When I start working with a new client, I want to find out first what is important and what is not. Handling compromises is part of what I do. It is rare that I can show a perfect property straight away. Like any serious relationship, the one you have with your home is multi layered and varied. You have to be compatible with it for a long time and find perfection, even when everything is not the idea of “perfect” you first had.
To me, the three things at the top of the list are:
What is important to you and how close are you to it? Beaches, shops, schools, bush, etc., what makes you happy and where is it? This region, Northern Rivers of NSW, is blessed with towns and villages with their own character and unique attractions. I end up saying to myself things like: These are Bangalow people, or, this family would be a good fit with Mullumbimby.
Many people escape from the city and want some land. It’s the classic treechanger’s dream. Good idea, but do they really know what they are getting themselves in for? The vegetation in this part of the world is not slow and passive. It comes at you with a fecund force and you either have to have the energy, or the money, to deal with it. I occassionally take on the role of a counsellor helping someone to not make a bad decision.
This is similar to #1 but more refined. What is the view and immediate surrounding? What is the ambience and general demeanour of the property? This is very subjective and I like to do this after I have known the client for a short while at least. Then I can make a judgement after having some knowledge of their likes and dislikes. A lot of this is instinctive and intuitive. My job is to eliminate the dross so a buyer does not waste time. This is why Internet search will never fully take the place of physical inspection. You need to stand on a block of land or inside a house and say, “I like it” or “Something does not feel right here!”
Like the location, aspect is often set and cannot be changed – but not always. Yes, it’s good to have due north exposure but that is not always possible and other directions can work perfectly fine at times. Sometimes it is possible to remove some vegetation, change a driveway, reposition some windows or a deck and completely change the aspect or feel of a property. Some people call this Feng Shui but I prefer to call it common sense.
3. Cost to complete
It is very easy to walk through a potential purchase and imagine doing this or that. It is a situation in which talk is literally very cheap but action can be catastrophically costly. In the present climate where building and renovation costs are excessive, you need to be careful of not letting your plans exceed your budget. Make sure you have a competent pest and building inspection report and accurate quotes at hand. A real estate agent that boasts of “nothing to do” can be very handy but, in my experience, not that common.
It is not just the economics of renovation that matter. If you do not wake up in the morning lusting to knock down a wall or choose bathroom tiles – don’t go there! I am amazed by the myriad TV cooking and renovation shows which occassionally signal that running a restaurant or renovating for profit is easy. For many people, that is where this kind of behaviour should remain – on TV. However, in the right situation, choosing a property that has the top two points but is in the budget as it needs some work may be the right choice as this third one is the one that is easiest to change.
Buying real estate
Many of the above skills come with experience and are not naturally endowed talents. If you want certainty and a minimum stress, find yourself a good buyers agent, quality tradespeople and professional service providers for the best outcome possible.