13 things that can hurt the value of your property

 ·15 Jul 2023

Due to the stagnant economy and higher interest rates, there are fewer buyers in the property market and transactions are taking longer to conclude while stock numbers trend upward, which means it’s essential for sellers to do everything they can to give their homes the best chance of selling.

While we are not yet in a buyer’s market in the traditional sense, the market is increasingly favouring buyers to some extent, meaning for sellers, there are buyers out there looking for their next home.

According to the chairman of the Seeff Property Group, Samuel Seeff, two key elements now favour buyers in the market.

The first, he says, is the continued favourable mortgage lending conditions which are still at the best level since the 2007/8 period when the National Credit Act was introduced. The prime rate at 11.75%, while notably higher compared to the last two years, is still below the average of 15%-16%, he added.

Bank data further shows that buyers are still able to find higher loan-to-value mortgages, with first-time buyers still able to secure 100% bonds.

Qualifying buyers can now even secure a slightly better interest rate as the banks continue competing for business in the home loans market. This is something we have not seen since pre-2007/8, he said.

A second important motivator for buyers is flat price growth. House price growth has trended consistently downwards for the last 18 months.

According to the FNB House Price Index, annual growth averaged 2.7% in April while, a year ago, it averaged 4% during April 2022.

Considering this, the CEO of Harcourts South Africa, Richard Gray, offered up 13 controllable factors that can decrease a property’s value.

“Many homeowners are unaware of the many controllable factors that can adversely affect the price of their property. “By shedding light on these, we aim to help them make the most out of their investment,” said Gray.

Gray’s top 13 factors that can decrease a property’s value are listed below.

  • Excessive Clutter and Poor Presentation – Homes that are cluttered and poorly presented can give off a negative impression, reducing their market appeal. Homeowners should consider decluttering and even engaging a professional home stager to enhance the visual appeal of their property.
  • Unconventional Decor and Colours – Bright and quirky interiors may not resonate with all buyers. It’s prudent to stick with universally appealing, neutral colour schemes that can serve as a blank canvas for potential buyers.
  • Poor Curb Appeal – The exterior of a home creates the first impression. Spending time on your home’s exterior, from the paintwork to the garden, can significantly enhance its curb appeal.
  • Unpleasant Odours – Unpleasant odours can be a turn-off for potential buyers. Keeping a home fresh and odour-free is key. This includes attending to any plumbing issues that might cause unpleasant smells.
  • Substandard DIY Renovations – Poorly executed DIY renovations can significantly impact a property’s value. Professional services should be employed for complex tasks, particularly those involving gas, electricity, or plumbing.
  • Unauthorised Home Improvements – Building without necessary approvals can lead to serious issues during the selling process. It’s crucial to seek all required permissions before making significant changes to a property.
  • General State of Disrepair – Minor maintenance issues can accumulate over time and reduce a home’s value. Before listing, homeowners should address any minor repairs or updates needed.
  • Outdated Kitchens and Bathrooms – Kitchens and bathrooms are often key selling points for a house. If they are outdated, it may be worth considering updates, even if they’re minor ones, to enhance the property’s appeal.
  • Inappropriate Agent Selection – Choosing a real estate agent should involve thorough research. The right agent will provide constructive advice throughout the process, helping to maximise the selling price of the property.
  • Poor Energy Efficiency – With growing consciousness about environmental impact, properties with poor energy efficiency can deter buyers. Improving energy efficiency, such as installing energy-saving appliances and insulation, can positively influence a home’s value.
  • Inadequate Security – In South Africa, security is a significant factor for buyers. Investing in robust security measures can not only increase peace of mind but also the perceived value of the property.
  • High Crime Rate in the Area – This is self-explanatory. If your property is located in an area with a high crime rate, potential buyers could be deterred, leading to a lower value for your property.
  • Poor Insulation – Homes with poor insulation may have higher utility costs, which can be a turnoff for potential buyers. Proper insulation helps keep a house warm in the winter and cool in the summer, thus reducing energy costs and making the home more comfortable to live in.

Read: What a R5 million apartment looks like in South Africa vs Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Portugal

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