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Overcapitalisation – Why Cost Does Not Equal Value?

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If you are unaware of the real estate terminologies then you might be wondering what overcapitalisation is. Basically, overcapitalisation refers to an overspend on construction or renovation costs which means the actual cost of a construction/renovation of the property is superior to its real market value. Overcapitalisation is also considered as asset inflation. Confused? Let’s make it simple. For instance, Mr A is planning to renovate his house by remodeling the bathrooms, basement and kitchen; upgrading the living room and bedrooms; adding a porch and swimming pool; installing vinyl siding, fencing front entrance and extending the garden. Mr A decides to use upper end expensive quality materials in the renovation. While doing so, he forgot to consider the real market value and quality of the houses in this area, which was lower than the value of his upgraded house. This is overcapitalisation.

Now the next question is what should be done to avoid overcapitalisation? Simple! When renovators and home builders are planning for home improvements, they must keep in mind some factors which have greater impact on the overall value of the property. For instance, evaluating neighbour’s housing style, demographics of neighbourhood, streetscape, design trends of neighbouring property, and recent resale prices of the homes in the area.

Although generally improvements and renovations add value to a property, it will be wrong to say they will ALWAYS increase its value. The reason is that if renovations and improvements are overdone, without keeping in view the real value of the area where your property is located, you might be overcapitalising your property. This means that your property cost will not equal its market value.

Hence, it is rational that a renovator or home builder is aware of overcapitalisation, and increases the value of the property only to an extent that it can cope up with. Remember, you’ve got to be really careful about overcapitalisation when upgrading or renovating your property.

Often overcapilisation occurs when people are not rational and business minded in their approach. Typically home owners will spend more on fixtures and fittings with the aim to live in the property.

Some cultures often prefer to live in larger homes as status symbols and will opt to spend more on improvements than is the norm in the locaility.

However if you are an investor or builder, it is important to get the mix right as this will result in higher profit margins. Getting it wrong can often mean longer selling periods and discounted prices. Do your due diligence to avoid disappointment.