For real estate buyers, the process of purchasing a home, or cottage, can be overwhelming. Many purchasers, particularly first-time or first-time-in-a-long-time buyers, are relieved that at least part of the process is easy—viewing properties.
That’s where they make a big mistake.
There are enough makeover television shows, websites, and publications making millions doing just that. The “before” picture is a dump. The “after” picture is stunning. Usually, it’s just paint, nicer furniture, and talented interior design that makes the difference that buyers pay for.
- Smells are a big turn off, yet buyers know that if smell-cancelling products had been sprayed around, the place would smell sweet, but they still pass on a chance for a sweet price.
- Bad decorating or sloppy housekeeping generates “I couldn’t live here” reactions. Yet, buyers are not moving in with the seller, furnishings and decor intact. Viewing a property means imagining your own furniture and decor in place of what’s there now. Won’t be long before a program or app will allow buyers to do exactly that with each potential buy. Until then, forget whether you’d want to live with the sellers, and concentrate on placing your personal stamp on the property to test its home-worthiness.
- Virtual tours can reveal traffic flow problems and unappealing features, but they should not be a deciding “no view” factor if the location is ideal and the price affordable.
- Curb appeal may get you in, but a property’s bad street face should not keep you out when the location is great. If fewer people see the inside, competition will be lower. The property may be on the market longer, so the property owners more flexible. If curb appeal is lacking, when you’re the owner you’ll make money by adding value to the exterior.
- Major structural issues like sagging beams and “in the way” bearing walls will cost money, so arrange professional estimates to back up an offer that reflects the costs ahead.
- Plumbing and electrical work are a another expense. Knob and tube wiring may not be insurable, so be sure home inspectors know their job and are thorough. Too many times, electrical service has been doctored to look as if knob and tube has been removed, but it was merely patched with new wiring in visible places.
- Particularly in southern Ontario, termites are increasingly a problem. Not discussed openly, there are specific areas of Toronto and other communities where termites flourish and they aren’t going away. The key is protecting your property by treating the soil regularly. Is a great location worth that to you?
- Do not look at furnishings or colour choices, especially great ones. Problems can be hiding under cosmetics. Anything newly-done should be examined closely. Watch makeover shows to see “what” will hide “what.”
- Viewing potential real estate is just as complex as every part of buying. Whether or not you love the real estate’s street face, give it a good going over if the location and price are right for you. It’s not what you see but what you know about real estate that make it and you valuable.