Owning it


Keeping up with the upkeep of your home is one way to cash in on a future sale

Keeping up with the upkeep of your home is one way to cash in on a future sale

Maintaining your home provides benefits beyond aesthetics, and a little bit of loving care early on may save you significantly in the long-term, when you re-sell.

If you're on the hunt for a home loan, you should build home maintenance into your budget. Many people aren't aware of this, but there's actually a clause in most mortgage agreements that compels the borrower (that's you!) to keep the property in good condition — presumably so that the lender (the bank) can be assured that the asset (the property) will retain its value.

And we're seeing banks turn down home loan applications because potential buyers couldn't prove that they had sufficient disposable income to maintain the property and to cover those ongoing costs, like rates and levies, on top of their monthly bond repayment.

However, there's also a big advantage for homeowners themselves in being mindful of maintenance from the time they first move in: they'll be able to get the best possible price for their property, if or when they decide to sell it. Whatever the state of the residential property market, it's no secret that the best-kept homes not only sell faster but at higher prices. So, it definitely pays to make maintenance a must, through steady, regular investments of time, energy and cash.

And in the current economy — where the reality of retrenchment may affect your ability to keep up your home loan repayments, and may require a quick sale in order to 'cut your losses' and keep your credit record intact — it makes sense to keep up with the upkeep of your home. The last thing you want is years and years of neglect, which is either going to cost you a fortune to fix, or which might lower the selling price of your home.

BetterBond CEO Carl Coetzee is keen on homeowners keeping up: "If you've kept your property in good condition, it will be that much easier to add that extra show house 'gloss' to attract plenty of potential buyers and secure a satisfactory sale."

Coetzee believes that while homeowners are often reluctant to spend money on a property they're about to sell, it's definitely worth making that extra effort to spruce up their home so that it compares favourably with other listings in the area. "Most prospective buyers want a home that clearly does not require too much extra work or expense — and they're willing to pay more for that." So, a little bit of DIY every month will deliver dividends in the long run when you're ready to sell.

A tip for keeping track of the upkeep? Keep a record of all the improvements you make and all the repairs you undertake during your stay in your home. This log of 'home-love' — and evidence of regular upkeep — is bound to impress and attract potential buyers.

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