Selling or Letting? A Well-Maintained Home is Key to a Higher Asking Price

    Whether you're looking to sell or let out your home, a well-maintained property can mean the difference between getting your full asking price and being pressured to lower it.

    According to local sales data, asking prices are frequently negotiated down by 20%; avoid this loss by keeping your home in good condition.

    “Buyers are not always well informed about renovations or the costs associated with them. When they notice something wrong with the property, they will regularly want to deduct much more from your asking price than the cost of making the necessary repairs,” explains Samuel Seeff, Chairman of the Seeff Property Group, “it is not uncommon for a buyer to want to shave R50,000 to R100,000 off the asking price because, for example, the bathrooms are in poor condition.”

    In this article, we touch on some critical aspects of essential home maintenance that can ultimately ensure that your original asking price is "locked down", including:

    Exterior home maintenance
    Interior home maintenance
    Home security maintenance
    Off-the-grid maintenance

    Basic Home Maintenance

    Home maintenance can seem like a daunting venture for most, and it can be challenging to know where to start. Anyone in the real estate industry can tell you that the first step is to inspect the property and scrutinise it as if you are a potential buyer. Pay special attention to the exterior and interior of the house for a thorough maintenance treatment.

    Exterior Home Maintenance

    We all know the saying "don't judge a book by its cover"; however, this is not always the case when someone chooses a property to rent or buy. The house's exterior needs to reflect the value of its asking price - leaving potential buyers or letters little reason to negotiate a lower amount.

    Start from the outside and work your way in. What is the condition of the grounds? Are pathways cleared, leaves raked, plants watered regularly, hedges trimmed and lawn up-to-par? If there is a swimming pool, make sure it is in pristine condition and alluring. The same applies to a Jacuzzi: no cracks, no leaks, or filth.

    Inspect for chips or peeling paint to cover up, make sure walls are clean and gutters are clear and unclogged.

    Bins must be neat and orderly. The garage should be clean and well-organised. Nothing is more disappointing than a garage that is a "no-go" zone when prospective buyers or tenants come to see the house.

    Interior Home Maintenance

    First impressions can last the longest. Consider the “viewing” experience of the prospective buyer or tenants when they first walk into the home, put yourself in their shoes. Maintain the interior of your home to ensure that you get the most out of your investment.

    The house should also be cleaned entirely, particularly the bathrooms and kitchen and the closets, windows, and wall and floor tiles. Steam cleaning is required for carpets. Check that the curtain rods or rails are in good functioning condition.

    Bedrooms are relatively low maintenance in comparison to bathrooms and kitchens. For bedrooms, make sure that the cupboards and shelves are in working order, with no mould, dust or grime hiding in the corners.

    Bathrooms and kitchens can be more tricky. Although the same applies to the cupboards and shelving, special attention should be paid to the taps and basins - are they clean, is the water pressure adequate, and are there any leaking taps or blocked drains.

    Be careful of outdated features and finishes; they impact what buyers or tenants would be willing to pay. Consider upgrading obsolete parts. It is often as simple as retiling and changing handles and fittings.

    According to Seeff, you should always keep fittings, paint, and flooring neutral because tastes and points of view can differ enormously. Brightly coloured walls, tiles and detailed creative decorations may be off-putting to buyers and tenants who do not share your aesthetic tastes. When the buyer looks at it, they may think, "I'll have to paint and replace the tiles," and therefore demand a reduction in your asking price. View our Top 2022 interior decor colour trends for inspiration.

    Home Security Maintenance

    Home security is a concern for most South Africans. When walking into a potential home, feeling safe is at the top of the list, security measures should be optimised and tested regularly, including:
    • Fire sensors
    • Alarms
    • Electric fencing
    • Security doors
    • CCTV cameras
    • Burglar bars

    Other critical security measures that are often overlooked, but need to be maintained, involve ensuring that all doors are adequately installed and in full working order (if keys are missing, consider replacing the locks) and that the gates operate well (with extra keys and remotes available). Adequate lighting in the front and back gardens is always a bonus.

    Owners should ensure their property is adequately secured and that everything is in working order - good security is a strong selling point.

    Off-the-Grid Maintenance

    Increasingly, buyers and tenants are also looking for off-the-grid features, given the electricity and water challenges. Features such as water tanks and greywater usage and alternative heating such as solar are becoming high-demand features.

    When managing off-the-grid systems, ensure that everything is in complete working order, as promised to the potential buyer or tenant, and that they are well informed about how to operate these systems before moving in, including:

    • Generators
    • Solar panels
    • Batteries
    • Water sources

    For many, their home is their most significant investment, and maintaining it is a must. “Property buyers and tenants generally pay more for a well-maintained home. Keeping your property in good condition underscores the integrity of your asset so that it can appreciate in value,” says Samuel Seeff.

    With winter on our doorsteps, read more about what maintenance to focus on to ensure that your home is winter-ready.
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    Author: Seeff Head Office
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