There is a real estate rule of thumb that you should aim to buy the worst house in the best street. But this is not always the case. The rule works if the property simply needs renovating to bring it up to the level of its neighbours, but there are certain properties that can never be redeemed: it doesn’t matter where they are located.
The sort of deal breakers I am talking about are basically anything that would make it the odd one out:
- A house that is of an architectural style that is out of keeping with the neighbourhood.
- The block of land is smaller than is standard for the street, or it is a really odd shape, or the house is situated oddly on the lot.
- The one on the corner of a busy road, next to the only block of units on the street, or at the bottom of the hill.
- Or if the owner simply wants too much money for it due to its address.
On the flip side we wouldn’t be too keen on buying the best house on a bad street either! But as with all rules, there are some exceptions. In some suburbs the larger historic homes are located on busy roads. Think Johnston Street in Annandale, or Woniora Road in Hurstville. There are some remarkable landmark homes on these streets because back in the days of horse and cart, when these grand Victorian homes were built, being located on a wide street was a sign of status.
Along with progress and the growing use of motor cars, these wide avenues ended up morphing into busy thoroughfares. So the streets are bad in terms of noise and safety but often you simply can’t find homes of the same scale and grandeur in quieter streets.
We have seen examples of purchases of nice enough homes on mediocre streets that have subsequently been cleverly renovated and sold for a premium.
It really comes down to choosing a style of home that is in demand in the suburb, being careful what you pay for it, then making cost effective improvements that will appeal to the local buying public.
Top 5 Things to Remember at a Viewing:
- Does the property seem “at home” amongst neighbouring properties? Or does it stick out like a sore thumb?
- Beware of falling for overly styled properties. You are not buying the decorations.
- Don’t be too hasty rejecting a poorly presented property. It could be tenanted, or just a bit out of date and a quick makeover could yield great results.
- Are there any problems that simply cannot be fixed? Do not compromise here.
- A second inspection is always advised, it’s amazing what you gloss over during the first viewing.
Veronica Morgan is the co-host of Location Location Location Australia and principal of Sydney based Good Deeds Property Buyers.