Hometruths Fifteen

ht15

Melbourne’s inner-north is rather like Twin Peaks at the moment. Which is – in its own Lynchian way – not unfamiliar. The inner north has all the coffee (hot and black as midnight a la Dale Cooper) it could ever want and all the baked goods it can handle. I know those are the things that want to eat before I go Hometruths-ing.

The inner north also shares a TwinPeaks-ians paranoia – although in our case it’s not to do with owls in the forest, or mystical ancient beings. Our paranoia is of a property-related nature, fuelled by the ancient mystic being of jealousy and worry about being priced out of our community. In today’s Hometruths, we spend time hanging out in Brunswick East (image above, snapped at famous Mirabella lighting) before heading to a popular auction on Warburton Street in Brunswick proper. I even made a little video for you to enjoy, too!

ht151

Newly opened, did you know that

Lygon St now has its own nursery? The (aptly named) Lygon St. Nursery has a beautiful selection of indoor-and-outdoor plants in their cute shopfront and rear garden sanctuary. It reminded me of the Ruby Slipper studio where I shot these editorial pictures amongst our own interior foliage, featuring Alpha60 clothing and a whole lot of cobalt blue. To see more from this edit on our sister site, click here.

ht152

As you head up Lygon Street away from the cemetery,  you’ll soon see that the block near Barkly St to Glenlyon Rd has become increasingly fancy. With popular bakeries such as the much-loved Sugardough (where I had a piping hot chai and a oozingly-raspberry bomboloni to keep my auction-going energies up), newly-interred Jimmi Jamz and old favourite Small Block, this portion of Brunswick East is deeply gentrified when compared with its wild counsin-to-the-west, Sydney Road. The surrounding streets are a mixture of tightly-packed weatherboards, brick veneers and townhouses, in various states of repair. Well-serviced by tramlines, shopping and popular schools, this portion of the inner-north is fiercely competitive  and desirable when it comes to property.

IMG_2006

Red coats and old Melbourne laneways on my way to the Warburton Street auction.

ht153

A traditional family home in the Victorian style, 3 Warburton Street has undergone a relatively new renovation which provided an open-plan living and dining to the rear of the property. Immediately comfortable and benefiting from position and a rear garden, this home was popular although far from extraordinary. The popularity (and gigantic sales price achieved, but more on that later) of this property was due to position and amenity. Held by one family for 20-odd years, the punters attending the auction this weekend were mostly young families.

ht154

Drizzle and the street-theatre of the Saturday auction.

IMG_2018

Called by veteran Nelson Alexander agent Nicholas West, the auction was smooth, civil and fast with bidders coming to the party swiftly. Nick made known that he had sold this property to the current owners 20 years ago. I know. He doesn’t look old enough to have been selling this property 20 years ago. #fountainofyouth?

IMG_2028

Sold under the hammer with stiff competition from  multiple bidders, the 3 Warburton Street home reached just over $1,400,000.

As I walked away from the auction, I overheard couples quietly commiserating with one another about the prices now being achieved for relatively-humble properties in the inner-north. The feeling of anxiety pinged through the air over the babble of kits and iPhones pinging. Dear reader, the days of families being able to afford a three bedroom home as first home owners are long gone. At least, in Brunswick and its immediate surrounds they are. My advice to you? Buy now. Buy something. If you can afford to. Whatever you buy doesn’t need to be a forever home … just somewhere that is comfortable enough, close to things that you and others love, that will be easily sold once you’ve grown out of it. What you need to become a property owner at prices like $1.4 million is a history of buying, starting with something small.

Buyers at the $1.4 million dollar bracket haven’t reached their potential overnight. They are usually couples who are older, with a good twenty-odd years of buying (and capital growth) behind them. So think about a two bedder in Coburg, Reservoir, Preston. Maybe a  two-bedroom apartment if you’d like to be closer in. Avoid the panic and feelings of property paranoia, and above all, victim-hood. If you’re a young family looking to buy, you’re not being doddled out of a bargain by an agent or a greedy owner. It’s time that’s your enemy here – the time that your competitors have spent growing their wealth. You just haven’t had time in the market yet, that’s all. Begin by hooking into the market at a level you can afford and take advantage of the low-interest rates and capital growth in the long-term that being a property owner grants you.

Advertisements

Home Truths Seven

G’day Home Truth pals. Saturday 21st May was one of those days where you just don’t want to get out of bed. Even if you’re a property junkie, or someone hustling auctions all day in the attempt to find a dream home. Nonetheless, it was a better day to be out and about than the previously stormy week with nary a buyer popping their hand in the air. This Saturday was much more forgiving, with two out of the three auctions Home Truths Melbourne attended with live bidding. Enjoy our reviews, and get snacky with our editor’s blow-by-blow of Seven Seeds cafe.

Starting off in Carlton, Editor-In-Chief Iolanthe Gabrie. Slight ceiling eyes effect AKA Audrina Partridge  eyes.

Vibe:  Informed by the big hair of Eurovision and emulating the 80’s-come-art deco quiff of Sean Young in Bladerunner. Hoping for big bidding to be inspired by big hair.

Wearing: Fur Gilet by Forever New, OPI Red My Fortune Cookie, Rubi Shoes boots, Chanel Rouge Coco Rebelle lipstick.

Seven Seeds. Hub for coffee lovers of the hardcore variety of Melbourne. I had been once before about 18 months previously, and I was a little overwhelmed by the seriousness of the space with dedicated coffee tasting rooms and several different methods of filtering the good stuff. This is more representative of my low-key attitude to coffee (and being in Melbourne, there’s a lot of good joe around anyway) rather than any criticism of Seven Seeds. My return to the low-key facade on Berkeley Street, Carlton was very different to my first experience. A little like a speakeasy, you approach Seven Seeds from a non-descript entry and are drawn into a blonde wood panelled, lofty space just full to bursting with breakfasting Melbournites.

No fancy exteriors here. Instead, the Australian-style modern design is saved for the interior – my breakfast table was decorated with…

… an elegant single, fuzzy protea and a medicine jar of fresh water.

There was an extensive and creative menu, with mueslis and porridge re-interpreted with local ingredients and unexpected (but delightful!) flavours. I settled for a short black (very, very short – just a couple of spoonfuls, really) which was earthy and creamy and brioche french toast with  blueberry mascarpone and hazelnuts.

Brioche french toast –  with spiced syrup and crispy enough to last me through to the end of a busy day of opens.

We say a resounding yes to Seven Seeds – it’s a great place to stop off if you’re biking your way to an open for inspection in North Melbourne, or perhaps on a journey to the Vic Markets. Friendly staff, extensive menu – a little serious, but deeeeliciously so.

Auction 1: 14/109 Heidelberg Road, Clifton Hill

Time: 10:00 am

Agents: Jellis Craig Clifton Hill, Bev Adam – bevadam@jelliscraig.com.au

Punters: A very mixed bunch of potential buyers at this neat, sunny one bedroom apartment. There were older couples (likely investors), younger single guys and girls and a whole lot of who appeared to be neighbours. These properties appeal to two important sectors of the buyer’s market – making one bedrooms great investments for the long haul.

Review: Located in a quality 1970’s development which is both low-rise and well maintained, this one bedroom unit was a real winner. Beautifully maintained and full of touches that only an owner-occupier would consider – quality kitchen with beautiful wavy red tiling, creamy stone benches – luxurious bathroom,  full laundry and spa-style shower. It also had a carpark on a separate title, as well as natty terrarium-style minimalist gardens. At only $1000 per annum body corporate fees, it represented good buying for a newbie first home owner or a savvy investor type. Simon Shrimpton called the day’s auction, noting and emphasizing to the crowd  all the benefits of the property in detail. A reticent crowd to start off (in fact, all three auctions today started with a vendor bid after much cajoling), Simon called a vendor bid of $330,000 to begin. Shortly thereafter a two low increment bids of $5000 were called, which were accepted by the auctioneer. The buyers clammed up at $340,000 and Simon placed a strategic second vendor bid of $345,000. Although not commonplace previously, secondary vendor bids are becoming more frequent in this marketplace. A bidder who previously hadn’t participated came in at $350,000 – and the property was passed-in to this party and sold for $360,000.

Bev Adam and Simon Shrimpton cutting a stylish swathe in the auction market on Saturday, Heidelberg Road.

Quote: $330,000 – $360,000

Price Sold: $360,000

Auction 2: Charing Terrace – 10/22 Grattan Street, Carlton

Time: 11:00 am

Agent: Thomson, Glen Bartlett

Punters: Charing Terrace is the Fort Knox of Carlton real estate. Nobody goes in and nobody goes out. Well, not quite. But it is a very private (and admittedly very gorgeous) 1980’s development of secluded townhouses. There were many familiar faces of neighbourhood locals in the crowd, and a few family demographic punters that Home Truths have seen at other auctions in the area. It is a very tight-knit body corporate with immaculately maintained grounds – would certainly suit an owner occupier who appreciates privacy and great amenity to the city.

Review: Set towards the rear of the Charing Terrace development is this tri-level townhouse style residence which is immediately homey. Although needing an update internally, the home is very charming and enjoys brilliant natural light and a huge courtyard. The kitchen was a real favorite of ours, with a lovely picture window and a real sense of privacy. It is a large home, with a granny-flat style arrangement on the ground floor – you could remodel the space quite easily. Charing Terrace’s main benefit is the privacy and security of the development mixed with the terrific location. Glen Bartlett was the day’s auctioneer, assisted by Tim Elliot. Glen called a thorough auction, firstly describing the terms of sale (90 days or earlier, body corporate fees of $1839 per half year) and benefits of the property (popularity of Charing Terrace amongst a ‘verdant oasis’). He also made mention of how unusual it was to be able to take 3 cars off the street in Carlton – this particular property had that amenity. Despite encouraging the crowd on, Glen had to make a vendor bid of $920,000. The crowd remained quiet, and the property was passed at that level.

Director of Thomson Real Estate Carlton Glenn Bartlett encouraging the crowd at Charing Terrace.

Price currently: $990,000 private sale

Auction 3: 3/389 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Time: 12:30pm

Agents: Collins Simms, Troy Constantine

Punters: The open for inspection prior to the auction was very busy compared to the other opens Home Truths reviewed on the day. It was chock-a-block full of 30-somethings and young families, looking to buy a home to live in.  There were a few investor-types,  but the overwhelming impression was of owner-occupier interest in this home.

Review: Quite an unusual development- with access from both Lygon Street and the side street the property seemed to be a mixture of single level residences and townhouses with an internal, enclosed courtyard space. Sounds weird? It kinda was. Not bad weird however – just unusual. This apartment was very spacious and brightly lit, located on a corner gave it a further feeling of privacy. Although economically finished, it had terrific storage and nicely fitted bathrooms. The location of the residence was terrific – right near public transport to the city and close to the strip of new cafes in Brunswick East. There was definitely room here to raise a small family comfortably. Collins Simms stalwart and all-round lovely guy Stephen Whitelaw was the day’s auctioneer, and he made a calm and conversational call. Stephen made a real effort to communicate simply and honestly with the crowd – the current buyer’s market can be unnecessarily nervous and often negative about property value. Stephen spoke about the benefits of the property, the terms of offer and even handled a question on the fly about storage cages and the body corporate.  Stephen got the auction going with a vendor bid (after a short period of asking for natural bidding) at $480,000. This was swiftly followed up by a live bid at $485,000. Similarly to Jellis Craig’s Simon Shrimpton, Stephen made a second vendor bid once the auction stalled at $520,000. Another live bid ensued at $521,000 and the property was passed into this buyer. The vendor appears to be $29,000 away from making a sale – so let’s hope that home will be sold to a happy new owner occupier soon.

Price Currently: $550,000 private sale

Collins Simms Director Stephen Whitelaw and sales agent Troy Constantine chatting to the crowd.

Home Truths Four

Can you handle the truth? We’re back again for another Home Truths Melbourne roll of the dice on Saturday 9th April 2011, taking the temperature (ahem) of the local auction market and culture around property sales and buying. This week we have a diverse range of auctions, from a State Trustees number in Carlton North through to a tri-level townhouse in the depths of Brunswick. You voted for this week’s breakfast review (choices were Proud Mary, Birdman Eating and Cavallero), and we enjoyed a suitably delicious repast at Cavallero. We also enjoyed the company of Melbourne Property Manager extraordinaire Vicki Lekanis today, who answered our ‘One Hot Minute, My Breakfast’s Getting Cold’ questions about leasing and renting. Here’s this week’s Home Truths Melbourne.

Starting out in Carlton (La Mama, Courthouse Venue on Drummond Street), Editor in Chief Iolanthe Gabrie

Vibe: Enjoying the cool Tasmanian-style sunshine on a blustery Saturday. Sans Spirit of Tasmania heaving.

Wearing: Scanlan & Theodore Skirt, Threadless T-Shirt, Rubi Shoes, Tilkah necklace.

First stop of the day – Cavallero, 300 Smith Street in Collingwood.

I was so happy that you crazy Home Truths Melbourne kids chose Cavallero for our breakfast review, as I hadn’t been and the vaulted high ceilings and elegant ironwork front doors had been a-callin’ for quite some time. Plus, I was meeting my good friend and property manager extraordinaire Vicki Lekanis for the first of our Saturday morning ‘One Hot Minute, My Breakfast’s Getting Cold’ interviews. Double happiness. When I arrived at Cavallero I swiftly found a seat in the front window and was offered a coffee  – the soy latte came quickly.  

Nice dramatic iron door, huh? The soy latte was nutty and suitably strong…. giving me inspiration to peruse the extensive menu with artwork by Toby Pola on the back (below).

It was sweet sailing for me though, with not a rainbow vomit in sight!

The interior of Cavallero is elegant, with beautiful airy mahogany ceilings, plush padded booths and an outdoor courtyard. It is somewhat at odds with its central location on Smith Street (near Woolies and Gluttony) – it feels like Cavallero would be more at home on Gertrude Street which has become slightly more gentrified. However, it was full of fashionable young types which shows that a cultural change along main Smith Street is inexorably occurring.

Vicki and I ordered without ado, especially enjoying the Wind in the Willows quotes on the menu – a charming touch.

Check out these bad boys – baked eggs in a tomato sugo with fontina cheese, cavolo nero and sourdough bread.

Breakfast trifled with granola, yogurt and poached fruit. Winner!

Whilst nomming our way through these Cavallero treats ( Home Truths gives Cavallero a big thumbs up, go there before you start your next hunt for homes in Collingwood or East Melbourne!), Vicki and I got down to an interview focussing on her expertise in property management. Vicki is the Senior Property Manager for Caine Real Estate, with nearly a decade of experience in managing premium property in Melbourne’s blue chip neighbourhoods. Here are her words of wisdom.

Vicki Lekanis: ‘One Hot Minute, My Breakfast’s Getting Cold’ Interview

Home Truths:

 What is the biggest mistake tenants make in the leasing process?

Vicki Lekanis:

The biggest mistake is looking at too many properties and taking too long to apply. In many cases they might have seen a terrific place on a Friday, which will be leased by the time they get back to us with an application. Speed is important in application! Also, make sure to read texts of advertised properties carefully. Don’t assume that pool and gym amenities are part of the lease, nor the furniture depicted in advertising – clarify these points with your leasing agent. The best approach to leasing a property is to make a shortlist of five things your home must have, and focus on those items first in making your decision.

Home Truths:

What is the biggest mistake landlords make in the leasing process?

Vicki Lekanis:

I’d have to say the biggest mistake landlords make is choosing an agent based on their fee rather than their skill. I have clients that might be happy with my service but will want to argue over fees that might ultimately amount to the price of a coffee a week. Choose an agent that is relevant to the area, has a track record in their business, has a great team with suitably systems and processes in place and ask to see examples of their work – condition reports, routine inspections etc. There are lots of agents that will just do a ‘tick and flick’ form which doesn’t stand up in tribunals – a thorough agent will always make detailed notes for their landlords. Ultimately you will get what you pay for in property management services.

Home Truths:

Are open for inspections on Saturdays necessary for property management?

Vicki Lekanis:

I find that in East Melbourne lots of  our younger, professional clientele find coming to open for inspections after work the most convenient for them. When we do open for inspections on Saturdays, we don’t usually get the crowds of potential tenants we experience mid-week. I am all about doing open for inspections during the week and getting the property leased for the landlord before the weekend arrives.

Home Truths:

What is one unexpected thing that has come from your work in property management?

Vicki Lekanis:

I have to say that everyone you meet is a prospective client, and I’m finding at the moment my biggest referrers are my tenants! Agents often forget about tenants are simply think they’re annoying, always asking for maintenance. My philosophy is that you should treat all clients the way you’d like to be treated – you’ll never know where your next business is coming from.

Auction 1: 763 Drummond Street, Carlton North

Classic hawthorn-brick styling on this elevated Carlton North terrace.

Agents: Woodards & State Trustees, Danny D’Orazio

Time: 11:00 am

Punters: What a blustery and oddly mild morning –  the very substantial crowd is testament to Melbournian’s natural love and curiosity of the auction process. Lots of neighbours present having a chat… it did appear that there was a quite a bit of browsing at all the auctions we attended today. The feeling of the auction didn’t have that high-charged ready-to-do-business vibe. This particular home would be suitable for those wanting to renovate or extend, but we didn’t see many developers in the crowd either.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel… let down your hair! 763 Drummond Street’s next-door neighbour is the Albanian Australian Islamic Society. What a tower!

Review: 763 Drummond Street is located in a premium section of Carlton North, very close to the Rathdowne Village and other amenities. The home itself was elegantly elevated, guaranteeing any future owner years of enjoyable evenings with a cup of tea on the balcony surveying their kingdom. The interior of the home needed substantial work, but the size of the land was impressive with room for expanding the living space if necessary. The home was auctioned by Danny D’Orazio, representing the vendors who were State Trustees. Danny called a strong auction, impressing upon the crowd the benefits of the residence and its suitability for renovation. He also made it clear that a State Trustees auction meant business, and that his clients were committed to selling the property. The crowd remained silent, and Danny called a vendor bid of $800,000 – noting ‘even the council would buy it for that!’. There was one natural bid from the crowd at $805,000 before Danny called a second vendor bid at $900,000 and passing the property in. We hope that this beautiful home finds an owner to restore it to its former beauty!

Woodards’ Auctioneer and Listing Agent Danny D’Orazio giving a shout out to the crowd.

Auction 2: 30 Ryan Street, Brunswick

Agent: Jellis Craig, Simon Shrimpton on 0411 889 577

Time: 12:00 noon

Punters: Ryan Street is a narrow locale hidden behind the bustle of Nicholson Street, and it was looking mighty quiet at this open for inspection until 10 minutes before the auction. All of a sudden lots of prams wheeled out of nowhere and there was a good crowd of families looking for their next home! No renovators here, or newbie buyers – solid family investors were afoot.

Auctioneer and listing agent Simon Shrimpton encouraging the family crowd to raise their hands.

Review: I haven’t seen a house represent such good buying for a loooong time. And by ‘represent good value’, I mean that it ticks the suitability box for its key demographic – family buyers. Relatively new, this tri-level townhouse was built to a good quality and features three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a divided living area, plus parking for two. What more do you need if you want to live near the city and public transport – and all at the very reasonable quote range of $660,000 to $700,000? Simon Shrimpton called an engaging auction to a pretty chilly crowd – he really knew his stock and mentioned the potential rental of the property being $580 – $630 per week, also playing up the benefits of the home having no body corporate fees. Simon also mentioned a recent sale on Ivory Way (very nearby, part of the same development) which was an identical townhouse that sold for $717,500. Despite inspiring banter from the auctioneer, no bid came forth from the crowd causing Simon to call a vendor bid at $660,000. Simon then encouraged the crowd to ‘have a good think about what you are doing here today’ before making the auction rules clear regarding the benefits of being the highest bidder. The property was eventually passed in at $680,000 and is now available for private sale at $710,000. Have you got one or two kiddiliwinks? Make sure to check out this gem and move into a comfy family home – it’s just near CERES too!

Auction Pitstop: Milkwood, 120 Nicholson Street Brunswick East

 

A journalist can get very thirsty on a run, so we stopped off at the quaint and very ‘Brunswicky’ Milkwood. What a tiny cafe, bursting with happy afternoon munchers. We enjoyed a Phoenix organic lemonade before going on our merry way. Home Truths will plan a breakfast outing here in the future to try some of the delights on offer at Milkwood. This particular part of Brunswick is really enjoying a re-birth with lots of edgy and quaint cafes and arts spaces opening up.

Look at that sweet white-washed interior, stocked high with treats and denizens of Brunswick.

Gee, it’s almost like you’re right here with us drinking organic lemonade, friend.

Auction 3: 214 McKean Street, Fitzroy North

Agents: Nelson Alexander, Peter Stephens

Time: 1:00pm

Punters: What a mixed bag of lollies here. The home had a mix of qualities, but had no distinct buyer demographic as such. It needed extensive internal remodelling, although it had a first-class location and some very charming internal features to enjoy. Ultimately the kind of home an investor might purchase and put a tenant into as-is (an addition to a super portfolio perhaps?) or a owner-builder might move into and do work on stage-by-stage. Probably not enough ‘meat on the bone’ for a professional developer to consider.

Review: This little home was in a superb location in Fitzroy North – just around the corner from Queen’s Parade and amenities, but also located on prestigious McKean Street. Nestled amongst many imposing and grand terraces (and a church!) this  little one bedroom house is the ugly duckling amongst black swans. Auctioneer Arch Staver made much of this ‘ugly duckling’ factor, highlighting that buying the least attractive house on the most prestigious street was ‘investment buying 101’. The house had been strangely remodelled into a one bedroom with walk-in-robes, a generous slate-floored living room leading to a very charming kitchen (with cellar for wine, collection of John Farnham EP’s etc) and cute courtyard. Quite livable as is, but ripe for a renovation. The auction punters were very cagey, with nary a hand raised in the air despite Arch’s encouragement. A vendor bid was called at $650,000 with rises requested at $10,000 a time – to no avail. The home was passed in on a vendor bid and is now available for private sale at $700,000.

L-R: The charming listing agent Peter Stephens and Arch Staver, sharp Auctioneer.

And so ends Home Truths’ journey throughout Melbourne’s auction market. We hope that you enjoyed the ride and picked up some trends from our reports. Remember – in a weekend where properties pass in, there is always a great opportunity for an intelligent buyer to negotiate a home for a fair price. Get to it!

See you next week, Home Truthers!

*Home Truths Melbourne has gathered this information to provide an interesting document for readers and subscribers. Information contained herein is gathered from a range of sources including but not limited to; local press both virtual and hardcopy, Valuer General Information & Agents own investigations. All efforts are made to verify the information provided. The information is not to be relied upon or used in dealings with third parties and people should make their own investigations regarding their own property or personal circumstances. Opinions and observations offered should not be treated as fact.