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Invest in sprucing up older properties

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6 mins read

Homes that are 20-40 years old might need improvements to meet today’s living standards, especially those built to the owner’s specifications and likes.

This is particularly important if you plan to sell immediately or in the near future.

As circumstances stand with house prices being very high, it is worth considering improving any age, but functional home, rather than disposing of it or continuing to live in it.

Such improvements are necessary nowadays and in great demand, so contractors have little time to handle such work, often considered “too small”.

Nowadays, houses are like cars – each year a new model of the same make comes into the market, but with all sorts of added gadgets.

Most houses had a flat concrete roof in the past, with steel rods and half-finished columns sticking out, together with solar heaters and water tanks.

At the time, a family home was built to add the children’s floor on top.

Nowadays, this concept is no longer liked by the children who move away, leaving the house with an ugly image on top.

To improve the image of your house:

  • Add a timber frame and tiled roof to hide the solar panels, water tanks, a/c generators.
  • Check the electrical and mechanical installation if they are working and not damaged by time. If need be, the replace water tanks and a/c pipes to be installed externally with tracking (not the ideal solution, but at least they will protect and extend the life of the equipment) and adopt a 3-phase electricity supply for bigger loads.
  • Try to hide the a/c units externally (rooftop or in framed enclosures) and place either floor or ceiling mounted a/c units, preferably within a false ceiling.
  • Replace your single-glass windows with double glazing and add insect screens.
  • Place ceiling fans (preferably with light) in the bedrooms, kitchen and living areas, depending on the house’s structure.
  • If the floor tiles are old and unattractive, place a high-quality plastic cover that will not increase the floor height, and if you have carpets in the bedrooms, replace them with laminated parquet.
  • Security was not an issue a long time ago, so for now, place light sensors that cost next to nothing, with a smart security system allowing remote use and monitoring on your mobile.
  • If you have a driveway leading to the garage, install an electric gate – this is a major attraction when reselling.
  • Replace the kitchen fittings with modern and modular ones, known as the ‘Italian type’, and security doors at all the ready-made entrances nowadays, and you don’t need to chase a carpenter.
  • If your garden needs improvement or a drastic makeover, aim for trees requiring little water, such as pines, olive, carob trees and avoid the decorative ones.
  • If the house is two stories or more, commission a study by experts to see if you can place a lift or add a chair rail to the staircase.
  • Replace any rotten wood in the house since it can develop into a more serious case of woodworm, which will eat anything.
  • Ensure that the bedrooms have a modern shower unit, replacing the old baths with sliding glass doors.
  • Install an intercom connected with the gate and entrance, preferably with a camera.
  • With the growing need for privacy, make sure you have a fence all around.
  • Avoid placing unrelated stone cladding or tiling on the outside walls (very kitsch) unless it is within a village with traditional homes nearby. Using Troodos stone in towns gives the worst look. It is simply out of place.
  • If you have space, try to convert the bedrooms to include a private shower and WC – a major asset and costly, but well worth it.

The improvement cost for these changes for, say, a 200 sq.m. house should be no more than €50,000 depending on the house’s current condition.

This may seem a large amount, but you must compare that to the property’s increased value, which will become several times more.

Should you decide to sell your property, the first impression is of prime importance.

So, if your 200 sq.m. house is worth, say €450,000, that could go up much more with the improvements you make, increasing the sale price to even €550,000 or more.

Food for thought for all of us who have older properties.