Article By: Tian van Taak
Many buyers on a tight budget consider buying an older house and fixing it up. If you’re considering doing this, here are a few things to take into account;
What To Do?
The first thing you need to do is to decide if you’re up to the task. Major renovations are not for the faint-hearted, especially if you are thinking of doing them yourself.
Before you start ask yourself these questions:
• Can you live with the mess for what might be a year or more, depending on the work required?
• Are your skills up to the challenge? If not, can you afford the professionals required to turn your tumble-down property into the dream home you envisage?
Paul Stevens, CEO of Just Property, advises buyers looking into such opportunities, to be unemotional as they consider each property: “Don’t get carried away by the dream of what that cute Victorian will look like when you are finished sprucing her up. The very first step is to do a thorough inspection and be prepared to walk away if the work required is too great.”
The 10 most obvious issues you should be looking out for when buying to renovate from HouseCheck.co.za:
1. Poor drainage (storm water flows, guttering, and downpipes, damp);
2. Faulty electrical, plumbing and gas installations
3. A leaking roof
4. Defective insulation
5. Poor maintenance
6. Structural damage
7. Water damage
8. Evidence of wood-destroying insects or fungi
9. Poor ventilation
10. Hazardous materials (including mold)
A good estate agent will point these things out to you, we spoke to some of our local estate agents to ask them what should be
looked at when renovating a house and how to choose a contractor.
Tracey-Lee & Jaco Coetzee from Seeff Langebaan.
“Renovating not only restores the house, but restores the story of the home and the
neighbourhood” – unknown
Look for visual changes that need to be made, what will improve the property’s curb appeal, take a walk through the property and identify what improvements need to be addressed in order to determine what type of renovations need to be done.
Do your homework and play around with ideas when it comes to colour choice, lighting options, design and decor ideas, your renovation project could end up being a small project OR a large one given you may need to break down structures in order create a better flow to your property.
Essential home renovation tips you should adopt is-
• Create a budget
• Ask for recommendations (word of mouth)
• You may need to get permission for renovations
• Keep the weather in mind
• Plan for unforeseen surprises that could influence your budget
• Find a reliable contractor with a proven track record with references.
It’s important to keep the above tips in mind before jumping into a renovation project as you don’t want the experience to turn into a nightmare or affect your budget. A good contractor should guide you through the process and keep to a timeline.
Any improvements to a home will add value, however don’t overcapitalise.
Jomarie Louw – Chas Everitt Velddrif, Laaiplek, Port Owen & Dwarskersbos
Some people look at buying and renovating an older house because they think it will be cheaper then buying a newer house. Others are dreamers, or has a special bond with an older house. Either way, you have to do your homework well. Get a contractor, and if needed more then one to point out what needs to be done and how much it will cost. Then you add another 10-20% to that amount, for unforeseen costs.
If the house is older then 50years you might have to talk to the heritage association of the town, to find out if the changes you want to do is allowed. Never make this decision in a hurry, and if you do, take a deep breath, and enjoy the ride. It might be a roller coaster, but if you are prepared, worth every penny.