As the principal director of Belle Property Surry Hills, Mark Foy really knows his stuff. Not only has he been the number one seller in Sydney’s Darlinghurst for the last three years, he also has a long history of exceptional sales results in the broader inner city. So we thought there was no-one better to answer the difficult questions on where to spend the big bucks when renovating for profit, how to pick the best agent and how to buy a property when you really have no idea what you’re doing! Mark will be Reno Addict’s go-to guy for all things real estate.
1. What is ‘buyer beware’ and what should I look at?
Buyer beware basically means buyers need to do their own due diligence on a home. They can’t expect all the information to be given to them. If you’re buying a house you need to get a building inspection done or if your buying an apartment you should get a strata report done; a strata report is like a building report, it shows you the financials and the history of the building so you understand what you’re buying into. Also other things like doing council searches and seeing whether there’s going to be a building popping up across the road are important to do; it’s not the agent’s duty to disclose, but rather the buyer’s duty to seek out that information through their solicitor. And finally the buyer should have the contract reviewed by a lawyer prior to exchanging.
2. What value does a new kitchen add to a house?
It definitely adds a lot more salability to the property. You’d definitely get your money back and possibly a bit more. A kitchen is such a critical part of the house, you spend a lot of time there entertaining and preparing meals; so I think updating a kitchen for a sale is important.
3. How should I go about selecting an agent when selling?
The most important part of selecting an agent is understanding their experience. Are they local and active within the area, do they speak to buyers in the region and are they in touch with the market? You also have to find out how they’d go about handling the selling process. Starting from how they conduct their open homes and communicate with the owner and potential buyers, all the way through to picking an auctioneer come auction day. All these things come into play and they’re the things I’d want to know.
4. What are the big-ticket items to concentrate on when renovating to sell?
More important than kitchens and bathrooms is presenting a property that’s got a certain feeling about it. When a buyer walks into a property you’ve only got one chance to create that emotive feeling and it’s not through having a nice kitchen! It’s through making sure it’s furnished nicely, that it’s looking sleek with a new paint job, that the floorboards look nice or there’s a new carpet, that the garden’s presented well, that there’s music playing and then that it all comes together by being represented by a fresh looking agent out the front. All those things come into play, so that’s what I’d be focusing on when you’re renovating.
5. How much notice should I take of building inspection reports and should I ever buy without one?
I’d definitely get a building inspection report, 100%! It’s $400-500 and it’s peace of mind. Buyers aren’t builders and they don’t know what to look for, I think it’s critical that you get one. However, one thing to consider when you’re reading a report is the builders that do them are always going to describe the house in its worse condition, because realistically they’re protecting themselves. But in saying that it depends what and where you’re buying. If you’re buying an old 150-year-old house in the inner city then you need to understand that it’s going to need work done. However, if you’re buying a brand new house and it’s getting a bad condition report, then there’s something wrong. Therefore it’s important you consider where you’re buying and how long the building has been erected for.