Homes built 30-40 years ago need improvements to meet today’s standard of living, especially those ‘designer’ houses built to the owner’s specifications.
This is particularly important if you want to sell it immediately or soon.
Regrettably, houses nowadays are like a car, where a new model of the same make comes into the market each year, but with added gadgets, more often requiring upgrades and maintenance.
In the past, most houses had a flat concrete roof, which, nowadays, is attractive. Still, we had a flat roof with rods sticking out and the ever objectionable solar heaters, water tanks and satellite dishes showing.
The family home was erected to build their children’s apartment on top.
Nowadays, this “on top of children’s home” concept is not liked by the children, leaving the home with a negative appearance.
If you want to improve your house and its appearance, install a timber frame/tiled roof to cover the solar panels, water tanks, and A/C units so they can be hidden from view.
Check the electrical and mechanical installation if they are working and not damaged by time.
If need be, replace the water and a/c piping externally with tracking (not the best solution, but at least this will extend their life).
Try to hide the a/c units externally (rooftop or in enclosures) and place either floor or ceiling-mounted a/c units, preferably within a false ceiling.
Replace your single glazing windows with double glazing and place fly screens. You’d be amazed how such a change will save on your energy bills in the long term.
Place those pretty-looking ceiling fans (with light) in the bedrooms, kitchen and living areas.
If the floor tiles are old and no longer attractive, replace them with a thin plastic cover that will not add height to the floor, and if you have carpets in the bedrooms, replace them with laminated parquet.
Security systems are also needed.
You can place light sensors (that cost next to nothing) with the latest security system, which operates remotely, even from your mobile.
If you have a drive to the garage, place an electric gate.
This can feature as a major attraction when selling.
Replace the kitchen fittings with the new, stylish Italian designs, usually most attractive, as well as a security door for the main entrance (ready-made), and the others place modern double locks.
If your garden needs improvement, aim for trees requiring little water – e.g., pines, olive, and carob trees and avoid the decorative ones.
If it is a two-storey-plus house, conduct a survey if you can place an internal lift (or even the staircase chair) – a major issue for the over 60s and the elderly, whose children have left home and are no longer interested in cohabiting with the parents.
Replace the rotten wood since it can develop a more serious woodworm or other bugs.
Ensure the bedrooms have a modern shower unit with glass sliding doors.
The latter will save space, while a walk-in shower can replace the climb-in bathtub.
On the security issue mentioned earlier, consider an intercom connected with the gate and camera when installing.
With the increasing requirement for privacy, ensure you have a fence all around, or at least as high as possible.
Then, either build an easy-to-maintain hedge.
Avoid placing stone cladding on the walls (which is very kitsch) unless it is within a village with traditional homes.
However, this is sometimes done to prevent dampness, so try and make it as tasteful as possible, and don’t turn your home into an eye-sore.
If you have the space, try to convert the bedrooms into a private shower unit and toilet.
This is a major asset and costly, but it could be well worth it in the long term.
The cost that I estimate for, say, a 200 sq.m. house is no more than €50,000, depending on the state of the house.
This may be a large amount, but then one must compare the property’s increased value, which will be several times more.
The first impression and image are important if you decide to sell your property.
If your average 200 sq.m house is worth about €350,000, I believe that will be much higher with the improvements you make, which might increase the price tag to €450,000 or more for ease of sale.
As property prices increase, so do the older homes, which are now in increased demand.
The difference between a new and an older but improved home is considerable in favour of the renovated unit.
Food for thought for all of us who have older properties.
Antonis Loizou – Real Estate Valuer, Estate Agent & Property Consultant