Improvements that add value to your property

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Whether you are wanting to do some home improvements to update your home for yourself, or if you are planning to do some dramatic changes to a home you bought as a fixer-upper to “flip” in order to make a profit, there are some basic rules one should bear in mind when considering alterations and home improvements.

However, as any estate agent will tell you, over-capitalising by spending a fortune on a home to get it perfect according to your taste can be a very costly mistake when it comes to selling.

Here are some basic tips to help you make the right choices when considering home improvements.

Before you start

First, consider the type of property you own. If you have a freestanding home the changes you can make will obviously be different to those you could make to a flat, or semi-detached home which will probably be bought as a sectional title, limiting your options according to the rules of the body corporate.

Similarly, a property built on a large piece of land has the option of extensions, or even sub-dividing the land and selling off a portion of it as a sub-division if you don’t need the huge garden.

Be wise with cost to benefits

Generally, it isn’t the best idea to spend a lot of money on renovations to try to improve the value of your home.

Many experts agree that what is best is to do the renovations you want for your own comfort, but to bear in mind what might add value to your home in the long run. Before rushing off to do all sorts of expensive upgrades and renovations, think carefully about the cost in the short term, especially if you have to take out expensive loans to do the work which will cost you a lot of long term debt repayment. DIY is a good way to get small changes done with minimal costs, but be sure to ask for expert advice if you need it rather than end up spending more because of making a costly mistake.

Shower yourself with benefits

The older your home, the more likely it is not to have a shower already, especially if it is a flat which was built between 20 to 40 years ago. However, modern buyers almost always put showers as an essential thing they want in any home they are looking at. If you are going to do alterations, especially to a flat or duplex, not putting in a shower with an water efficient shower head would be a big mistake.

However, in the case of houses with multiple bathrooms, don’t toss all the baths out either. When looking at home, give future buyers the options of both if you are able to. 

Paint wisely

While you obviously want to make sure you’re properly is on trend, if you are considering selling soon make sure you stick to neutrals and lighter colours.

While having a feature wall is a great design idea, as with the fancy tiles, potential buyers and tenants aren’t going to be keen to pay for your particular choice. Do some research to find out what is the trending colour by looking at decor magazines and websites, and consult others to get their opinions, but in general it is far better to focus on neutrals rather than bright colours.

Small changes

Small changes can have a bigger affect than completely renovating a whole home. The added benefit of small changes is that they don’t cost as much as completely overhauling a room or refitting a bathroom.

Updating your taps and fittings, or even just changing the handles of walk in or built in closets, or installing floating shelving can make a big difference to the perceived value of a home without costing a fortune.

When a home was first built, unless it was built with a big budget it is unlikely the developer would have installed the best taps or fittings of the time. Today innovation has changed how taps and shower heads are produced so updating these things can have a big impact.

Replacing or updating the style of kitchen cupboards or painting them to give them a fresh look is also an inexpensive way to increase the appeal of your home.


A common request especially in South African urban neighbourhoods, is security.

Investing in upgrading the security of your home by installing burglar bars, alarms and attractive, yet secure lockable gates for entrances can mean people feel the home is worth more.