Knowing that foul play occurred in a property may be unappealing to an owner-occupier, but as an investor, a murder shouldn’t necessarily turn you away from buying a property. Here’s why.
Homes that have been the scene of a crime, suffer from a pest infestation or are too close to a train station may be a turn off for owner-occupiers, but they aren’t necessarily deal breakers for investors.
Buying a property that may be a no-go for an owner-occupier can actually provide property investors with a solid bargaining chip, according to Paul Glossop at buyer’s agency Pure Property Investment.
Mr Glossop said that he has seen several deals cross his desk in which a buyer is purchasing a property where someone was murdered.
He said that the most significant time to disclose that a murder has occurred in a property is during the first transaction.
“The interesting one for us is that some people, rightfully so, will have an... issue with the property, living in it personally if they know something such as a murder took place. That might end up being a bit unnerving if you end up, potentially, with a stigma on the property, which is an issue for valuation,” Mr Glossop said.
However, if an investor is buying an investment property, aspects of the property that are not physical in nature are unlikely to impact the renting process.
“When we’re talking about a 10, 15, 20-year investment, the stigma of that property 20 years down the track has typically lapsed and doesn’t exist,” he said
“As long as you’re getting it rightfully on the purchase initially, that’s going to be very good buying. It ends up, potentially, with the opportunity to get very, very good value on a particular property as well, but it all comes down to the price.”
Therefore, Mr Glossop said if a property in which a murder had occurred was the same price as neighbouring properties, he would likely pass on it, as it should be discounted.
An older property that has been riddled with an infestation, such as termites, could potentially be a no-go, he adds, but it all depends on the extent of the actual damage.
For example, Mr Glossop recently purchased a property with timber stumps. Nine of the stumps had old termite damage.
“They’re probably going to cost about $300 per stump to replace, which is about $3,000 worth of work,” he said.
“However, there was no termite evidence on the property long-term, so that might deter some people. This, in effect, has allowed us to get a really good purchase price on this particular property.”
Despite requiring only $3,000 to fix, the extent of the damage meant Mr Glossop was able to secure the property for between $18,000 and $20,000 under market value.
However, he warns, sometimes the damage can be too extreme.
“When you get to the next level, they have that termite infestation and then encroached into the studs and then the ceilings and the bearers and the rafters… you have to look at it and say: ‘Well, where do you start, where do you stop?’” he said.
“Once you have to start tearing back sheets of chip rock and redoing all of your studs and all of your timber, you end up with a huge, huge cost, which ultimately... no one sees.
“It ends up taking away liquidity as well, as you end up putting money into things that no one will ever see. That’s where we don’t like to have to spend money. Realistically, money spent in areas where no one actually sees the money spent… is the worst place to spend money, if you can avoid it.”
Having a property close to a train station, shopping centres or other amenities can be a gold mine for a property, but there is such a thing as being too close, according to Mr Glossop.
For example, property that is located around 100 and 500 metres from a train station has the potential for high-density rezoning in the future.
“It all comes down to making sure you’re not buying it because you think it’s going to be a really simple ‘set and forget’ that will be an owner-occupied house forever and a day. Typically, they are properties where you’re land banking for... high-density zoning on the land,” he said.
However, being close to a train line rather than a train station would place a property within a noise buffer zone, which is an issue that cannot be rectified.
“That’s where you end up with a long-term stigma and issue with the property and valuation of the property,” he said.
“Try to find which roads are going to be the more secondary roads or non-main arterial roads, which is always very important if you’re looking for owner-occupied properties,” he said.