Burnt down houses are getting popular as buyers try to snatch bargains
There is often no roof, windows or doors — but houses burnt down to just shells of blackened timbers have become coveted properties as home seekers scramble for the chance to get a red hot bargain.
A variety of fire-damaged homes are set to go to auction in June and real estate agents claim their phones have been ringing off the hook with inquiries from buyers keen to rebuild them.
Many of the homes would require hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs to make them inhabitable, but buyers remain undeterred, the agents said.
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They’re now expecting a big buyer turnout when the homes go under the hammer this June and the stiff competition could spark bidding wars that would drive the prices up.
A house in the Central Coast suburb of Berkeley Vale destroyed in a 2017 fire will go to auction next week with a price guide of $250,000-$300,000 — more than half the price of inhabitable homes of the same size.
Police became aware of the fire two years ago while conducting a vehicle stop on Wyong Rd.
Once the inferno was out it became apparent the property was used to cultivate marijuana and evidence of a hydroponic cannabis crop of up to 500 plants was discovered inside.
Selling agent Philip Martin of First National-The Entrance said the property “wasn’t for the faint-hearted”.
“There’s no roof any more … the damage is extensive,” he said, adding that most buyers making inquiries wanted to flip the home and resell it.
“Since the election we’ve been getting a lot of calls. Plenty of buyers want it,” Mr Martin said.
A North Parramatta house also burnt in a fire will go to auction the same day with expectations of selling for about $700,000, according to selling agent Chloe Hurley of Starr Partners-Parramatta.
Ms Hurley said she was not sure what the interior of the home at 5 Rose Crescent looked like as it was too unsafe to go inside.
Drone footage revealed much of the roof was burnt away in the fire, which was understood to have been started accidentally by a past tenant.
“Interest has been huge,” Ms Hurley said. “One guy told us he was specifically looking for a fire-damaged home to restore.”
Ten contracts of sale have been issued on the house. Most inquiries were from bargain hunters, Ms Hurley said. “Houses in the area usually sell for about $1.1 million to $1.2 million,” she said.
Past sales suggested fire-damaged homes tended to sell for higher than their condition would suggest.
Last week a house in Fairfield West damaged in a drive-by attack sold at auction for $750,000 — well above initial price expectations of $600,000.
The home required about $200,000-$300,000 in repair work, mostly in the living areas.
Sixteen buyers registered for the auction and selling agent David Perco of Ray White-Wetherill Park said buyers had been drawn by the chance to get a lower price, but stiff competition drove the price up.
A burnt house in Hoxton Park in southwest Sydney sold in April for $622,000, which was also above expectations.
Selling agent John Gymellas of Raine and Horne-Bexley said most buyers thought they could get the property under-market but the increased interest instead sparked a bidding frenzy.