Knowing what’s fixable and what’s fatal in a property can be the difference between success and failure in the real estate game.
Property expert, Cathy Morrissey, who teaches people how to renovate for profit through her company, The Renovation College, explains what’s scary-looking to the uninitiated, but easy to fix.
“Anything that looks like it hasn’t been painted in 20 to 40 years is scary!” she says.
“The paint is usually chipping off, it’s often got asbestos lurking in the home somewhere and on first look, it appears to need to be ripped down and started again,” Morrissey says.
But don’t freak out, she says. “Get a professional to come and look at the home. A licensed painter, for example, can advise if there is any serious problems with asbestos. Sometimes it doesn’t require any special attention and paint can be easily fixed,” she says.
Dated bathrooms and kitchens also frighten off would-be buyers from otherwise good properties, Morrissey says.
“They’re definitely the two rooms people get really hung up on. Maybe the bathroom is a little dated, but is it in good working order? Do the kitchen cupboards open? Are the bones good?
It’s possible to cosmetically change a few things, like swap out the taps or paint the tiles, to really rejuvenate those rooms. Often they are less of a problem than they first appear,” she says.
For someone with little renovation experience, holes in plasterboard might be daunting.
“Something like that is so easy to fix though,” Morrissey says.
“You can hire a handyman to fix plaster quick smart for a few bucks. That should never be a deal breaker, unless it reveals a bigger structural problem,” she says.
“Holes in walls from lots of hooks etc look ugly when you inspect, but if you’re painting, the painter will often fix those small things as part of the job, so don’t be put off,” Morrissey adds.
Big, ugly trees and old-fashioned gardens can overwhelm a facade and date a house, she adds.
Curb appeal: Why your facade is important
“On one of my properties, the first time I inspected it, I knew all I had to do was pull down the ugly tree in the front and voila! Fixing the front cost under $100 but made a huge difference.”