It may be exciting to invest in older homes and renovate them for resale, but right now, you could also benefit greatly from improving your own home, where you may well be spending much more time than before.
That’s the advice of Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, who says that while the market currently presents many good opportunities to buy “fixer-uppers” and flip them for a profit, home owners should also look at upgrading their own properties – not only to increase their value but to make them more comfortable for themselves.
“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people who were thinking of buying a new home this year have postponed those plans, and many are also planning permanent lifestyle changes that will see them spending a lot more time at home, whether they are working remotely, running a home-based business or home schooling.
“So this is a good time to focus on whatever improvements will help them adapt to these new situations and feel good about their homes. Done right, these upgrades will also add to the appeal of the property and increase its value if they do want to sell in future.”
Some of the easiest and least expensive upgrades, he says, include the following:
- Reheat your kitchen. This is probably the most used room in your home, and the most likely to show signs of wear-and-tear. However, you don’t have to remodel it completely to make it look fresh and appealing. If your cabinets are in good condition, you can just repaint them and fit some new hardware to upgrade them. A new backsplash is a good way to modernize and it is easy to refurbish wooden countertops or replace dated laminates with granite or stone for a whole new look.
- Refresh your bathroom. Now might be a good time to add that en-suite bathroom you’ve always wanted, or to rejuvenate your family bathroom by repainting, regrouting older tiles and recaulking the basin and bath. Put in a new vanity or wall cabinet for more storage space if necessary and gift yourself some new towels and bath sheets.
- Repaint your living areas. Whether you have an open-plan dining/ lounge area or separate dining, TV and sitting rooms, they should be regularly repainted to keep them looking their best. Light neutral shades are generally best to create the impression of space but accent walls can add depth and interest, and if you’re not planning to move you can be even more adventurous and choose colours that make you happy or highlight your décor scheme.
- Install new light-fittings and lamps. This is one of the easiest ways to give your home a makeover, especially if you “inherited” most of your current lighting options. And you don’t have to change them all at once, because that could make too much of a dent in your budget. Although you should generally stick to one style or theme, you can make the changes room-by-room and choose fittings that match the function or mood of the space. For example, you may want really bright work lighting in the kitchen, but more muted lighting elsewhere.
- Replace your bedroom carpets. Many older homes still have carpets in the bedrooms even when the rest of the rooms have modern tile, wood or bamboo flooring. If this is the case in your home, now might be a good time to replace them with a different flooring material, or new carpeting, with underfloor heating. If you are going to be spending most of your time at home, this is definitely a good way to make it more comfortable, especially in winter.