Location Location Location: The important things in life

Location Location Location: The important things in life
Location Location Location: The important things in life

Last night's episode of Location Location Location showed two pairs of uncertain upgraders who needed to figure out their priorities.

Buyer's agent Bryce Holdaway teamed up with petrophysicist Jane and her partner, self-identified geek and IT professional Brian. The Perth couple hoped to move in together, but despite many home inspections, were yet to make the jump.

They were after a house with three or more bedrooms, to give each of them plenty of independent space. There had to be a media room for Brian, plenty of quiet reading space for Jane, and a short commute to the city for her work. For all that, the couple could pay up to $1.2 million.

With no particular location or style in mind, Bryce was tasked with testing the couples limits and determining their priorities.

First stop was Maylands, on the banks of the Swan River. The four bedroom, two bathroom house with a games room - and its own spa room, off the en suite - was on the market for $995,000.

It initially made a good impression on Brian and Jane, but Brian's reservations about the area were enough to have it struck from the list - and so the couple were one step closer to figuring out what they really wanted in a home.

Next, Bryce took them to Mount Hawthorn, one of Brian and Jane's preferred suburbs. The 1930s bungalow's facade gave Brian some doubts, but the renovated interior won him over. Jane especially loved the character of the house, with its exposed brick and polished concrete floors. Brian was more keen on the home's recreation spaces.

The three bedroom, two bedroom open plan house was listed with a price guide of $1,249,000 - almost $50,000 above their budget.

The third option was a house in South Freemantle with cathedral style timber ceilings and loft areas. At $1,175,000, the house fell within their price range. Unfortunately, the location would mean a 45 minute commute for Jane, and it too dropped off their radar - it seemed that for this couple, location was more important than they thought.

Lastly, Brian and Jane checked out Mount Lawley, a suburb in high demand (and much closer to Jane's work). The 1930s period home, with four bedrooms, a games room and open plan living room was just a seven minute drive to the city. But the house's position and dark interior was enough to turn the couple off, despite its convenience.

So style and layout was important to Brian and Jane too - as was price. With a $1,259,000 price guide, the couple would have needed to really love the home to make an offer.

In the end, they decided that Mount Hawthorn was the house for them - but they couldn't move on their budget. So Bryce put in an initial offer of $1.2 million, but the bid wasn't enough to take it off the market. The vendors needed a $1.22 million offer to convince them to cancel the planned open for inspection.

But Brian and Jane decided to stick to their guns - $1.2 million was their hard limit and they weren't going above it. From then, it was a waiting game - one that they won. The vendors received no other offers and they secured the house, pictured below, for $1.2 million.

Location Location Location: The important things in life

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Meanwhile, Veronica Morgan was helping out personal assistant Suzie and her daughter Kate. Suzie was after a radical tree change, and was after a home in Mullimbimby, 18 kilometres north-west of Byron Bay.

But the self-proclaimed emotional buyer wasn't just after a holiday home - she wanted to run a vegan bed and breakfast and an animal sanctuary from her new property.

Veronica first took the pair to a 15 acre Mullumbimby property. At first, it seemed perfect. Its sprawling gardens and elevated position gave it beautiful views, it had a four bedroom main house where Suzie could operate the bed and breakfast and a detached self contained studio and pool for the guests. At $759,000, it was well within Suzie's $850,000 budget.

But though Suzie loved the house's surroundings, her enthusiasm stopped as soon as she walked inside. She had an instinctive bad reaction to the design of the house's lower level, reporting that she was keen on cathedral ceilings and timber lined walls.

So it was off to a converted 1930s church, with lots of open plan space. There were two large bedrooms up one end and a third in a reclaimed loft. There was also a cabin on the property for guests.

Despite her enthusiasm, Bryce and Veronica had concerns over Suzie's ability to maintain the 8 acre property. However, she maintained that she had a plan: have someone take care of the property and live in a cabin rent free.

Veronica had her doubts, so took Suzie and Kate to another converted church - this time, a weatherboard that needs some maintenance. It was located, however, on a much more manageable 1 acre plot. The three bedroom house is very popular with Kate, but Suzie isn't so sure. When pressed about the property's impressive kitchen, she admits that she's not that keen on the cooking aspect of running a bed and breakfast.

The episode demonstrated that purchasing a commercial property is more complicated than one might imagine. In order to be certain about purchasing a business property, you must first be certain about your business - and Suzie certainly wasn't.

In the end, she dramatically changed her business plan and the kind of property she was after. After a change of heart, she purchased a three bedroom cabin weatherboard on 2.5 acres in Huonbrook (pictured below).

Location Location Location: The important things in life

At $380,000, she could afford to make an emotional decision, and did.

Though it was a spur of the moment decision, Suzie was very happy with it. And as an emotional buyer, that's all she could ask for.

Five things to learn from this episode of Location Location Location:

  1. Know your limit.
    Brian and Jane knew that $1.2 million was their hard limit, and they weren't intimidated by the prospect of competition.
  2. Wait and see.
    After putting in an initial bid at the top of their budget, the couple didn't have any room to move, so were forced to wait to observe what other buyers would do. Remember, you can only control your offers, not your competitors'.
  3. Learn by looking.
    Both sets of buyers thought they were flexible, but once they began inspecting properties, it turned out they had requirements they hadn't considered. Don't waste too much time behind a computer screen - the only way you'll be able to really figure out what you want is by seeing properties in person.
  4. Know your business.
    Suzie was unsure about what kind of property she wanted from the start - and it turned out she was unsure about her business plan, too. While she has the luxury of time and an extra $520,000 (thanks to her low-priced purchase) to let her business plan grow "organically", not everyone has that option.
  5. Be open to compromise
    From the beginning, Suzie was sure that she would know the property she wanted as soon as she saw it. We're not all so lucky - for most purchasers, some kind of compromise has to be made. Brian wasn't keen on the Mount Hawthorn home's 1930s exterior at first, but its internal layout won him over.
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