The ‘bizhome’ conundrum
SOME properties just defy being categorised.
We all know that a residential property is where an owner or tenant lives. Then we have industrial properties in which manufacturing and generally messy stuff takes place. Then there is commercial property that encompasses everything from retail to office space where a lot of thinking and buying and selling and business gets done.
But what category is a property comprising a shop with a flat above it, or a winery with a family home attached, or even a garden nursery with owners’ residence? What about a guest house where the owner lives?
What these properties have in common is that they mix some form of income production with a residence and the two elements are not available for sale separately.
In the past few years, I have had several clients experiencing difficulty selling this sort of property.
Regardless of the type of income produced, they all have the same dilemma: what pigeonhole should they focus their marketing on and how do they attract an audience?
The term ‘‘lifestyle property’’ doesn’t work for many of these as it conjures visions of the proverbial bar on the beach with a charming beach house, or guesthouse in a dreamy location where we can share our luxurious home with paying guests.
Within some urban and city developments you now also find units or townhouses that have been tagged as ‘‘live/work’’.
This title tells us that it is a place where we can live and run a small business of some type. However, it is again too specific as it tends to mean only that there is living area with some commercial space that can be used as an office, studio or gallery.
Corporate buyers and larger investors are not interested in this style of development as the living accommodation takes up too much of the property, increasing acquisition costs. Corporate buyers want facts and figures, not a pretty house. And, while theymay consider changing the residential element into more lucrative business square metres, it is often not cost-effective, or permissible.
Equally, home buyers who want to expand the living space into the commercial section, may not find it practical or even permitted.