Most people prefer to look at properties during an open home, which is where you get the opportunity to look at it without being taken there by an agent and – supposedly – not harassed by an agent as you look, relaxed, around the property. In today’s show Mark Armstrong, from Rate My Agent, has some great tips for new investors.
Kevin: More and more, we’re becoming reliant on the Internet to help us shop around for property, but a very important part of this is the inspection process, as well. Most people prefer to look at properties during an open home, which is where you get the opportunity to look at it without being taken there by an agent and – supposedly – not harassed by an agent as you look, relaxed, around the property.
Mark Armstrong is from Rate My Agent, which is a great new website you should be checking out if you want to find an agent to sell a property for you. Mark joins me. Hi, Mark.
Mark: Hi, Kevin.
Kevin: You’re experienced. What should we be looking at when we do go to an open home so we don’t have to rely so much on the advice from the agent?
Mark: I always talk to people about looking for the things that you can’t change about a property and getting those things fundamentally right. What I mean by that is you can’t change the location of the property, so you have to get that right, because it’s not something that you can fix up down the track. You can’t change the size of the block of land, so you need to get that right. You can’t change what’s around you –you can’t change the fact that there’s a factory next door, or there’s an apartment block next door, or a petrol station.
The first step for me when I’m looking at any property is I’m focusing on the things that I can’t change about the property, and I need to make sure I get those fundamentally right. That’s a really good first step.
Kevin: It’s a great first step, actually. You’re right. There are so many things that you can allow for but you can’t change.
Mark: Exactly. When I start to look at a property – it’s interesting – the property inspection to me starts actually from the minute I jump in my car to drive to the property. The inspection doesn’t start when I get to the property; it starts as I’m driving closer to the property. I’m looking at the surrounding area. I’m looking at the infrastructure. As I drive into the street, I’m looking at the streetscape. I’m looking at surrounding properties. I drive up to the house and I’m looking at the façade and the presence of the property. There’s actually a lot of inspection done before you even get to the open home.
Once I actually get to the open home, my inspection actually turns more into a feeling – it’s the feeling that a property gives me. If I feel cramped, it’s because it’s probably a bit cramped. If it feels dark, it’s probably because it’s a bit dark. I think that the instincts of how a property makes you feel when you walk in the door, if there’s a lot of natural light, and it’s open and it’s airy, that gives a really positive feeling.
Kevin: You actually buy properties also on behalf of other people, as well, don’t you?
Mark: Yeah, I do. I’ve bought thousands of properties over the years, so I’ve been driving the streets, looking at property, for almost 20 years. It’s really important to follow your instincts and the sense that the property gives you.
Kevin: The reason I ask that question is because you’re obviously looking at property on behalf of other people, so you’re going to have to take their feelings into account, as well. I guess it’s key the questions you ask them before you start looking at property.
Mark: It is. It is really important. We need to get the fundamental facts down of how big they need a property, how many bedrooms and how many bathrooms, and car parking, and all those sorts of things. But once you get those fundamental points down…
Kevin: I guess good property is always good property, isn’t it?
Mark: Yes, that’s right. Good property’s always good property. Once you get the fundamental needs down – how many bedrooms and how many bathrooms – you’re then just looking for good pieces of real estate in good locations on a good-sized block of land with good natural light, with no privacy concerns. You have to get the fundamental points down, but then good property is good property.
Kevin: It’s really interesting to hear you say that, because you corrected me – and quite rightly, too – that the things that you would ask people to look for and people would want you to look for are how many bedrooms and the physical aspects about the property, but you’re talking more about the feelings. I wonder sometimes if we just buy on those first physical aspects and forget about the feel, thinking maybe we can change that.
Mark: We absolutely do. I think a lot of us get caught up on the cosmetics of a property. We look at the great new kitchen or bathroom, and we sacrifice. We look at the second bedroom, and it’s a bit smaller, and we say, “Oh, but the kitchen’s lovely. We won’t worry about the second bedroom.” We can change all those things. We can change a kitchen. We can renovate and put new carpet down or polished boards. We can actually create that feeling in a property as long as we have the fundamental structure there.
Kevin: Thanks, Mark. Of course, Mark’s website, as I mentioned, is Rate My Agent. Thanks, mate.
Mark: My pleasure, Kevin.