The nee­dle in the haystack

Herald Sun - Property - - OPINION - AN­DREW WIN­TER An­drew Win­ter hosts Selling Houses Aus­tralia on the Lifestyle Chan­nel

TIME to start house hunt­ing, let the search be­gin.

Per­haps it could be the block of land for your dream home, the free­stand­ing for­ever home, the cool ur­ban unit, the prac­ti­cal town­house, or maybe re­tire­ment liv­ing?

Look­ing in your lo­cal prop­erty sup­ple­ment or online, your search is aided by the as­sis­tance of good old­fash­ioned cat­e­gories.

Houses get a cat­e­gory, units and town­houses of­ten share or have their own ded­i­cated clas­si­fi­ca­tion, then there’s another cat­e­gory for land and quite of­ten for re­tire­ment liv­ing.

Let’s change sides now, imag­ine you’re about to sell a prop­erty, the same rules ap­ply for mar­ket­ing and your agent needs to know where to list the home to avoid the prop­erty be­ing lost among all that com­pe­ti­tion.

Those cat­e­gories of­fer fo­cus and di­rec­tion for your cam­paign from the start. With­out cat­e­gori­sa­tion, the whole pur­chas­ing and selling game would be a lot slower and a rather painful process.

Com­mer­cial real es­tate has the same idea, with cat­e­gories such as re­tail, in­dus­trial, cafes and restau­rants, ho­tel and leisure and of­fices, all of which should avoid buy­ers and sellers get­ting lost in a never-end­ing sup­ply of un­suit­able list­ings.

There­fore, for those of us selling, buy­ing or rent­ing “com­mon prop­er­ties”, ev­ery­thing is in place. But what about the fol­low­ing unique prop­erty types?

The SOHO (small of­fice/ home and of­fice); The live/workspace; The multi or dual-oc­cu­pancy dwelling;

The fam­ily home with a residential an­nex; and

The re­tail unit with apart­ment above.

A few of you might not be fa­mil­iar with the term SOHO or live/work space, but they are not a new con­cept, while a home with a granny an­nex is al­most as old as granny her­self.

In Aus­tralian mar­kets, I see more peo­ple work from home, in­clud­ing those who need more than just of­fice space.

Some want ac­com­mo­da­tion that will house a multi­gen­er­a­tional fam­ily, each de­mand­ing their own space and front door. Oth­ers want a home along with another as a long or short-term let in­come gen­er­a­tor.

You might even have the small cafe owner who wants to live above the shop.

Scour­ing the small ads and online for these buy­ers is a night­mare, so this week I want to ask those who cre­ate cat­e­gories to start adding some ex­tra “boxes” to tick.

I also be­lieve the of­fi­cial cat­e­gori­sa­tion of these ad­di­tional prop­erty types will al­low the mar­ket for each to grow nat­u­rally and not be hin­dered in the way they cur­rently are.

This is not a small prob­lem ei­ther. Pri­vate sellers with homes with com­mer­cial space or sep­a­rate ac­com­mo­da­tion sim­ply don’t know what to do and nei­ther do the agents.

I found a devel­oper re­cently selling a small scheme of twobed­room-plus-study units with com­mer­cial re­tail space be­low plus park­ing, all new. They were listed as twobed­room apart­ments and it looked ridicu­lous as they cost con­sid­er­ably more money than any other two-bed­room apart­ment.

Of course, it was un­like any other unit list­ing and was twice the size.

How­ever, you only get a mat­ter of sec­onds to make a pos­i­tive im­pact with your mar­ket­ing and in this in­stance, by the time the buyer has worked out what the prop­erty ac­tu­ally of­fered, they have most likely moved on and all par­ties have missed the op­por­tu­nity.

The same ap­plies to your fam­ily home with a sep­a­rate dwelling at­tached.

This could suit so many buy­ers, in fact, some might even be seek­ing this home type specif­i­cally. But they lit­er­ally have to search and search, nee­dle-in-a-haystack mode, be­cause there is no way to dif­fer­en­ti­ate this type of ac­com­mo­da­tion from the more tra­di­tional.

So, please, can we start to ac­knowl­edge there is ac­tu­ally more hous­ing op­tions out there in to­day’s mod­ern mar­ket than sim­ply the house, the unit or the shop?

The more we im­prove the def­i­ni­tion, the eas­ier it should be for those seek­ing or selling within this sec­tor and my ex­pe­ri­ence over re­cent years has shown me that the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion is a mar­ket­ing night­mare and these changes can­not come soon enough.

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