Time to upgrade?


Everyone knows about fixing, maintaining and upgrading the outside of your building (sectional title or Home Owners Association (HOA), but owners of sectional title units, especially where they are landlords that rent out their units seem to have forgotten about keeping the inside of their units up to date.

The first purpose built sectional title units – Pentagon Heights in Pentagon Park was the first new sectional title town house scheme, was built in 1981. Many of them of them are still the same inside as the day that they were built.

Buildings that were converted to sectional title were often building between 1960 and 1975, when there was a building boom in South Africa and most of them are exactly the same inside as when they were completed. All that has been changed could be carpets for tiles! In effect, many Sectional Title buildings are nearly 70 years old! Is it not time for a change?

Don’t you think that it would be easier to let or sell your flat or townhouse more quickly and for a better rental or price if your unit was more modern inside? Perhaps time has come for a new industry of buying, refurbishing and reselling older apartments?

When comparing existing buildings with newly built flats and townhouses one has to wonder at the attraction of these new properties. Yes they are situated in overall new suburbs, but the size of these units is much smaller than older flats and townhouses.

A typical two bedroom flat in a new complex is likely to be around 60sq m while many flats in older buildings exceed 80 or 90sq m. Older buildings are often better and more conveniently situated than new schemes that are often at a long distance from the centre of town.  Parking ratios may be better in newer developments but often there is space for extra parking to be developed in older buildings.

Lots of tenants and buyers are finding it very hard to find modernized spacious properties to let and buy.

What should a Landlord or Seller look at doing?  In reality if you are not going to make cosmetic changes then stripping the unit would be the best thing to do. Fifty-year-old cupboards look just like what they are – old fashioned.

Firstly, ensure that the purpose of the room is correct. Should the lounge still be the lounge or would it be better as a main bedroom? Can the bathroom be made en-suite, can an additional shower – WC be added to give a second bathroom. Prepare walls well, even change windows frames to modern double glazed windows. Install new bathroom and kitchen fittings, retile walls, bathrooms especially should be top to toe tiles. Put in connections for a washing machine.

Replace all cupboards in the bedroom and kitchen. Rewire your unit putting in extra plugs, at least double plugs but rather a three-pin plug plus three two pin plugs in one socket. Don’t be short of plugs – remember to move them from behind beds and furniture.

Change light fittings for modern power saving fittings. Add an internet connection and install a DSTV dish as part of your upgrade (in the lounge, bedrooms and kitchen!).

Sounds like an expensive exercise? Yes, it will cost a bit, but it is actually cheaper to do a strip and remodel than try to do little bits and pieces and the effect is entirely different.

At the end of the day, your units will sell in a flash and for a price that should not only get back the money that you have spent but add extra profit on top.