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How to find a gem among the weeds

25 September 2017 | 10 minute read
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When you’re looking to add another property to your portfolio, a search online may bring up a shabby-looking house with an unkempt yard and no interior photos. One buyer’s agent shares why those sketchy listings are worth a look.

After returning from a US trip, Rebecca Hona of wHeregroup said that the best properties to look out for is something that looks rent-ready that a tenant could move into tomorrow.

“[That means] semi-new windows are quite important… you're making sure you don't have building issues, you're making sure it's freshly painted, carpet[ed],” Ms Hona said.

“You know, you can walk into one house and it might look amazing from the outside, and then you walk in and it may have been refurbed but not in a very good way.

“Or it may be, say, all really original, and so you know from a rent-ready [perspective] tenants don't want to be living in that sort of style of home, and typically, that's what those type of tenants want in that particular area, they want something that is fresh.”

Ms Hona shares why all properties are worth a look, regardless of what their listings look like, recounting one particular property that was a “gem under the weeds”.

“When I say, 'under the weeds', literally the whole front of the house was covered in grass and weeds and everything else. The grass [was] like a metre high,” she shared.

“The tenant was supposed to be doing the lawn. They hadn't done them, and the tenant also didn't allow for interior photo for the advertising, so Todd [Hunter, director of wHeregroup] and I, we had the agent, and he goes, 'Look, I think you're really going to like it. It fits exactly what you guys want.'


“No one else has really looked at it because it looked terrible, and all because of the way... on the exterior. [At a] property maintenance level, it was fine. There [were] no issues building-wise, no issues with the front and exterior, it's just really, really long grass and weeds.”

After going ahead with the purchase of the property, Ms Hona said that they addressed the lawn problem by amending the lease to include that the lawn would be maintained by them rather than the tenant.

If they had walked away from the property without giving it a second glance, Ms Hona would have simply missed out.

“Sometimes there's more to the story," she said. "That can happen here in Australia as well.”

She concluded: “It really just comes down to having a conversation with your realtor and going, 'Do you know it?' 'Yeah, actually, I've been in the property. I think you'll like it', and that's... what happened in our situation.”

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