increase in confidence was among building material manufacturers.

“While the higher confidence was supported by better domestic sales and production, it was the export indices – export sales and export order volumes – which provided the biggest lift,” says Loos, adding, however, that the confidence of building material manufacturers is “notoriously volatile”.

Hardware retailer confidence moved higher for the third consecutive quarter, while sales volumes and orders also increased.

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