Hometruths Fourteen

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Hey. So it’s been a while since you and I met. A while …. like TWO YEARS a while. Why the gap in content? Because of this and this, primarily. But, I’m back with that unusual hybrid of commentary that is Melbourne’s real estate culture. And a culture it is best described as, as any Melbournian worth their salt in Saturday newspapers will tell you. Over breakfast’s clinking cold-drip coffees and brioche french toast, Melbourne’s middle-class discuss their prospects via the mirror of real estate prices, pass-ins and estate agencies.

I myself am a veteran of multiple elements of the real estate culture that is Melbourne. I bought my first home at 21, while working as an estate agent and auctioneer. My husband is an estate agent (a very good one too, mind you). My business creates content that supports some of the best property-related brands in Australia, including agencies, brokers, and businesses that service the real estate industry. I’m also a real estate copywriter. So when it comes to real estate from a bird’s eye view – from within and without – it’s fair to say my commentary on Hometruths offers holistic inquiry into the heartbeat of our collective attraction to property and the value we attach to it.

I can’t promise that Hometruths will be a weekly thing – but I will commit to a return to this project. You can follow Hometruths on Facebook here, and follow us on Twitter @hometruthsmelb. Let’s begin our friendship again, yes?

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One simply can’t face auctions without a full belly, amirite? I started off the day at new hot-thing Hardware Societe on Hardware Street in the city. CBD breakfast naysayers, begone. This joint deserves the hype it enjoys. Featuring a rich Frenchy-Spanish inspired menu, how can you go past fried brioche with lavender panna cotta? I myself had a deliciously filling vanilla rice pudding with salted caramel for breakfast, but will return again on another occasion for more treaty goodness.

For more details on my pre-auction breakfast and Saturday style, visit Ruby Slipper (my arts, culture and style tome – a Top 40 blog in Australian Voices 2014 if you don’t mind 😀 )

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Leave the suits to the agents: wearing H&M woollen hat, Country Road silk dress.

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Auction : 38 Rathdowne Street, Carlton

Time: 11:00 am

Agents: Little Residential, Jeffrey Wilson and Anthony Inglese

Punters: A mostly mature crowd of buyers, with the purchaser represented by a buyer’s agent. Despite the location of this relatively-modern property close to the Carlton Gardens and delights of Lygon Street ( I mean, Readings, Cinema Nova and Brunetti), I wouldn’t have normally thought this property appealing to an older owner – mostly because the bedrooms are both upstairs. Above 55 or 60, most purchasers take their ability to stay in a home long-term into account. Perhaps inner-city location is bringing out the devil-may-care attitude in those who simply want a foothold in a prestigious location.

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Auction: A no-nonsense call by industry veteran (but out-of-neighbourhood agent) Jeffrey Wilson. All biz, no fizz. Good, solid auction without any bells and whistles, but the quick-to-bid punters made Wilson’s job easy. Starting at $750,000 for a two-bedroom home, the auction ran out of competition at around $880,000 before finishing at $892,000. The buyer agent ( I apologise, I do not know who he was) bid excellently, starting things off at a cracking pace and regularly coming back to top any other bidder. This is a great attitude and position to take when attempting to buy at auction. There’s no magic to buying at auction. It’s simply having enough money to purchase the home paired with decisively making your desire for that home known. Forget the game-playing. You’re playing by yourself.

Auction: 5 Chetwynd Place, North Melbourne

Time: 12:30 pm

Agent: Woodards, Anthony Gattuso and Sam Abboud

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Punters: A shifty lot at this auction, all ground-staring and pretending to be busy on the phone. Like a Roman Colosseum, a crowd makes its feelings known with its posture and response to the auctioneer’s call to action (or lack thereof). Five main bidders participated and ‘got the job done’ but there wasn’t a huge amount of energy at the auction for a most desirable property. This is the kind of townhouse I dream of owning, Barbie-Dreamhouse style. It had everything that opened and closed including oodles of marble, sexy kitchen, glass walled bedroom, and a bathroom worthy of a Russian oligarch. The punters had nothing to whinge about with the property itself, but may have had reservations about its location (off a lane) and the surrounding development underway behind it.

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Peering down from above: everyone loves an auction.

Auction Review: Auctioneer Anthony Gattuso is always engaging and highly interactive in his call, weaving story with a powerful voice and giving his auctions the respect they deserve by making them an occasion. Bidders were stingy initially, and the auctioneer refused bids which attempted to break down the rises politely but firmly. Respecting his vendor’s wishes was something Gattuso made clear he prioritized, which is the sign of a sophisticated, confident ringmaster of the auction circus. I did feel for one poor bidder, who looked like the child of someone attempting to bid from elsewhere. The bidder was obviously inexperienced and nervous, hiding their phone behind a jumper and trying to express the proceedings to someone down the line. This approach never works and is very stressful for the person at the auction. Do yourself and your family a favour: hire a professional advocate or build a relationship with an agent you trust to bid on your behalf. In terms of the sale itself, it eeked upwards to $1.250 before finally selling after auction for $1.275. A mighty result for a townhouse on a lane, if I do say so myself.

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Postscript: It’s nice to see you all again. Hometruths will be back again – soonish.

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