By Veruska De Vita
Have you ever wondered if contracting an experienced architect when building a new home or making additions to your existing property is worth the investment? A study by The Modern House shows that a home that is well-designed can increase the sales price by 12%.
The study reveals that design is a differentiator for home buyers and they are prepared to pay more for a home that has a pleasing aesthetic look and feel and that accentuates their lifestyle. So yes, good design does command a higher premium.
Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa, is in agreement. “A well-planned design for your abode is well worth its weight in gold. Employing the services of a professional designer or an architect – with the experience relevant to your needs and lifestyle – will pay dividends in the long-term,” he explains.
Consumers are searching for tangible experiences and this spills over into their home space. “Not everyone has a good eye for spatial design so if they’re buying a home that has had the hand of a designer or an architect, this is a bonus for them as the finished product is basically on a plate. Most people don’t know where to start and what will look good, so if they walk into a show house with a strong aesthetic and spatial appeal, they’ll want it. The benefit is that the buyer doesn’t have to worry about doing it himself and risking that the end product is not quite what he had in mind.”
“Architecturally designed homes are most apparent in the high-end market, such as properties in Waterkloof (Pretoria) and in estates. It starts with one property owner and quickly becomes a trend, with others in the area also employing the services of a professional. Part of it is keeping up with the trendsetters, another is the fact that a well thought-out and beautifully planned home adds significantly to how space is maximised and utilized. This then creates an overall sense of comfort and visual appeal,” continues Hutchison.
According to architect Mark Gouws, the benefit of using an architect far outweighs the upfront investment. “An architect not only presents options that are tailormade to your taste and requirements, but also ensures a cost-effective project. An architect is knowledgeable on the best and most cost-efficient products available on the market, and knows how to plan within budget to ensure that the client gets the best value for money without skimping on quality fittings,” he says.
An architect will also make sure that plan approval with the authorities is a seamless process and includes getting the required compliance certificates. “It takes time, money and effort to get compliance certificates but it is well worth it down the line. Rather ensure that your home fits with the regulations instead of having water damage problems in years to come, for example.”
Architects also understand how smart design can save you money, and as a result, increase the value of your home. “Passive energy design can make significant savings on your heating and cooling costs. You shouldn’t have to switch on the air-conditioning in Summer because your house is too hot. A house should be designed in such a way that it is comfortable throughout the year. This is where passive design energy principles come into the picture. For example, a creeper planted in front of a window will prevent too much heat entering an area, whilst in winter the leaves fall and allow more sunlight through,” explains Gouws.
A healthy house means healthy inhabitants. A professional can help you design a home that considers both the health of the environment and the building. “Ventilation is extremely important. A house needs to act like a great big lung, so air needs to flow comfortably through it to ensure a constant circulation of clean air. The healthier the house, the healthier you are and the more you’ll get out of your investment,” says Gouws.
Building is a big investment, so it’s important to get the best value you can. Using an architect may seem like a luxury, but it can maximise your budget and open up new possibilities. Furthermore, in terms of lifestyle experience as well as sales price, these elements will only appreciate. “If you’re considering a renovation, making an addition or building a brand new home, getting a good architect and interior designer from the start will pay dividends later,” concludes Hutchison.