When Andrew Winter from Selling Houses Australia first saw the house in Queensland’s Deception Bay, his heart sank.
“It wasn’t only the exterior that was atrocious,” he tells lifestyle.com.au, “It was one of the worst layouts I have ever seen, and I’ve seen a few!”
Homeowner Narelle had lived in the four-bedroomed house in the sleepy Queensland town for 35 years but was desperate to sell so she could move closer to her daughter and grandchildren on the Gold Coast.
But having three bedrooms and a kitchen upstairs plus a mystery room downstairs that remained locked to prospective buyers, meant that the house was nowhere near close to being sold for the original $369,000 asking price.
“From a marketing perspective having any locked rooms during inspections is just a no-no,” says Andrew.
“I know that Shane, Narelle’s son, locked that room because he had a very expensive whiskey collection in there and he was worried bottles would go missing,” he adds.
“But you can’t sell a house like that. If the door had even been ajar, you could have popped your head around and had quick look but keeping puts people off immediately. They don't know what they're buying."
"Plus, the whole layout just felt wrong. Mum lived upstairs but she had no lounge area while Shane had downstairs filled with whiskey and a huge bar."
While Andrew was delighted that Narelle sold the house for $372,103, he still believes she could have got a lot more for the property, if she had invested more money in Shaynna and Charlie’s renovation.
“They both came up with exactly the right ideas,” he says of a meeting the trio had with Narelle at a café.
“But it would have meant more of an investment from her and she just couldn’t find the money – something that happens to us all.
"However, if the kitchen had been downstairs we could have have earned that investment back in spades and that was the sad thing."
In fact Andrew was so convinced that there would be no successful sale, he had already come to terms with it.
“Silently, I had already ticked it off in my head as a house we weren’t going to sell," he reveals. "I was ready to walk away and clearly so were Shaynna and Charlie!"
He continues, "They did the best they could but it was all smoke and mirrors - there was no floor plan change to really attract buyers.
"Both Shaynna and Charlie just did the bare necessities and it was a miracle Narelle sold it for the price she did. An absolute miracle! I couldn't believe it!"
Andrew, who's hosted every episode of Selling Houses Australia over 13 years, thinks the whole reason the house actually sold was because a savvy buyer realised the full potential of the home and had the money to spend.
"I can usually predict what a house will sell for and I am often pretty accurate but this price was a shock to me.
"I think the buyer saw the potential in such a large block with a house they could really make a mark on. Our renovation helped the buyer see the potential to renovate. We didn't solve the problem."
But he thinks this is exactly what makes the show so successful. "We all love the ups and downs of Selling Houses Australia," he says. "And although we didn't do what we felt the house needed, we did our job and Narelle got a great price."
Also on Selling Houses Australia:
Watch season 13 of Selling Houses Australia exclusively on LifeStyle each Wednesday at 8.30pm AEDT and streaming new episodes every week.