You might consider a freshly refurbished house as a dream purchase, but you have to look beyond the new paint, shiny tiles, and polished floorboards before parting with your money.
While many homeowners make sure their properties are renovated to high specifications, there are still those who cut corners or ignore major issues to try to get the highest possible price for their property.
Being aware of the warning signs and having experts to help you can boost your chances of buying a quality home instead of a problematic house.
Look Out for the Flip
A home that had been refurbished prior to sale can fall into one of three categories, which may impact its quality.
The 3 categories are:
- A DIY renovation by the owners who lived in it and loved it. This is normally not bad because the renovation has been made according to the owners’ standards.
- A renovation that the landlord did for their renter. This is fine too because renters will tell you if they aren’t satisfied.
- A flip, can be a warning sign. This is because someone who is doing a flip is trying to maximise their profit, and maximising profit sometimes means minimising costs.
It’s not uncommon to see pre-sale renovations where many corners get cut. They are done to hide problems or sometimes use cheap, low-quality products to save money. The house might be lived in, so you might find it hard to ascertain if all is in good working order. You have to be prepared to check everything.
One example is painting over problems without properly fixing the surfaces. There is a correct way of removing mould, but people renovating their homes may not know this. Mould can remain inactive on a dry surface but can spring back to life once moisture is introduced.
Another hotspot for problems is bathroom renovations. Some of the issues you need to check out are improperly repaired subfloors, insufficiently waterproofed surfaces, and joint failures or leaks due to the use of the wrong adhesives and sealants. Having a pre-purchase building and pest inspection done on any home is a wise move.
Experts suggest that buyers ensure that the renovations are council-approved, ask for the information of any engineers, architects, or tradespeople hired for the project, and find out if there is any warranty related to the project.
Pricing Refurbished Homes
You shouldn’t believe that a renovation will add more value than it costs. Unless you have the related experience and qualifications of a tradesperson, you tend to realise that the money you spend on refurbishing a home is about what you add to it. People making more is the exemption rather than the rule.
Buyers should be aware that a cosmetic renovation doesn’t make them overlook the major issues that haven’t been fixed.
That is where buyers become victims of a flip. If there are costly problems hiding under those renovations, you will still pay the premium. But homes that have undergone high-quality renovations will command wide-ranging interest, and buyers of high-quality refurbished homes should expect to face plenty of competitors.
If you’re purchasing a property that has been refurbished or reconstructed, search for high-quality construction, fixtures, and fittings. You might even consider asking the sellers if they have any before, during and after photos – particularly when it’s structural work and behind or in walls.