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real leadIf you are looking to buy a house, whether live in or rent, keep in mind the following factors, because they can affect the value by approximately 20 to 35%.

Bad infrastructure. Open drainage or waste water, high-tension wires, landfills and low-income, temporary housing areas in proximity of a house decrease the value by approximately 20%.

Location. If you are considering buying in a recently developed area, it is worthwhile finding out which public amenities are planned and choose a house that is located at least five to 10 kilometres away from them. This is because the presence of commercial areas, schools, shopping centres, public recreational areas and primary thoroughfares decrease house value by approximately 35%, due to the resultant traffic congestion and noise pollution. Similarly, houses in areas that are poorly lit, isolated or far from public transport hubs are valued approximately 35% lower than those that are closer.

The neighbourhood. House value and demand are greatly affected by the neighbourhood they are located in. A secure, neat and green neighbourhood is highly desirable. If all the houses on the street are well kept and have curb appeal, the house value increases by approximately 25%.

The house itself. The value of houses with well-maintained exteriors (be it the gate, driveway or façade) as well as interiors, (including fixtures, fittings, electrical wiring and plumbing), is approximately 20% higher than those that are not as well kept.

High-end features. While expensive features such as a swimming pool, fountains or elaborate, landscaped gardens may seem impressive, their presence decreases the value of a house by approximately 20% because they are difficult to maintain.

– Uzma Nawaz

First published in the Real Estate Section of the Dawn National Weekend Advertiser on November 24, 2013