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How to indentify an ugly duckling property

Being able to spot an “ugly duckling” – a property which presents badly, but has the potential to be great – is a fine art. It can be learned, though.

How to indentify an ugly duckling property


Ugly ducklings are often overlooked because they look like hard work.

But many can be transformed into beautiful, profitable swans, with just "a little imagination and paint”. It’s about seeing past what a property looks like, to what it could look like.

The trick is to go for homes that are actually visually appealing, but they have ugly parts to them

Buyers should look for a property with "surface” problems only; which can be quickly and simply rejuvenated, without great expense.

Getting pest and building inspections done will flag up any major issues – like big plumbing or structural problems – which you really want to avoid as they can be costly. Keep it simple and go for a property that can be updated without too much work.

Here’s how you can spot a good ugly duckling: The bones of the building are good. The cupboards are in good condition and the benchtop can be transformed with a benchtop kit and new door handles.

Research about how much any work will cost and don’t get too emotionally invested.

In many cases, a property’s "ugliness” is down to bad paint.

Either the paint colour is out-of-date or was just the wrong choice in the beginning. But new paint is an easy fix, although it’s important to estimate the cost, as it can cost $5000 to paint a full house interior.

Old-fashioned gardens can also date a property, but with a few tweaks, they can be "changed up fast” too.

Morrissey explains a few other ways to quickly improve an ugly duckling, for those looking to sell quickly.

Change the garage door to a more modern door or outside, add a modern, but cost-effect shade sail, using the existing home and fence posts to add a modern feel.

On the interior, keep the quirks. Especially if you have a 1950 or 60s bathroom that is sound but just needs a cosmetic makeover.

Also, with great products like benchtop transformation kits available, home owners can re-rejuvenate their kitchen for as little as $1000