PROPERTY NEWS - Few properties in South Africa can compete with the excellent price and rental growth experienced by top security estates. According to Schalk van der Merwe, franchisee of the Rawson Properties Helderberg Group, the techniques used to achieve this phenomenal growth are actually surprisingly simple.
Here are four of the most common ones you’ll find in South Africa’s leading housing estates.
1. Picking a uniform colour palette
Not everyone has the same style and taste when it comes to colour choices, which is why all the best security and cluster developments have strict colour palette guidelines.
“Individuality can be charming on small scale,” says Van der Merwe, “but to create the cohesive, elegant atmosphere that people love in estates, uniformity is an essential tool. A mish-mash of multi-coloured homes – or even mismatched shades of the same colour – will never have the same visual impact as a well-thought-out colour scheme.”
Van der Merwe says most estates receive a suggested colour palette from their original architect or designer, comprising a selection of neutral shades that complement each other as well as the development’s architectural style and ambiance. Bigger estates often have several colour combinations available, while small estates typically allow only one or two.
“It’s in everyone’s best interest to stick to the colour guidelines since they help keep the estate looking its best, which boosts property values and desirability as a rental location. If anyone does break the rules, there are usually penalties imposed by the Home Owners Association,” says van der Merwe.
2. Enforcing architectural cohesion
Colours aren’t the only things that need to be cohesive for an estate to maintain its value and growth potential.
“A lot of thought goes into planning the architectural features and fittings in security estates and community schemes,” says van der Merwe. “These are a huge part of a development’s aesthetic appeal and must be regulated to maintain the desirability of all its homes.”
To protect against inappropriate updates that could decrease values or cause neighbour disputes, van der Merwe says most top estates enforce a list of dos and don’ts for all visible, exterior elements.
- Window and door styles and colours
- Paving, roof and burglar-bar specifications
- Satellite dish and air-conditioning outlet locations
- Colour and visibility of water tanks
- Carport and/or veranda limitations
- Restrictions on tool sheds, gazebos and other add-ons
- Letter box and house number styles and locations
Implementing landscaping policies
Just like architecture, landscaping plays an important role in the overall style and ambiance of a development. Van der Merwe says top estates generally have extensive guidelines for property owners and tenants on what their responsibilities around garden maintenance and design involve.
“It’s quite popular these days to encourage water-wise and indigenous gardens, not only because they’re eco-friendly, but also because they tend to be easier to keep in HOA-approved condition,” he says.
“No matter what landscaping style your development chooses, it’s vital that front gardens, at the very least, are kept in pristine condition. Curb-appeal has a huge impact on property values, not just for community schemes and cluster homes, but freehold properties as well.”
Continuously updating and improving security
It’s not surprising that great security adds value to estates. Current trends include a combination of access control, CCTV, electric fencing, security lights and outdoor alarm beams, but van der Merwe says the best estates never stop looking for improvements.
“There are constant advances being made in the home security space, and developments that stay on top of these trends reap the rewards in resale and rental values,” he says. “The trick is to not get complacent – safety should be a priority not an afterthought. Adding regular security assessments to a development’s basic maintenance schedule is always a good idea and a great way to maintain its desirability.”
By putting the right regulations in place, particularly in these four areas, van der Merwe says owners of properties in security estates can almost guarantee a great return on investment.
“It’s not just about rules and infrastructure,” he says, “it’s about lifestyle and community – creating a place that’s as liveable as it is attractive. It can be difficult to get everyone on the same page at times, but the results really do speak for themselves. Homeowners who want to maximise their property values would do well to support their HOA to the best of their ability, and ensure their tenants do the same.”
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