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Property buyer snaps up ‘free’ house despite warning sign

The retro house fell into disrepair after sitting unoccupied for 20 years, the real estate agent said.

An ominous sign warning people to “keep out” wasn’t enough to deter one buyer from snapping up this coastal property.

Located in Batemans Bay on the NSW south coast, the retro two-bedroom home was advertised as coming “free” with the land, given it would need to be fully renovated.

The property sold for $400,000 via LJ Hooker Batemans Bay, making it roughly a quarter of the price of the median Sydney home - nearly $1.6 million - according to Domain.

Free property in Batemans Bay
The house was advertised as "free" with the land, given the new property owners will need to fully renovate. (Source: LJ Hooker)

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Real estate agent Karen Van Der Stelt told Yahoo Finance the property had been vacant for 20 years and had fallen into disrepair after being “basically forgotten about”.


“It’s got a flat roof and one of the guys went up to clean the roof and his leg went through the roof,” Van Der Stelt said.

“They took a photo and there was about 20 centimetres of debris and branches on the roof so there was quite a bit of leaking on the roof.”


Van Der Stelt said she went to local builders to see how much a basic repair of the house would cost, but some were put off by the job.

“Three local builders said, ‘We’re not touching it. They can [bull]doze it’,” she told Yahoo Finance, adding that other builders said the job would be a lot of work.

“It has a leaky roof, none of the windows closes, everyone kept vandalising it. It was literally the worst house on the street.”

Batemans Bay property
The property has been left unoccupied for 20 years. (Source: LJ Hooker)
Batemans Bay property
It has a leaky roof and none of the windows close. (Source: LJ Hooker)

Van Der Stelt said the new buyers, who paid in cash, were planning to do a full renovation of the property and make it a holiday home. They have already hired an architect and tradespeople for the job.

She noted the property had received interest from other buyers who were also keen to “save” the property and undertake a renovation project.

Van Der Stelt estimated it would cost around $200,000 to do a full renovation of the house, meaning the new owners were looking at a $600,000 total cost.

Batemans Bay property kitchen
Here's a look inside the house's kitchen. (Source: LJ Hooker)
Batemans Bay property bathroom
And the bathroom. (Source: LJ Hooker)

The home is less than one kilometre from the Catalina golf course and under 5 minutes to the Batemans Bay shopping and cafe precinct, marine and foreshore.

The average price for a three-bedroom house in Batemans Bay is $620,000, according to Domain data.

Property values rose 0.6 per cent in March, CoreLogic found, marking the 14th month in a row that housing values experienced an upswing. The median value of a property in Australia is now $772,730.

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