With the supply of properties for sale at a high, home and land owners are looking for ways to make their investments more attractive to buyers and renters.
To realise the full potential of a property, a developer or investor has to boost its appeal through upgrades and renovations.
Paul Mutahi of UDesign Architects and Interior Designers says that one can start by refurbishing old areas and features.
In giving it a modern look, the architect says that one can opt to completely redo the property by bringing down the old one and building it back up with a more modern design and materials. However, be cautious and work on a fixed budget.
Mr Mutahi adds that one can do finishes to unfinished parts to add more living space to the property or do extensions such basements, building a deck or converting an attic as bigger homes usually lead to higher values, and that’s something buyers tend to notice.
“Expand the house by adding a servant quarter, garage or if it was a bungalow, turn it into a storey building. However, I always advise clients to have a fixed budget in mind so that the work does not end up getting doing the opposite of the desired outcome.”
The other option is to take down a wall between a kitchen and a living room, re-rearranging a kitchen to create more usable space, adding a bathroom to the master bedroom or swapping the location of two rooms, such as an office and a dining room to create a better flow in the home.
In addition, take space from one room and add it to another room, for example, reducing an oversized living room to create a kitchen storeroom.
Or even change the floor plan. Upgrade the floor by adding or enhancing existing hardwood or tiles. “Also, brush the stones used to build the property or paint it afresh to give it a new and attractive look. Painting can a breathe new life to a house,” he says.
Dennis Kyellenge, a property consultant working with IFL Consult, says that creating more space in a house will eventually improve its value.
He advises that one can choose to mount storage items like cabinets rather than lining them on the floor to create more space.
“Adding space to a property could also be by reworking or remodelling the interiors, hire an interior designer to help you de-clutter the spaces,” he says.
You can also change the layout of a room or add new items like lighting fixtures.
“Homeowners should be creative by coming up with artistic features that will enhance the value of a house,” he says.
Mr Kyellenge also advises that the property should always be clean inside and outside. Unkempt homes or lawns turn off buyers or renters.
On his part, Simon Ng’ang’a, the managing director of Granite Capital Kenya, a real estate agent — agrees that there are many add-ons that can greatly improve the value of a house.
He says growing flowers in the front and backyard, having deftly trimmed lawns and ornamental trees is a definite boost.
The realtor also explains that having top notch security is a feature that makes an investment more appealing than others.
Ensure the property’s fence is secure and modern. In addition, install security features like CCTV, back up security, sensors, among others.
“Also, make the house more family-friendly. For example, ensure that the house is not on more than two levels, is handicap accessibility, and well insulated for children,” he advises.
Ugly, old roofs put off investors. Roof repair works seem very expensive to potential buyers, so carry out simple repairs and repainting before showing the property to a buyer or renter.
“Repair broken pipes. Bubbled walls give buyers the feel that the house has drainage issues.”
If it is land, Mr Ng’ang’a says the best way to increase value to it is by adding greenery, murram road or cabro as well as ensuring that essential services such as water, sewer lines and electricity are available.
“A landowner should also consider fencing the land. For most of these add-ons, the sale benefits easily surpass the cost of improving the land. For example, if one has a big piece of land, adding a man-made pond or lake would almost double the asking price of that land.”