Our Property Expert and star of Selling Houses Australia, Andrew Winter, provides his expert advice about what to do with a half-renovated home.
One of the most common emails I receive, or questions I get asked, is about what to do with an unfinished or half renovated home - or an older home ‘in need of’, a home clean and tidy but untouched decoratively for the last 20 years. Typical concerns are: Where should you start, what should the main focus be, how much should you spend and will it guarantee extra value?
The Bad News
Apart from leaving/ignoring secondary rooms and areas - ie. second bathrooms in 2 bathroom homes, bedrooms 3 or 4 or both in 3+ bedroom homes, using garage/attic as a store facility - the rest of the home has to be treated as a ‘whole’. Don’t just do the kitchen and ignore the rest, do the rest and tweak the kitchen! It is about the property overall outside and in. So if you declutter, clean and tidy throughout, I mean really do this! You are ahead.
The More Bad News
If your home is unfinished or not up to date, expect buyer interest to be considerably less than homes that are finished or in a good modernized condition. Buyers will buy for sure, but they will want a reduction. Not only to cover what they think essential improvements will cost, but they will ‘also over estimate’ and want to build in a profit for themselves. Otherwise they may as well buy a perfect home down the street for more!
The Good News
You can sell the unfinished and the renovator, but be realistic about the price. Some buyers will be tempted, but the fact that they can buy in a street they may not be normally able to afford – let us call it ‘entry level’ - knowing the cost of improvements will still be needed but could be saved up for and undertaken over a period of time. This actually was a very popular way to buy homes for decades but in recent market times, with people being time poor, wanting to head out in the boat, go the gym etc. has turned many away from the perceived weekends of DIY so it is less popular now than it once was.
You are chasing a small buyer demographic which, in turn, can mean less buyer demand and a lower price again. You really need an Agent on board who truly can sell the dream. Seriously not all agents can, but some are great at it! You need enthusiasm for this, so make sure the property is till tidy and clean and void of rubbish old dated furniture etc. Then give your agent the challenge.