Don't Take it Personally

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

We all want our homes to reflect our personal taste and cater for our various needs. However it pays to remember that prospective buyers may not necessarily like the changes you have made and the bad news is that this could affect the overall value of your home.

For example, ripping out the built-in cupboards in an unwanted bedroom and transforming the room into a man cave may be a life-long dream, but unless you have an enormous property with loads of sleeping space, the move could cost you in the long run. For most, a three bedroom home is far more appealing than a two bedroom property with an additional room. Generally speaking, converting a room to its original purpose is going to cost the buyer money. If another home offers the right amount of accommodation and is on the market at a similar price, it's going to make far more economic sense to go for the second option.

While we all tend to enjoy something a little different, it has been proven that selling a 'unique' home may be more difficult. Building a home in the shape of a ship's bow or transforming your home into a castle (complete with turrets and a moat) may seem like a good idea, but in all likelihood it is going to narrow the field of buyers who are interested in the property. The story is much the same when it comes to the interior of your home. The mirrored ceiling, fake gold taps and a bright red, heart-shaped bath may reflect the true you, but it is highly likely that it will be a turn off for the average home buyer.

Although over the top alterations could leave sellers seriously out of pocket, choosing to live in the dark ages and failing to modernise a home in any way is also more than likely going to affect the selling price. The avocado green bathroom suite with mustard wall tiles might have been all the rage in the 70s, but times and looks have changed and so (thankfully) have most people's tastes. Although people may hanker after the retro 60s look, they want it to have a modern, stylish feel.

There are many who have had to suffer the consequences of over capitalising on a property. The rule of thumb is to asses the home and the area in which it is situated and effect improvements accordingly. Having a wine cellar under a sprawling high-end home is one thing, trying to convert the space below an average three bedroom home into a wine bar/pub is quite another. Likewise, while a tennis court will undoubtedly add value to a property that has it all, it is unlikely to be an irresistible attraction for the average buyer who wants an average home, on a average sized stand, in an average suburb.

On a similar note, putting in an Olympic size swimming pool because you are convinced that your five year old is the next Ryk Neethling may work wonders for his or her swimming career, but again, don't expect to recoup the costs of the installation once the time comes to put the home on the market, unless the rest of the home is a palace which is situated in a suburb where everyone has everything.

It may be fair to say that we are all entitled to live in a home that reflects our personal tastes and needs. Remember though, that just because you love it, doesn't mean that anyone else will. Don't stray too far from the mainstream, or you will risk limiting your pool of potential buyers and that could really hurt where it matters most - your pocket.

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