Cluttered, grimy or just plain run-down homes are sometimes a savvy opportunity to bag a property bargain. Gimme an ugly duckling any day. Homes that haven’t been professionally styled or smell like cat litter will drive most of your competition away. My own best property purchase happened exactly that way, I watched potential buyers literally drive away without even getting out of the car. But inside (under a lot of junk) I found a real estate gem which made an easy peasy 35% profit just two years later with an inexpensive revamp. Although an unkept home may indicate a long-term lack of essential maintenance thus hefty repair bills, a real estate professional like myself with an expert eye for a bargain knows this is not always the case. Many times, homes that are not marketed in their most positive light are just forced sales like deceased estates or belong to vendors in financial distress. Or maybe they’re just badly tenanted and the vendor cannot be convinced to go without a rental income for the four week campaign and six week settlement period regardless of their agent’s strong recommendation. And why do agent’s recommend a quickie makeover and designer styling? Because it sells! Inexperienced buyers are easily swooned by pretty packaging. Amateur me learned this lesson the expensive way.
So here are some tips that might help you spot that elusive diamond in the rough:
Will a simple reconfiguration of the floor plan add value? Can you optimise natural light with the clever placement of windows or skylights? Is there scope for dual rental income to help you pay for renovations?
2. Good bones or basic structure
The properties to be wary of are those with huge cracks, serious roof leaks and severe rising damp. In Sydney’s Inner West rising damp is fairly prevalent but there are cases where it can be easily maintained or even rectified. I always advise my clients to attain a reputable building report first and then arrange quotes for repairs so I can then make an offer accordingly.
3. Well-proportioned rooms
Professionally styled bedrooms are usually fitted with double beds to make rooms feel larger and living rooms are curated with impractical lounges and teeny tiny dining tables. Carefully consult the floor plan or bring your tape measure and work out if you can comfortably make the space work for your lifestyle.
4. Good infrastructure
Your property inspector should check the electrical system, plumbing and any gas installations. Once again, everything is fixable, but best to know what expenses you’re up for to assess what you can and can’t afford. Knowing the cost of repairs is great ammunition for negotiating a better price.
5. Poorly marketed properties
Badly written copy and poor quality photos will definitely affect how many potential buyers show up on inspection day. And don’t get me started on out-of-area agents…
Most importantly, keep an open mind! A willingness to renew the shine of a less-than-perfect home is the ultimate way to uncover a property gem. For more info or a no-obligation meeting, please contact me.
Gaby Ferreyra, Scout Property
Inner West Buyer’s Agent & Licensed Real Estate Agent
0424 618 117 | firstname.lastname@example.org