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Turning a negative location into a positive

By Georgina Mann

A building site next door, a busy road nearby or a train station in earshot – potential turn-offs for buyers don’t have to spell disaster for a property sale.

Samantha Payne says vendors, with the help of their agent, can overcome a property’s negative aspects using a combination of tactics.

Payne, the vice-president of the Australian chapter of the International Real Estate Federation, says development in an area should be promoted, not talked down, when marketing a property for sale. It’s about flipping a perceived negative into a positive.

Construction, roadworks, new transport infrastructure and facility upgrades equal progress and in the long run, a more desirable place to live and invest, Payne says.

Schools, transport and shopping are very important to most people.

Subiaco – a popular inner-city neighbourhood just west of downtown Perth, where the median house price is $1,275,000 – is a perfect example at present, she says.

“There is a lot happening; water mains are being upgraded, roads are closed, there is lots of building work and the NBN is going in at the same time. There is a huge amount going on, but ultimately it means more people want to live here, so that’s a positive and drives up prices, not pushes them down,” Payne says.

“It can be a double-edged sword of course, but you have to sell based on the positivity of what’s going on in the area, the infill that’s happening and the changing demographics to a more hipster, trendy professional group.”

New transport infrastructure especially will bring more people to an area, so again drive prices up, not down. The location is more readily accessible – and train stations often come complete with things like retail spaces and coffee shops, which people want – so it can be a selling point,” she says.

If vendors have a building site next door, Payne recommends disclosing it, but also researching when work will be finished, so buyers know.

No one likes the sound of construction first thing in the morning. Picture: Getty Images

Payne says good agents keep across what’s happening with potential rezoning and other changes which impact land use, to keep buyers and sellers informed.

With “true” negatives like a noisy road or poor outlook, vendors need to take remedial action to address the problem – like adding screens and double-glazing windows – but remain realistic about their asking price.

“When it’s all said and done, if there is a negative aspect you can’t change, that has to be reflected in the price.”

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