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Property sellers could lose up to $90,000 and have fewer bidders at auction by scrimping on fixing the front fence or tidying-up the garden. In a national survey of more than 1000 people by finder.com.au, almost 90 per cent said they would likely offer below the asking price if the exterior of the property was unappealing.

They say they would offer 13 per cent below the asking price, on average.

Based on the median Australian house price of $695,788, vendors could see $90,452 knocked-off their asking price if their property lacks street appeal by having a broken fence and a garden that could do with a tidy-up.

Bessie Hassan, a spokeswoman for finder.com.au, says the survey results show a property’s street appeal should never be underestimated.

‘A bad first impression can be money down the drain,’ she says.

‘Sellers could be left bitterly disappointed with offers if the kerb appeal of a listed property is not up to expectations.’

Real estate agent Norman So of McGrath in Sydney’s Concord says, in his experience, first impressions are very important.

‘Even if a place needs a bit of landscaping if could knock-off up to 10 per cent from the price achieved for the property,’ he says.

Real estate agent Trudy Biggin of Biggin & Scott in Melbourne’s Brighton, says there is no doubt that the initial response of potential buyers is very important.

‘A lot of owners say to me that they are not going to replace the fence and that the new owners can do it,’ she says.

‘By replacing the fence they are likely to increase their potential buyer pool and increase the price,’ Biggin says.

Michael Harris, the director of Raine & Horne in Sydney’s Newtown, says the bar has been lifted on presentation, driven by the advertising of properties online.

‘Once-upon-a-time we used to run around taking our own photos,’ he says. ‘Now, the photos are taken professionally with high resolutions and wide angles,’ Harris says.

Compared to the rest of Australia, those in NSW and Victoria told the survey they were not prepared to drop their offers too much.

Only 5 per cent in NSW and 8 per cent in Victoria say they would be prepared to drop their offers by more than 25 per cent. In Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory 13 per cent say they could drop their offers by more than 25 per cent.

‘It’s likely that because the property market is so competitive in Sydney and Melbourne buyers are less likely to make dramatically-reduced offers,’ Hassan says.

Real estate agent Michael Harris says, in his area of Newton in Sydney’s inner west, there are more buyers than sellers and so buyers tend to ‘see-through’ a fence that needs repair, for example.

Nevertheless, he encourages vendors to do as much as they can to spruce-up the property before putting their properties on the market.

Twitter: @jcollett_money


Posted by John Collett – The Age on 31st March, 2016