How to invest smartly in your kitchen and bathroom

Times and styles may change, but kitchens and bathrooms will always play an important role in the home.

New homeowners usually refurbish these two rooms to suit their families’ needs whereas potential buyers consider the investment they’ll have to make to bring the rooms in line with their personal tastes.

“More often than not, families and guests congregate in kitchens,” said Liza Watermeyer, retail and display coordinator at Tile Africa.

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,” she added.

Given the role of these rooms, it’s important that they are properly invested in both from a personal enjoyment perspective and from the point of view that inevitably, there will come a time when a homeowner wants to sell and move on.

A good guideline amount to collectively invest in these rooms is approximately five to 10 per cent of the value of the property.

For example, if your property is worth R1-million, you should invest up to R100 000 on these rooms to keep them as up to date and attractive as possible.

“Of course, it’s important to consider such an investment carefully. Bathroom and kitchen makeovers can be carried out at any time but typically occur when the rooms are outdated and you intend living at the property for some time or when you are preparing to sell the property,” she said.

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,” she added.

Watermeyer also warns against overcapitalising.

“Do your homework. Ask an estate agent for a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and see how much properties in your area are selling for on average. Doing so will enable you to scale back or gear up your refurbishment plans accordingly.”

Alison White of Pam Golding Fourways Gardens said that the decision to refurbish depends on the condition of these rooms and whether the seller thinks it will detract significantly from his or her 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 explained 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.”


Other refurbishment tips Liza recommends include:

* 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 in mind potential buyers’ needs: 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, damp or suspect tiling. Utilising the services of professional, reputable kitchen and bathroom planners and contractors will go a long way towards avoiding such concerns.

* 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.

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