Buying a Renovator in Brisbane – The Difference Between Cosmetics and Renovations
The process of a home sale is to provide the seller with the tools to attract the perfect buyer and for the buyer to have a clear picture of what to expect when they get to the property. Simple, really! Or is it?
My obligation is to be accurate with my portrayal of the home. A 2 bedroom apartment tucked into a backstreet with no view will be incredibly disappointing if the description includes ‘city glimpses’ when in fact you get that glimpse when you swing down an neighboring street! Or it’s described as fully renovated when all that’s been done is the toilet seat has been replaced and lick of paint has been thrown around.
As a real estate agent I aim to assist both the buyer and seller with the way the property description is handled. I am creating an expectation for the buyer who is buying a renovator in Brisbane and who has seen the photos on line. They have worked out if the location is a consideration for them given the wonders of google maps and satellite imaging and they are about to conduct their ‘second’ actual inspection by visiting the property.
Part of the property description needs to address what is the reality on site, the condition of the property, whether it is delivered in the copy of the marketing or verbally at the property by the agent. This is where perceptions sometimes cause grief for buyers, especially those newish to the market place.
When an agent uses the term ‘renovator’, it is important to note that the house is likely in need of some maintenance or repair. These types of homes can range from houses and units that are a little bit run down, as proper maintenance has not been applied over a number of years, to others that will need full, structural work to get them up to scratch.
Given this, a home that is listed as a renovator should be priced accordingly as it stands to reason that one that needs no work would be for sale at a higher price than one that needs painting in and out and other repairs. The difference might be less noticeable with strong market conditions (as they are currently) where the underlying land value dominates pricing.
However, this discussion is about ‘renovators’.
Some buyers will consider making a substantially lower offer than the listing price, when they see that work is required without realising that it may have already been accounted for in the pricing. However this tactic may not work in practice for buyers in a competitive market. This is because, like savvy buyers, a good real estate agent will know what is currently listed on the market and price the home based on its particular attributes as compared to the attributes of other properties listed for sale, while taking into consideration the listed property also requires some work.
It is wise to consider the real reason you choose to have a building and pest inspection completed. The report is designed to give you, the buyer, an extremely detailed review of the property and outline any actual and potential issues with the house. Keep some perspective around it, though. The writer of the report is protecting themselves also by being super vigilant and they may or may not have the skills to deliver the information in a practical, easily understood manner for the ‘non-builder’ in you. These reports need to be read in an objective way to ascertain whether the home is subject to any other hidden faults that have not been addressed by the agent.
In my experience, my sellers and I agree to point out tactfully the glaringly obvious and whatever other things that my experience tells me may come up in the report. However, even declaring apparent issues that have determined the renovator status of the property can throw a buyer who’s interpretation of ‘a renovator’ is at odds with what they see.
One of the common issues that I find is in houses built before 1985. It is most likely these homes will contain asbestos. Quite simply, if you are buying an old house, expect that it will have asbestos. However, it’s not the end of the world. While this can look quite daunting on a building report, it is important to speak to the report writer to understand how this will impact the livability of the home in the future. In most cases, asbestos is not an issue unless it is damaged and broken or has to be removed. Even removal is handled with ease theses days by the experts.
As a buyer it is important to consider any work that is to be invested into a home purchase – however it is also important to ensure expectations are realistic and are in line with the reality of the listing price and the age of the home. And its location!
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