Beware the Newly Renovated House

The photos are stunning on screen, so you rush to book a viewing or wait for the show day on Sunday. You imagine moving into a house that doesn’t need fixing – no mould under the silicone in the bathroom or kitchen, and neither the paint nor the cement comes away when you wipe the windowsills.

The building may or may not match your fantasies, but is your perspective skewed because of your desperation to find your perfect home or get out of your current one? Do you check the details? Did they remove the plug and light switch covers when they painted? Any walls blistering over damp? Did they paint the whole ceiling or only where the leak was visible? Is everything like new or slapped with colour on old cupboard doors and left with 1970s handles blended with modern wooden floors? Do those floors squeak or move when you walk on them?

The law states that sellers must declare existing issues, but not everyone is honest and will try to hide stuff and feign ignorance. Check the little things. Did they prepare surfaces and how is the finishing? How, you ask? I’m no expert on every conceivable problem, so arm yourself with information before the viewing and read internet articles on ‘What to look for when buying a renovated house’. Make sure they apply to the one you’re eyeing.

You’ve found your dream home with no apparent deceptive cover-ups and you want to put your feet up and live there. Wait! Before you offer them that asking price that is gnawing at your gut pull a report. Yes, they cost money, but so does making a big mistake. Search online for ‘property evaluation reports’ and buy a report. We’ve used Lightstone and PropIQ (they did not pay for this advertising). The main things you’re looking for are valuation value and recent selling price of properties in the neighbourhood. The banks use these reports along with an inspection when deciding on how much they will loan you.

I’m so sorry that your dream has just shattered. Why are they asking R800 000 above the expected high and R1 million more than the valuation? Not to mention that around this suburb in the last year, the highest achieved is R200 000 less than their asking and that was only one. The next closest is a whole R600 000 less. Oh the outrage at the unfairness. You know that if anyone loves it as much as you do, and they are cash-rich the house will sell fast. This quality, in this price range has been scarce in your long search for a new home, but it doesn’t mean you should over invest. Your mind knows this, but your heart just wants it—and that is what they are banking on.

We see this often and have also been the sellers. When a person renovates and then sells they are trying to recoup their costs.

Reasons for renovating:

• Make the property saleable
• Make money
• Not happy with the way it is

In most cases you need to wait a few years – I‘ve read 5 or more – before realising the value of the changes. We learnt this by losing on our house, but sucked it up because we wanted to move. Some owners won’t, and sometimes can’t take the loss so they hang on for someone to pay the outrageous amounts they are asking.

This house buying business is hard, but soldier on and do your homework.

Debbie Gravett © 2018.11.26

FOWC: Trap
Image by Pixabay/Comfreak

Disclaimer: This is from my South African home buyers perspective and these are my personal views and opinions.

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