Don't misjudge a property by its street face

For real estate buyers, the process of purchasing a home, or cottage, can be overwhelming. Many purchasers, particularly first-time or first-time-in-a-long-time buyers, are relieved that at least part of the process is easy—viewing properties. That's where they make a big mistake.


It seems easy.

  • Look at a house from the street, and you either like it or you don't.


  • Walk through a house or condominium in 30 minutes or less, and you either love it or hate it.


Pretty presumptuous. Without specific construction knowledge and an eye for interior design—and in less time than typically spent picking out new clothes—buyers decide where to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars which they usually have to borrow. After one brief viewing, do you know that particular house, townhome, condominium unit, or recreational property well enough to know "This is it"?

The odd thing is that buyers know they can be tricked.

  • There are enough makeover television shows, websites, and publications making millions doing just that. The "before" picture is a dump. The "after" picture is stunning. Usually, it's just paint, nicer furniture, and talented interior design that makes the difference that buyers pay for.


  • Smells are a big turn off, yet buyers know that if smell-cancelling products had been sprayed around, the place would smell sweet, but they still pass on a chance for a sweet price.


  • Bad decorating or sloppy housekeeping generates "I couldn't live here" reactions. Yet, buyers are not moving in with the seller, furnishings and decor intact. Viewing a property means imagining your own furniture and decor in place of what's there now. Won't be long before a program or app will allow buyers to do exactly that with each potential buy. Until then, forget whether you'd want to live with the sellers, and concentrate on placing your personal stamp on the property to test its home-worthiness.


Logically, TV's demonstrated cosmetically-induced increase in real estate value should have buyers searching for money-saving "before" real estate. Instead, an industry has been carved off the real estate profession—staging—to superficially transform the saddest "before" real estate into a stunning "after." Buyers now willingly pay more (that's really borrow more) to view and buy an "after."

Real estate professionals are always ready to help buyers see genuine value in a "fixer upper," which often just need new paint and an up-dated look. Their training and experience has taught real estate professionals to first appraise properties by location and quality of construction. Then they add on or subtract the elusive amount that represents market appeal, or the lack of it, to arrive at market value.

While interest rates remain low, buyers continue to search for their "dream home." As interest rates rise and economies tighten, the drive for a "real buy" may overtake the bedazzled-style of buying. The uncertainty of investment markets will also place the emphasis on buying substance which will steadily appreciate in value over time.

Viewing potential real estate is just as complex as every part of buying. Whether or not you love the real estate's street face, give it a good going over if the location and price are right for you. It's not what you see but what you know about real estate that make it and you valuable. 

This article is courtesy of realty times-Don't Misjudge a Property by Its Street Face by PJ Wade,Published: September 20, 2011

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