After 20-something flips in the Wellington region, growing my own rental Q and home-staging many houses, it was great to join iFindProperty in mid-2019 and start to help others build their investment portfolios. I’ve looked at literally hundreds of houses over the last eight years so it’s good to use my experience to hunt out opportunities for others.
“How do you still find properties in this market?” is a question I get regularly asked. Well, the answer is that they are often hidden in plain sight. Here is what I mean: I’m fortunate to look at properties week in and week out, and can assess a property for value-add opportunities pretty quickly. Since I have been doing this for a number of years, I have built genuine and lasting relationships with agents, and the combination of hearing about good deals and knowing when to pounce is key.
Here are some ideas that will help you identify properties with potential and not miss out on them.
It is easy to walk into a house and dismiss it. However everything boils down to the numbers, so you should remain open to a property’s potential.
Of course, there are many ways to unlock value, but for example, let’s look at adding a bedroom. It is an obvious concept, but sometimes you have to get creative. Perhaps there is a large laundry or back door area that can be converted? Or you might split a larger room into two, such as converting a large lounge into two bedrooms after covering up the old fireplace. Then there is juggling wardrobes, hall cupboards, hot water cylinders and the way doors open to create opportunities. Depending on the rental market you are in, the cost of the home and your own timeline, it might make sense to completely reconfigure a layout, or you may find that only easy conversions make financial sense.
Value is not just about bedrooms, it could be anything, even something as small as use of colour – defining areas through a consistent colour scheme; wallpaper versus paint; or modernising by painting walls and skirting the same colour – creating a clean look. Depending on the style of the house contrasting colours on the outside trim, doors, base boards, gates and/or fences can transform it.
I’ve landed plenty of great deals, on-market and off, due to my relationships with agents. Respect and value your team. Good agents enjoy working with a buyer’s agent as we take care of the buyer and prepare them to take action and close deals. We now have agents who bring us early deals as they know what our clients typically look for and we don’t muck around.
There are some things you won’t know until you view, however from experience I limit the time I waste for myself and my team by doing some due diligence before viewing. Conversely, the better I am prepared, the quicker I can move on a deal for my clients.
We coach buyers to give them the best shot of winning properties they have invested time into. For example, I kept in touch with my agents during level four lockdown and was aware of opportunities with vendors eager to sell quickly. I moved quickly on a set of units at level three when only two groups of people could view per day. It was still a multi-offer situation, but with fewer buyers our competitive price, clean offer and short settlement won the day.
People who sell their own properties can market them very well or very poorly. I love the ones that have spelling mistakes in the ad text, plus only a handful of badly staged photos taken on a cell phone. I like to contact vendors quickly and view as soon as possible, especially if they’ve put a price on it. I’ve picked up a couple of these this year.
To sum up, when visiting a property go in with an open mind, focus on what’s in front of you, look for opportunities to reconfigure spaces, picture new colour palettes and most of all respect the agent or vendor – this business is about relationships.
This article was published in the December 2020 issue of the New Zealand Property Investor Magazine and is shared here with permission from the magazine.
The magazine is an excellent resource with digital and print options. We highly recommend it.