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Why it’s the ideal time to add value to your home during the coronavirus pandemic

By Jessie Stewart
As we all enjoy, or endure, much more time at home than usual, it’s an ideal opportunity to begin prepping your dwelling for sale if you’re thinking of selling, or if even if you’re thinking about thinking about selling.

Prolonged time to reflect on our current living situations has presented the chance to plan for the future, whether that be in our present home, improved or extended or another.

It’s not time for excuses of procrastination – not that you have much else to do – because there might never be a better time than right now, during the coronavirus pandemic.

This is why.

Tradies are cheap and available

“I’m telling my clients to go now if they can, to jump straight in,” said Jonathan Hayes, managing director of boutique residential construction group Tailored Construction.

“There are resources at hand. Suppliers are fully stocked because of the slow down due to COVID-19 and there are heaps of cheap tradies all looking for work.

“I’m finding over the last couple of weeks as people are feeling safer financially, they are starting to plan for renovations and extensions.”

“If you can, now is the time to go for it, because when the boom comes after lockdown, and it will come, materials and tradies won’t be so easy to get and they won’t be as cheap.”

Time to understand what is required

More time at home has given many families the chance to ponder on whether their current home will suit them in the future, and it also shines the light on what needs to be done if you are to sell. Staring at the same wall cracks, peeling paint or broken skirting boards for days on end can do that to you.

“If you’re thinking of selling one of the main things you need to do is minimise your excess stuff,” said George Nikos, owner of Urbane Property in Newtown, Australia’s most popular suburb for buyers before COVID-19 hit, in Sydney’s inner west.

“Get rid of what you don’t use and don’t need. One of the big things potential buyers want to feel is that there is a lot of space in a new home.

“Clean, tidy homes are important but ones that don’t need renovating are the ones that create that great competition between buyers. Add that capital gain yourself, whether it is painting, oiling the deck you haven’t looked after for years, creating something in the backyard with landscaping, fixing up your cracks or opening up your rear lane access, then the property is ready to go for the next owner and you will reap the financial windfall.” Urbane Real Estate in Newtown. Picture: John Appleyard

Time to make a strategic move up

The coronavirus crisis has presented upsizing opportunities for those who would have previously been unable to do so in a heated market, like the one that had emerged earlier this year, as ground lost during the downturn was quickly made up.

“On the ground one trend we are certainly seeing is that as more homeowners, such as young families, are spending more time in their apartments, they are realising it’s too small for them,” said Thomas McGlynn, national head of sales at The Agency.

“If you are a young family looking at expanding and you are buying and selling in the same market now is a good time to look. It’s a lot easier to upsize in a market that is a little up and down.

“If you’re in secure employment and you are in a position where you have not been impacted financially, I would definitely advocate for this as a time to think about making a move.”

Buyers believe in the market

After an initial period of shock at the widespread implications of COVID-19, the real estate industry has moved into a period of ‘the new normal’. The industry has transitioned well to the new way of doing business via virtual inspections, private open homes and even online auctions.

That has allowed buyers to return to the market with confidence and has presented vendors with more qualified buyers, including those attracted again to bricks and mortar after the recent volatility of the share market.

“We have been in the scare mode, now it is the new normal and people have adjusted,” said buyer’s agent Simon Cohen of Cohen Handler.

“Our average time to buy is the same. The good result for vendors is that they now have more qualified buyers who have gone through the different process of looking for their new home.

“The market has adjusted and carried on.”

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