Accurate property value estimation is often considered an art as much as it is a science – it’s not always easy to pin down that mysterious “x factor” with hard statistics. Intangible things like ambiance are notoriously difficult to quantify, but there are a few hard and fast factors that are guaranteed to influence the value of any home. Tony Clarke, Managing Director of the Rawson Property Group, takes us through his top five.
Location, location, location! It’s a cliché because it’s true – location is the number one factor that determines your home’s value – but there is a little more to it than just the neighbourhood you’re in.
“Each suburb has its own target market and price range,” says Clarke, “which dictates the upper and lower limits of property values in the area. Within this price band, however, there are often certain roads or blocks that achieve higher-than-average prices.”
According to Clarke, this phenomenon can be attributed to several factors.
“Typically, these pockets of more expensive properties will be positioned in the most convenient, picturesque or sought-after parts of the neighbourhood. They may have better views, better orientation, or better security than those around them, and because they attract a more affluent buyer, they are often more modern and well maintained.”
Size counts when it comes to property, and the more spacious your home, the more you can expect buyers to pay for it.
“With densification affecting most areas these days, space comes at a premium,” says Clarke, “and buyers are definitely willing to pay more for a bit of extra breathing room. Space requirements are relative, however, and should be viewed within the context of your neighbourhood.”
Clarke reveals that a huge property in an area that typically attracts first-time buyers, students, or those looking for a lock-up-and-go lifestyle, may struggle to sell to anyone other than a developer. On the other hand, a property that offers a similar lifestyle to its neighbours, but with more privacy and space, is likely to see a lot of interest from private buyers, and have more room to negotiate a favourable sales price as a result.
Rooms and amenities
No matter how big or small, a lot of a property’s value comes from the breakdown of rooms and facilities it offers. Bedrooms, bathrooms and garages are naturally the top influencers, here, but outdoor entertainment areas, built-in braais and work-from-home spaces are also in increasingly high demand.
“There has definitely been a shift towards lifestyle features over the last decade,” says Clarke, “and these can add significant value to a property if done well.”
“As for the number of rooms a home offers, more is only better up to a certain point. Very few buyers are looking for more than four bedrooms these days, and two or three bathrooms is usually considered adequate for everything but mid-to high-end luxury homes. Having dramatically more than this might appeal to some buyers, but won’t necessarily add proportional value to your home.”
Space and flow
Architectural trends, like any fashions, evolve and change with time, and keeping up to date with these as far as possible definitely impacts the value of your property.
“Currently, open-plan living, particular with regards to kitchens, dining rooms and entertainment areas, is a big factor in property value,” says Clarke. “Old fashioned homes with separate rooms and enclosed spaces don’t do too well when it’s time to sell.”
Technology affects all aspects of our lives, and our properties are far from exempt from this trend.
“Having a tech-friendly home is becoming more and more important,” says Clarke, “and simple things like built in charger points and thoughtful power outlet positioning can certainly increase the desirability – and price – of a home. Home automation tools, particularly for security systems, are also very popular, as are eco-friendly value-adds like solar heating or power generation and grey-water recycling systems.”
By assessing these five factors, one should get an idea of how favourably your home will be received on the market, but it’s always advisable to contact an experienced real estate agent for an accurate estimation of your property’s true value.