Reinvest in your house

The secret to a better deal on your house lies in reinvesting. Read on to find out how small but smart investments can get you manifold returns.

Rakesh Rai | Print Edition: Nov 29, 2007

“This ole house is gettin' feeble This old house is needin’ paint”
— Rosemary Clooney, “This Ole House”

Are they singing about your house? Considering that a house is the largest asset for most of us, it’s surprising how often its value is neglected. Most house owners still assume that slapping on a fresh coat of paint every couple of years and taking care of routine wear and tear will keep their property in prime condition. This thinking has worked well so far, given that a house has always been seen as a one-time investment, tenants have been docile and demand has always been strong. Allow us to open your eyes.


Selling your house in a rising market is always a good idea. But did you know you can make even more money simply by doing some basic home work? We spoke to 25 brokers across the country to see what buyers are willing to pay the most for.
>> Storage space and additional room is most sought after by buyers. You can recover over 100% of the cost of adding space.
>> The house should look neat and uncluttered and the paint must be fresh not peeling and faded. Again, you can recover much more than the cost of painting the walls.
>> A clean, airy kitchen with adequate storage is what most buyers look at next.
>> The condition of the bathrooms and wiring and electrical fittings are next on the list. These can actually tilt the buying decision.
>> Also important are plumbing and flooring, followed by overall woodwork, including the doors and windows.

Yes, the property market is hot. Yes, buyers and tenants are still willing to pay premium prices. But they are also getting more discerning. They are increasingly looking for smart homes, not necessarily larger spaces. They are no longer willing to be fobbed off with cosmetic changes alone. And they are willing to pay for innovative solutions and structures that are compatible with the modern urban lifestyle. Which puts the onus squarely on you, as an owner, to make your house attractive.

The good news is that home improvement need not be prohibitively expensive: there are cheap, innovative solutions easily available today. Even better, you can get a home improvement loan from a bank to finance this. You will end up with healthy returns on your investment, whether you are going to sell or rent your house. Even if you plan to live in it,refurbishing pays off in lower maintenance costs.

Ultimately, the point of reinvesting in your house is how much you stand to gain, as well as how much you avoid losing. A word of caution: do not spend more than the property is worth. Ahmedabad-based broker Ramesh Chauhan says: “If you have a Maruti 800 and spend Rs 1 lakh on its accessories, that does not increase the value by Rs 1 lakh. It just outprices your car from the market. The same holds true for houses.”

If you’re renting it out, you’ll find that you can more than make up the cost of constant improvement over five years or so. If you’re selling it as a smartly designed house, you can see an immediate difference in the price you get compared with the lower price of neighbouring traditional houses.

Read on and we’ll tell you how you can make your most valuable asset even more valuable by one or a combination of the following:

» Do up the kitchen and get 140% back
» Get 133% back by adding a room
» Recover 130% on painting costs
» Get 111% back on bathroom renovation costs
» Good flooring can give 120% returns
» Get 130% back when you increase storage space
» Recover 100% of the cost of electricals


Next page: Do up the kitchen and get 140% back 


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