In the vast and competitive housing market, finding a property that stands out from the rest can be a daunting task, however, they do exist and hidden gems are scattered throughout the market, waiting to be discovered by savvy homebuyers.
So says Claude McKirby, who adds that although it may seem like searching for a needle in a haystack, properties that possess exceptional value, potential, or unique features which and are often overlooked by the average buyer are out there but one has to know what to look for.
“A hidden gem in real estate generally refers to properties which have excellent potential for value appreciation and, because their qualities that may not be immediately apparent to the average buyer, they are often priced lower than comparable properties, making them a great investment opportunity.”
McKirby says that these properties generally have one or more of the following traits:
- Location advantages: Hidden gems can be found in emerging or undervalued neighbourhoods with potential for growth. These areas may also have convenient access to transportation, amenities, schools, and recreational facilities.
- Unique Architectural (or historical) Features: These homes often stand out from the cookie-cutter designs and offer a distinctive charm that appeals to buyers seeking character and individuality.
- Potential for Renovation or Expansion: A hidden gem can also be a property with untapped potential for renovation or expansion. These homes may require some work but have solid bones, good layout, or ample land that can be transformed into a dream home.
“These are especially good buys if one is trying to build up a property portfolio and so are worth the time and effort it often takes to uncover them,” says McKirby.
He recommends the following steps, with the first being a pivotal starting point for novice investors:
Work with a Knowledgeable Real Estate Agent:
Partnering with a seasoned real estate agent who understands the local market is crucial in uncovering hidden gems. These professionals understand the local market, have access to a network of listings and off-market properties and inside knowledge about emerging neighbourhoods. They can guide you in identifying properties that align with your preferences and budget.
Explore different neighbourhoods, browse online listings, consult local real estate agents and attend open houses to get a feel for the market in your preferred suburbs. By expanding your search beyond popular areas, you increase your chances of discovering hidden gems that might be undervalued due to location or lack of market exposure.
Evaluate the Neighbourhood:
A hidden gem may be nestled within an up-and-coming neighbourhood that has yet to gain widespread attention. Look for areas undergoing revitalisation, where property prices are expected to rise in the future. Consider factors such as proximity to amenities, transportation links, schools, and community development plans. Evaluating the neighbourhood’s potential can help identify hidden gems with long-term value.
Look for Properties with Potential:
Hidden gems often require some vision to recognize their true potential so look for properties that are in need of cosmetic updates or minor renovations. Such properties are more likely to be priced lower, as they may appear less appealing to the average buyer. With a little creativity and investment, these properties can transform into stunning homes or profitable investment properties.
Look for Unique Features:
Properties with potential often boast unique or standout features that make them special. These features can include architectural details, historical significance, expansive views or exceptional outdoor spaces. Properties with distinctive qualities often have strong potential for value appreciation and can be attractive to buyers seeking something out of the ordinary.
Seek Outdated Listings:
Properties that have been on the market for an extended period might hold hidden gem potential. Stale listings can occur for various reasons, such as overpricing, limited marketing or overlooked features. These properties may present an opportunity for negotiation, as sellers may be more motivated to sell. Don’t be discouraged by outdated listings; they could lead you to a hidden gem.
Attend Open Houses and Estate Sales:
Open houses and estate sales can be excellent opportunities to explore hidden gems. Estate sales, in particular, can offer unique properties with significant potential and sellers are often more interested in a quick sale than top Dollar. Keep an open mind and be willing to invest time in attending these events to find properties that others might have missed.
Tap into Local Networks:
Establishing connections with local residents, real estate agents, and other industry professionals can provide valuable insights and help uncover hidden gems. Local residents often have knowledge about properties that may not be widely advertised or may not yet have been listed. Real estate agents who specialize in specific neighbourhoods can offer guidance on properties that are off the beaten path but possess exceptional value.
“Remember, these properties may not immediately stand out but with patience and due diligence, you’ll be well on your way to finding your own hidden gem in the housing market,” concludes McKirby.