Tips and Guides

Renovation 101: Increase your Home's Property Value

Looking to sell? Here are tips on how to improve your space and make it attractive to future buyers

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When real estate appraisers compute the value of a property, they usually consider three major factors: location, accessibility, and the condition of the structure itself. If it was made by a reputable developer, and designed by a well-known architect or interior designer, it also gets plus points. These are things to keep in mind when investing in a property. If you have an existing house, you can raise the resale value of your property by making improvements to the structure.

 Read the original article ("Smart Improvements!") in the September 2008  issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to summitnewsstand.com.ph/real-living for more details.  

Enhance natural light and ventilation

"As much as possible, dapat maganda 'yung pasok ng natural light," says broker and appraiser Lambert Modina, who reveals that this likewise adds value. This is important now that people are becoming more energy conscious, and want to save on lighting and cooling costs. Adding windows or enlarging existing ones can let in natural light and let the breeze flow. This is also an opportunity to upgrade the appearance of existing windows.

"Sliding windows are now common, and better looking than the old-style ones with grills. But you have to pattern the windows with the interior or exterior style you would like to achieve," real estate broker Grace Salazar-Misa adds. 

If you are selling the house as is (meaning with its furniture and accessories), little things like the type of curtains can also make a difference. "Dapat 'yung nakakadagdag ng aliwalas, at hindi nakakadilim," says broker and appraiser Rommel Gonzales. It's rare, after all, for buyers to want a gloomy-looking house. 

Repaint the house

Painting is simple and easy to do, and it can make an old house look new. Rommel Gonzales says it can also mask a building's flaws. "Pag may mga bulok, bukbok, at butas, dahil sa masilya at pintura, hindi na makikita. Marami kang maitatago."

Even if it's just repainting, it may be worth consulting with a designer on the color scheme. Rommel adds that even inexpensive materials can do the trick, as long as the color combination is appealing. 

Civil engineer and appraiser Alfren Gabat believes that repainting can add as much as 20 to 25 percent more to the resale value.

Upgrade the flooring and ceiling finishes

Flooring is one of the main selling factors of a house, says Grace. She shares that this is shows how the house has been taken care of through the years. If the flooring is dilapidated, then it should be replaced.

"Vinyl tiles are now out," Grace says. "They can be replaced by much better quality wood laminated planks. Builders often use these rather than costly real woods since they are easier to install and maintain."

But she also says that in some old houses, it's better to maintain or restore its old features. "For example, old houses usually have wood parquet flooring that could still be refurbished." The ceiling can be improved by adding cornices, cove lighting, or corner pinlights, and replacing existing fixtures. But what really matters, says Rommel, is that the upgrades in interior finishes mesh together well. 

Add a multi-functional space

Increasing the functional area of the house adds to its value, especially if the space you add is adaptable to various uses. Lambert cites adding a paved semi-outdoor patio as an example. He recounts how a sibling purchased an old house and cemented over the lawn. "Double purpose ito: playground ng mga bata, saka parking. Isa 'yun sa mga nagpataas ng value ng property niya nung for sale na."

On the other hand, you can enhance the function of open plan areas by zoning them for specific uses. Grace gives an example: "An open layout ground floor may lack privacy for the dining area. You can have a divider which could turn it into a formal dining area or a den. Or your attic could be divided into a small game room on one side and family area on the other. "

Put in an extra bathroom

Grace says that if you have ample space on the ground floor, make space for a powder room so visitors don't have to go into the bedrooms. Or you can add a bathroom for the bedrooms.

Make sure that the positioning of bathrooms makes sense, says Lambert. If it's in an awkward place, or generates bad feng shui, it won't add to the value. Also, "You don't want to make the floor plan too crowded," Grace cautions. You can also upgrade existing bathrooms by replacing floor and wall tiles, and bathroom fixtures.

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