Nine things to look for in a property

As a general guide, we look for the following features when considering whether a particular property is likely to be an above average performer in the capital growth stakes.

1.  An architectural style that is compatible with the area. For example, a Victorian terrace in Paddington is something that the majority of buyers in that area are looking for. So a 1980s cottage in the same area, no matter how nicely presented, is always going to attract less interest from buyers.

2.  A good, quiet street – not a main road. Tree-lined is the ideal, within an easy walk to amenities and public transport. In every suburb there are specific streets that carry a certain cache – and buyers are often prepared to pay a premium for these addresses. Just think of Telegraph Road Pymble.

3.  The ideal aspect is a garden facing north or north-east. If buying a semi-detached house, look for the one where the windows are on the northern side. Good natural light is what you are after, particularly in the living areas and garden.

4.  The floorplan needs to make sense, with good flow and balance. An unbalanced house would be one with 4 bedrooms and a tiny living area or limited outdoor space. An example of poor flow is where you have to walk through the laundry to get to the courtyard, or where the bathroom comes straight off the dining room. The only exception to this rule is if the floorplan can be simply rearranged without significant structural work.

5.  Parking is always preferable to no parking, however there are many inner city areas where there simply isn’t the availability. So in the absence of off-street parking, make it is easy to get a space on the street.

6.  Aussies love to live alfresco, so usable outdoor space is always a big plus for resale value.

7.  Good property doesn’t always have a view, however the best properties do have some sort of outlook. This can be as simple as ensuring each window looks out onto garden. You could plant a climber so you look at greenery instead of looking at fence palings. Or a row of bamboo or pine trees to obscure the house next door. If you can’t obscure an ugly outlook or rectify a privacy issue, don’t buy the property.

8.  Presentation of properties for sale can be misleading. It is easy to fall in love with the appearance and trimmings of a styled property and fail to see the nuts and bolts of what is actually for sale. Conversely, it is just as easy to overlook a fundamentally good property simply because it hasn’t been tarted up for sale. In fact, you might be able to add immediate value simply by addressing the presentation. Great examples are tenanted properties and those owned by older people who have dated colour schemes and furnishings.

9.  The condition of the property can set it apart. A well maintained property will need less money spent on it that one that has been neglected. And any savings you make in upkeep go straight to your bottom line come sale time.

When taking into account these general attributes, it is important to note that every micro-market has its quirks and it would do you well to understand these. For example, a weatherboard house in Balmain is not going to be worth less than a brick one, but in more recently developed areas there will be a significant price difference. If you understand the primary elements of a good property and combine this with local knowledge, you should be well on the path to a successful real estate investment.

Further reading:-

The 10th thing to look for in a property

How to spot a property that has been renovated to sell


First published:-  20 February 2014

Disclaimer: Good Deeds buyers tips are intended to be of a general nature. Please contact us for advice that is specific to your individual circumstances. You may also need to get advice from other professionals such as an accountant, mortgage broker, financial planner or solicitor.

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