In tough economic times, you may need to fall back on your house to tide over financial difficulties – and this is where the right home makeover can do wonders for you
By: Hitesh Khan/
In the days of an uncertain economic growth and job insecurity, there’s no place like home sweet home. Even with property market being down, homeowners can still recoup 80 to 90 per cent of the money spent on right home makeover.
The key in right home makeover is to know where to spend. Just because you put $20,000 into renovations, it won’t necessarily add that much value. If your house needs better plumbing and electrical systems, you won’t see a return on it for a while because people expect that in a house they’re buying to be in good shape. Bad plumbing will detract from the value, but new plumbing won’t necessarily drive up the price tag.
The key to adding value is to focus on the things that are important to buyers, and do right home makeover. You don’t want to have the most expensive home on the block.
Here, in no particular order, are some tips for how to get the best bang for your buck on your right home improvements, even in a tight real estate market.
1. In real estate, dark and cramped are no good, so a little light goes a long way
If your house has small rooms that block the flow of natural light, you may want to consider knocking down some walls and opening up your floor plan. Open floor plans usually involve combining your kitchen, dining and living areas into one big space that suits a casual lifestyle.
This makes a small house feel light and airy, giving the illusion of a larger living area. Open rooms create an inviting atmosphere for entertaining, because kitchen duties can be performed while hanging out with guests. It’s also great for young families because it allows parents to work on dinner while keeping an eye on the youngsters. Adding rooms is also a big value booster.
2. Green is in
So many companies are looking for ways to reduce costs and minimise their carbon footprint. One way is to offer telecommuting options for employees. Many Singaporeans work from home, and that number grows every year. This has made a home office more of a necessity than a luxury.
Creating a dedicated work space adds value to your home, Converting an extra bedroom is a great way to take care of business from the comfort of your home. You’ll want to make sure that you have plenty of space to spread out your work load and ample cabinets for storing supplies and archival paperwork. You also need an ergonomic workstation.
The rule of thumb is a 26-inch (66-centimeter) high desk and a computer keyboard situated 23 to 28 inches (58 to 71 centimeters) from your body. Your chair height should be 15 to 21 inches (38 to 53 centimeters) from the floor.
3. Painting is one of the least expensive ways to freshen and improve your home’s look
Painting will consequently improve the value of your home. And we’re talking everywhere, including interior features as well. A coat of paint can do wonders to brighten up dingy cupboards, for example, or old paneling. In the past, neutral colors were seen as the best way to create a fresh, bright, versatile look. But today, people crave color, so don’t be afraid to consider a wide range of hues.
Just stay away from super-bright colors, such as hot pink or neon yellow. Don’t really have an eye for color? Not a neat painter? Then hire a professional. Painting is such an affordable home enhancement that you can probably manage to spend a little on an interior designer who can help select colors, and a professional painter to do the dirty work.
4. Update your bathroom
Updating your bathrooms, especially master baths, will add considerable value to your house. A master suite with his and her sinks, spacious showers and plenty of square footage are what buyers are looking for. Added amenities such steam showers and whirlpool tubs will serve you well, and ample storage is a must.
Traditional ceramic tile floors are preferred over wood flooring because they handle water better. If you want to go green, low-flow toilets and skylights are good choices. Keep your design in the same period as the rest of your house. You can still have modern amenities while retaining a classic look. Don’t be shy when it comes to spending – the average bathroom remodel can get you back the majority of your investment.
5. Everyone gravitates towards the Kitchen
Have you ever noticed everyone gravitates toward the kitchen during a party? It’s known as the heart of the home for a good reason. The draw of your kitchen to party-goers has the same value to potential buyers, so a kitchen remodel is one of the best ways to add value to your house.
An updated kitchen appeals to a buyer’s emotions and a homeowner’s wallet because, if done correctly, it can give you close to a 100 per cent return on your investment on right home makeover. Plenty of counter and cabinet space is a must, and granite counter-tops are popular with buyers. Stainless-steel appliances are also a hot ticket, but the most important thing is to make sure your appliances all coordinate. Island counters are wonderful additions if your kitchen has the space. They not only provide additional counter space, but can also be used for homework, grabbing a quick bite or a place for guests to hang out while you cook.