For the majority of people, purchasing a property is the largest financial commitments that they will ever make, and it is also a long-term one too considering that homeowners will often only realise returns on their investment after five years or more.
According to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, a home’s investment potential and the time it takes to realise a growth in value depend on several aspects , such as market conditions during the period that the property was bought and sold, the home’s location, and the size and type of property. However, homeowners also have a vital part to play in ensuring that the home is well-maintained and kept in a good condition. “Knowing that it is such a large financial investment, it would make sense for homeowners to consistently maintain and improve their home to ensure that the investment is protected and grows in value. However, that said, it is also important that homeowners don’t spend too much on home improvements and upgrades, over-capitalising and eating into the possible equity built up in the property,” he says.
Ideally, home maintenance should be kept up throughout the year, however, time constraints can be an issue for many who are office bound for a large portion of their day. The holiday season is a great time for homeowners to undertake maintenance and improvement projects around the house. “Irrespective of whether people are going away on holiday or staying home, December is usually the time of year when people are less busy and are able to find some extra time to attend to home maintenance projects. Many people also receive bonuses during this time of year, which makes it easier to take on some of the bigger projects that they put aside until now,” says Goslett.
He provides a few projects that homeowners can do that will spruce up their home and have it looking great:
A fresh coat
Whether on the exterior or interior of the home, a new coat of paint can refresh a home’s look and give it a complete facelift. Changing the colour of a room can give it a completely different look and will revitalise the space. Goslett suggests that sticking to neutral colours, particularly for the exterior of the home is best. While vibrant colour palettes can be visually interesting, they could possible limit the home’s appeal with potential buyers.
Landscape and add water-wise elements to the garden
A manicured garden is always appealing to the homeowner while they live in the home and potential buyers; however, water restrictions make it difficult to maintain lush lawns and plants. Adding paving or hardscaping elements, such as a stone walkway, will reduce water consumption while adding to the aesthetic appeal of the home’s exterior. The lie of land may influence the placement of hardscaping features, particularly if drainage is affected, and water features should be in shaded areas to reduce evaporation.
Goslett says that when sprucing up the garden, ensure that only indigenous plants are used as they consume very little water and require minimal maintenance. Certain bedding plants can consume a lot of water; however, by adding mulching to the bed and water retention granules to the soil, the need for water can be substantially reduced.
Get rid of the clutter
During the festive season, there are a number of non-profit organisations that will be collecting items for the under-privileged. This is a great opportunity for homeowners to clear out some of their clutter while aiding a worthy cause. A de-cluttered home will feel more spacious and will be easier to clean and maintain.
Areas in the home such as the garage and tool shed usually tend to collect unwanted or unused possessions. While de-cluttering, go through these areas and get rid of items that you know you no longer need. Rather let someone else get the benefit of using them than have them take up potentially valuable storage space.
Perimeter and security upgrade
Whether they are motorised or not, the entrance to the property and the security gates on the doors to the home will require some maintenance, even if it is just a coat of paint and oil on the hinges. Other aspects to check would be the intercom system to ensure that it is working correctly.
Security elements add value to a property and increase buyer appeal. With many people going away for the holiday and leaving their home vulnerable, it is vital to ensure that the home’s security is up to standard and working as it should. The homeowner will need to assess whether their current system is sufficient or if additional security measures are required.
Depending on the homeowner’s maintenance and improvement requirements, there are several different projects that homeowners could decide to do during these holidays. “When it comes to owning a property, there is always something that requires maintenance or attention. The holiday period is the ideal time to tackle what needs to be done and help improve the value of your asset,” Goslett concludes.