Styles may change but kitchens and bathrooms will always play an important role in the home, says Liza Watermeyer, Retail and Display Co-ordinator at Tile Africa.
“More often than not, families and guests congregate in kitchens. People are drawn to the room as this is where the food is prepared and it’s usually warm, airy and welcoming.
“The bathroom is another room in which people tend to spend a fair amount of time as it is where they prepare for, and end, their day. Many people also see this room as a relaxing, private space in which they can just escape the world for a while,” explains Liza.
Given the roles of these rooms, it’s important that they are properly invested in from a personal enjoyment perspective and also from the point of view that, inevitably, there will come a time when a homeowner wants to sell and move on.
Get the cost ratio right
According to Watermeyer, a good guideline amount to collectively invest in these rooms is between 5% and 10% of the total value of the property. For example, if your property is worth R1-million, you should invest no more than R100 000 in these rooms to keep them as up-to-date and attractive as possible.
“Of course it’s important to consider such an investment carefully. Kitchen and bathroom makeovers can be carried out at any time but typically occur when the rooms are outdated and you intend living at the property for some time or when you are preparing to sell the property,” she says.
“Weigh up whether or not it’s worth it when updating to sell. If you don’t owe a lot on your bond then it will probably work in your favour to upgrade the rooms as they will bolster your asking price. However, if you owe a fair amount on your bond and don’t think the state of the rooms will detract too much from your asking price then it’s probably better to leave such an upgrade to the new owners.”
Watermeyer also warns against overcapitalising. “Do your homework, ask an estate agent for a comparative market analysis, or visit Lightstone for reports on the values of properties in the area. Doing so will enable you to scale back or gear up your refurbishment plans accordingly.”
Alison White of Pam Golding Fourways Gardens voices a similar opinion. She says that the decision to refurbish depends on the condition of these rooms and whether the seller thinks that the rooms, in their current state, will detract significantly from the asking price.
“If these rooms are in moderate need of attention, by all means carry out a few basic repairs and improvements such as applying a fresh coat of paint. Other than that, consider asking a realistic price and leave the rooms to others to personalise and make their own.”
White explains that she has come across some strange refurbishments and additions in her time. “The strangest to date was the addition of urinals in every bathroom which the owner thought were fantastic,” she says.
When selling a home, White advocates presenting a neutral, de-cluttered palette that will enable others to envision their own space. She also advises purchasing local taps and fixtures over imported varieties as local versions can be more easily repaired.
Adds Watermeyer: “Whatever the case, if you choose to refurbish prior to selling or refurbish as a new home owner, it’s advisable to select a fairly neutral, classic look and incorporate fixtures and finishes which won’t date and will appeal to a broad market come time to sell.”
Create a contingency budget: Inevitably when revamping there will be unexpected problems that crop up. Having a contingency budget in place will offset such issues.
Keep potential buyers’ needs in mind: Many buyers simply want to move straight in to a property and not have to deal with any hassles such as a poorly planned washing up area, lack of flow, damp, or suspect tiling. Utilising the services of professional, reputable kitchen and bathroom planners and contractors will go a long way towards avoiding such issues.
Provide plenty of storage space: Families are always on the lookout for bathrooms and kitchens that feature a decent amount of neat and convenient storage space so incorporate as much of this as possible.
Invest in quality appliances: Quality appliances always create a good impression and denote that you care about what you use and by association, your surroundings too.