Case Study 2

The Results

Purchase Price: $585,000
Sale Price: $655,000 (within first open house)
Days on market: 5 days

About the Property

This house was purchased in a Blue chip suburb for $585,000, well under the median house price for the area. The house was being resold less than 18 months after it was purchased in a flat, if not declining market. The house was over 100 years old, therefore, was not built to today’s standards and had some issues with a sagging floor. The old saying “they don’t build things like they used to” was right, thankfully. It was purchased cheaper because buyers were put off by the floors and also the fact that none of the windows in the house would open. It was crucial to the sale, that these issues were addressed, if a profit was to be made. The house was rented so the tenants were given notice to vacate in order carry out works and stage the house for sale, in order to maximise the sale price. This was an important strategy for the sale of this house. Most people look at the short term loss of rent ($580 per week in this instance) and not the long term capital gain. This house sold after the first open house for $655,000 (well above the agents expectations), within 5 days of being listed.

The Exterior

Work undertaken:

  • The number priority was to get the windows opening again. It appeared to me that they had been painted shut over the years but a builder looked at them and said they wouldn’t open due to movement in the house. As each room had individual air conditioning units, so I thought that must be the case, after all, who would spend all that money on air conditioners if it was a simple job to get the windows opening again. A second builder was called in to quote on replacing all the windows but he discovered, as I thought, it was a simple case of the windows being painted shut. For $300 the builder had all the windows opening again. Incredible luck, but one has to wonder why the previous owner had not fixed this problem.
  • The exterior of the house and the fence was professionally pressure washed which made the white exterior look like it had been freshly painted.
  • Gardens weeded, pruned and mulched (no lawn).
  • Other maintenance issues were attended to ie., loose handrail and step treads and touching up patches of flaking paint.
  • Four potted plants on the verandah with large golden cane palms.
  • New “Home Sweet Home” door mat.

The Interior
An example of the floor boards – the Kitchen after staging

The floor in this house was a real issue. It was not only sagging in places, there were areas where the floor was 2 inches below the skirting boards and the timber was worn in the doorways. Also keeping in character with the area the carpet had been pulled up and the floor boards were polished. The boards were not beautiful tongue and grove hardwood like most other workers cottages, they were ugly boards that looked like they were diseased (that is the best way I can describe them). Work had previously been carried out to stabilise the floor underneath the house, but short of a massive rebuild the sagging floor and thin spots were here to stay. The challenge was to minimise their visual impact.

lounge room
The Lounge room – after carpet and staging

  • The secret with the floor was to take the eye away from it. Going against the normal for this style of house, carpet was laid in the Lounge room and 3 bedrooms. The thickest, plushest carpet and underlay that money could buy. This instantly gave the house a feeling of luxury and the sag in the floor was no longer visible. Also the thin spots could no longer be felt under foot.
  • The house was staged with small scale furniture to suit the cosy (tiny) cottage feel.

master_bedroom                                 second_bedroom
The Master Bedroom – after carpet and staging                            The Second Bedroom – after carpet and staging
Note: the overhead cupboards with a hanging rail underneath, on the right had side of this picture (in the second bedroom).

This is an open wardrobe which is something I have never seen before. It was a good idea to maximise space in a tiny room, rather than a bulky wardrobe, but it looks messy when filled with clothes, shoes etc. This was another reason why this house needed to be sold without tenants, as to not draw attention to the fact, that this house was tiny with minimal storage space.

The Third Bedroom – after carpet and staged as an office

Summary of Makeover costs

Pressure cleaning $ 250 Garden maintenance $ 483 Carpet $3,100 Fix windows & general maintenance $ 839 Furniture Hire $2,106 TOTAL COSTS $6,778 Note: A four week newspaper advertising campaign was also undertaken at a cost of $1,429. Although, an offer was accepted after the first open house, the contract did not become unconditional for a further two weeks. It was important to continue to advertise and attract more buyer interest in case the offer did not proceed, and not to lose market momentum.