In the last few weeks I have had meetings with several potential clients looking to create a new home for themselves. Each of these meetings has fallen into two distinct categories:
– Those who have already purchased their block,
– and those asking me for advice before buying a property.
Which is the way to go if you are on the hunt for the address of your new home or renovation? Before going into that, I will share a little of my back-story to help you decide.
I came to specialise in difficult blocks as clients approached me to design their new home having already purchased their site. Often their choice was one with difficulties they had no idea they’d purchased. It was only after seeing me, that I to break the news. Without the training of an architect they weren’t to know. However in solving the challenges of these sites, I found these projects to be my favourites, pushing me to think differently, creating my most unique and inventive designs.
The reason for writing my book ‘A Block in a Hard Place’ was to make more people aware of what difficulties exist, how to overcome them to ensure they made a choice that could accommodate the home they want, but also be able to identify when it won’t work for you, so you know when to walk away. This is because some of the limitations that exist can prevent people from realising their dream home. Given a property is one of the most (if not the most) expensive purchases you will ever make; it is not something you want to leave to chance.
To make a wrong choice will cost you not just in terms of time, but also money. Having to re-list a property back onto the market, which you just purchased, will no doubt make other potential buyers weary. Assuming you can sell the property for the same amount, you will still lose money on stamp duty and agents commission: a significant amount of money to lose.
The most sensible approach is to seek an architect’s advice before purchasing. As every property is different to the next, so there isn’t one answer that is relevant to every scenario. Don’t risk it, get expert advice first.
Some of the properties I’ve seen for clients in the last few weeks I have told them to walk away from and keep looking. In most these instances I could have worked around the problems, however the added complexity to do so, meant a significant added expense. By continuing to look for another property that would make the task a lot simpler, without that added expense.
The flip side of this, is that many blocks with obvious problems such as noise, lack of sunlight etc can sell for significantly less, and with a clever design can be completely resolved for the same sort of money as a problem free block; in the end saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. How to know if this is the case? Ask an architect.
The key is to choose your battles. Yes the issues of many blocks can be overcome, but at what added expense is the key. Having your architect take a look before you put your hand up at the auction, will ensure your home can be realised without compromise and without unnecessary added expense.