Alanah Eriksen

Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's property reporter, and assistant chief reporter.

Remember, it's all about potential

Agents say home-staging wasted on Grey Lynn house because its value will be obvious despite the mess.

The Grey Lynn villa, which has a 2011 council valuation of $890,000, is home to artists and musicians.
The Grey Lynn villa, which has a 2011 council valuation of $890,000, is home to artists and musicians.

Real estate agent Jason Trowbridge didn't bother tidying up the rooms for the photos of the Grey Lynn villa he's trying to sell - he says any likely buyers will see past the mess.

His listing for the four-bedroom do-up on Grosvenor St shows rooms with blankets as curtains, empty bottles in the living room, boxes and furniture blocking the hallways and bedrooms so messy, barely any wall or floor space can be seen.

Built in 1908, the property has its original kitchen and bathroom. Outside, a back fence is covered in graffiti.

But Mr Trowbridge believes no home-staging is needed.

Located in a suburb where the average house price is $959,700 - a jump of 34.6 per cent in three years - the house was in a prime location with city views and sitting on a 481sq m section.

"It's a typical home that's being marketed in its condition.

"This situation is, this is a home full of opportunistic value so the real buyers can see past everything. You can't hide what it is.

"This is a property that somebody's going to add value to, they're going to add their own touch to it, they're going to turn it into whatever they want to."

He had been selling homes in the area for 23 years.

Occupied by tenants - who Mr Trowbridge described as "artists and musicians" - property records show it was bought in March 2009 for $651,500.

It now has a council valuation of $890,000, but that was set in 2011 before house prices skyrocketed.

A new four-bedroom home on the same road with the same-sized section had sold recently for $2.35 million.

The house in Grosvenor St was built  in 1908 and still has its original kitchen and bathroom.
The house in Grosvenor St was built in 1908 and still has its original kitchen and bathroom.

Real Estate Institute chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said the marketing tactic wouldn't have worked a few years ago when properties were taking much longer to sell, prices had dipped and the country was in a recession.

"In that part of town, I really do think they'll see past the mess. In 2008, you'd have had to really clean it up and present it as a liveable property. But the reality is, there's an enormous amount of potential there and people would be buying the potential, not the current look and feel."

But she said the photos still stunned her.

"The only time I've seen a property similar to this, it was in the middle of nowhere and it was billed as 'Please rescue me'.

"You'd have to do a lot of work on a place like that. With home-staging, first you'd have to clean it out from top to bottom. Home-staging doesn't usually start with a skip."

The house would appeal to "Ma and Pa investors", developers, first-home buyers or a family wanting to put their own spin on the home, Mr Trowbridge said.

"It's one of the few properties I've handled over the last 23 years that really is a blank canvas."

Mr Trowbridge said the property would be "pushing well over $1 million". It will go to auction tomorrow.

"I've had a lot of attention from all sorts of people ... so we're expecting a big auction."

- NZ Herald

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