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How to add value to your home and car - and sell for the best price

01 Jul 2019

When evaluating the value of a pre-owned asset like a house or a motor vehicle, there are various small, inexpensive things you can do to ensure securing the best value.

A renovated property always generates better returns than one in poor condition, but unless you're in a highly sought-after suburb, spend on what really counts.

We asked experts, George Mienie, CEO of AutoTrader and Lanice Steward, head of training for Pam Golding Properties, about the key elements to consider before you sell your beloved pre-owned property or vehicle.

Add value to your home by renovating wisely

Steward says a renovated property always generates better returns than one in poor condition. However, before spending thousands of rands on renovating a property, ask an agent to provide a valuation in the current condition.

“This will allow you to compare your home against the suburb to assess prices of renovated versus non-refurbished properties to prevent over-capitalising,” Steward says, adding that agents can also advise you on what renovations will add value and improve saleability.

Invest in creating space and flow, rather than overly expensive fittings.

However, she says most often, improving the marketability requires a coat of paint, some landscaping and new light fittings. If you need to spend more on home improvements, invest it where it counts – open up spaces by demolishing internal walls or spend money on the bathrooms and kitchen. Additional bathrooms and bedrooms are sound investments, while a tennis court only holds value for buyers keen on tennis.

“Don’t overspend on high quality fittings as these are never fully appreciated. Rather invest in creating space and flow, and tastefully modernise the kitchen and bathrooms without being extravagant,” she says.

Undertake small renovations to yield the best results with minimum spend like repainting, changing kitchen countertops and respraying cupboards

Previously, costly installations like solar heating and boreholes added little real value to a property, but looming electricity bills and droughts have changed our outlook.

“These types of additions might be the tipping point for a buyer choosing between two different properties," she says. "Equally, a swimming pool may not be welcome in a drought and with water shortages.” 

Other nice-to-have features that may add value, include a pyjama lounge and a water-wise garden, while features in the home with limited appeal are a large wine cellar, a man cave and a billiard room.

“Unless you are in a highly sought-after suburb, undertake small renovations to yield the best results with minimum spend like repainting, changing kitchen countertops and respraying cupboards.”

Other small areas that make a visible difference are cleaning up the garden and enhancing kerb appeal, decluttering the interior and ensuring the home presents well, says Steward. 

How to prepare your car for the best sale price

A critical aspect to achieving the best price is having your service history book on hand when the dealer evaluates your car.

“It might sound obvious, but always ensure your vehicle is spotlessly clean inside and out before having it evaluated” says Mienie. “A clean vehicle gives the impression your vehicle has been well looked after and the general condition definitely carries weight when pricing a trade-in car.”

A dirty vehicle also makes it difficult to check if any paintwork repairs have been done

Another critical aspect to achieving the best price is having your service history book on hand when the dealer evaluates your car. The vehicle must also be up-to-date with its services and this should have been done when due, as late servicing can affect a car’s warranty.

“If the warranty is deemed invalid, it can drastically decrease the value. Also, if your car has been in an accident, tell the dealer and always keep copies of the repair invoices with the service history book, so the dealer can see it was fixed with the correct materials,” says Mienie.

Should the car have a cracked or badly chipped windscreen, check with your insurer about having it replaced before you sell the car, as most insurance companies will do this with little or no excess. However, leaving this job to the dealer will eradicate the whole replacement cost from your valuation – and that can be R3 000 to R5 000 depending on the vehicle type.”

Lastly, Mienie suggests sellers know where the spare key is, as replacing that piece of essential equipment can cost up to R6 000. 

Mienie lists his top ‘how-to’ videos to ensure your car is always clean and in showroom condition:

  1. How to clean car air vents
  2. How to clean car seats
  3. How to clean leather seats
  4. How to remove wax from plastic trim
  5. How to make your car worth more before selling it
  6. How to clean your interior like a professional
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