Up for trade: $775,000 three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with pool
Burned by the “crazy” housing market, a Taranaki man looking to downsize hopes to avoid the stress of a traditional home sale and swap his home for another.
John Lawson owns a three-bedroom, two-bathroom Lockwood with pool in the family-friendly New Plymouth suburb of Upper Vogeltown, where he lives with his dog Astrix.
“It’s what I would call a family home,” Lawson said. “But it just doesn’t meet my needs.”
That’s why he wants to sell it and buy another house.
But Lawson is struggling in the current “seller’s market” and worries that he won’t be able to find another home soon enough after selling his. Or at the right price.
* Taranaki home prices are rising, but the future remains difficult to predict
* There are strong signs that the housing market is easing – QV
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“The danger is that I could sell this house quite easily, but then where do I go, what do I do,” said the father-of-one.
“When you’re buying, you’re competing with all these offers, and the seats are selling out at crazy prices.”
Lawson is looking for a low-maintenance section that he can “lock up and leave” and roam the country.
He visited many open houses and even made an offer for a house with an asking price of $500,000 – but it cost over $700,000.
For months, Lawson wondered if he would ever be able to sell and then buy another home he could afford before having to leave his own. Then he had the idea to avoid this rush by exchanging his house with someone else.
He had never heard of anyone doing a home swap before and admitted it was an ‘outside the box’ thought, but decided to give it a shot.
“The plan is to find a place to move in straight away,” Lawson said. “I’m open to a straight trade – or cash out as I please.
“I love this house, I’m not going to give it away.”
The “beautiful little” 1981 two-story house features an open plan kitchen, living and dining room, double garage and a decent sized deck, with a pool on one side and a grassy section on the other.
Lawson paid $535,000 for it, having fallen in love with it as soon as it walked through the door, and two agents who visited it recently said it would be worth around $200,000 more today.
According to realestate.co.nz, the house is now worth $776,000.
The most recent figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, from December, show that the median property price in New Plymouth is $680,000.
Lawson said the “ideal situation” would be to trade with someone who had a smaller house with a two-car garage (or room to build one) that was worth about the same as their own.
“If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but you can only try.”
He posted photos of his home and his swap hopefuls on social media last week.
“I got a lot of responses, probably about 100 people in two days,” Lawson said. “I had a few people who thought they were going to get a good deal. I would ask them to be realistic.