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.

38Rath

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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Home Truths Nine

Ah Melbourne. When you’re good you’re very, very good. And when you’re bad you’re horrid. Today Melbourne treated me like a blushing bride being carried over the threshold. Crisp winter air, sunny dappled light at all auctions, impressive food – good traffic. Home Truths Nine is a sweet little tome featuring an upsy-downsy property market and the people who fuel it. Literally and figuratively. We’ve also got a new Agentsays this week, featuring Troy Constantine of Collins Simms in Clifton Hill. Enjoy!

Starting off in Carlton, Editor-in-Chief Iolanthe Gabrie.

Vibe: In honor of the release of the latest Rockstar Games release L.A Noire, I channel 1940’s style with pinrolled curls and a worsted wool KGB style coat – perfectly suitable for a Melbourne winter. Video game fan-girls unite!

Wearing: Worsted woollen coat by Veronika Maine, OPI nailpolish ‘An Affair in Red Square’, Country Road wrap dress and Chanel Coco Mademoiselle.

Hometruths Melbourne Brekky Review: Hellenic Republic, 434 Lygon Street Brunswick East

What a hopeful morning. This is the top of Lygon Street in Brunswick East, just before it turns right towards Coburg. I thought to take this photo as it’s not often you see this view of the city – can you see the Eureka Tower there in the distance? This is also the location of Hellenic Republic (another project of George Calombaris) well known for its sharing feasts – Greek classics reinterpreted to keep things interesting. I’ve been to Hellenic Republic for dinner several times – sometimes elated and delighted at the superior service and quality of fare, and other times bemused at being ‘oversold’ to and having adequate, yet unimpressive dining experiences. I’d never been for breakfast and thought it was time to amend the fact.

When I arrived at 9 am or so, Hellenic Republic was quiet and peaceful – a welcome respite from the often-overstuffed Melbourne cafe scene of a Saturday morning. As it wasn’t crowded, the customer service of the staff really shone. After being welcomed to my seat I was offered a choice of newspapers – how luxe! Seated in the broad daylight facing Lygon Street, it was somehow more enjoyable than nighttime – I could see the Neos Kosmos newspapers displayed on the wall near the drygoods store, and the decorative lobster-cage lightfittings. The breakfast menu was impressive – from thick greek yogurt with quince and attiki honey through to bougatsa (custard semolina pie) or avocado with feta. I chose beautiful Avgo Sto Forno (oven-baked eggs with chickpeas and a tomatoey-harissa sugo) and an unctuous greek coffee.

I will definitely be back soon to try something else from their menu. Top-notch service, elegant food and a peaceful Saturday morning breakfast. Good for kids, great for brunch with girlfriends or a breakfast date. My favorite!

Auction 1: 29 Hotham Street, Collingwood

Time: 11:00 am

Agents: Hocking Stuart, Michael Amarant mamarant@hockingstuart.com.au or 0411 144 569

Collingwood streetscape – Hotham Street. Not bad, eh?

Punters: I had a chat with a lovely young bloke who was representative of many of the buyers looking at this home. First home owners, wanting a bit of land and space, doing their research but in no particular hurry to buy. In the inner-city land’s a rarity, so this classic Collingwood worker’s cottage proved relatively affordable. My experience in slower markets has shown that the market which clams up most when clearance rates fall is (counter-intuitively) the first home owner’s demographic. You’d think that less competition means better buying (which it certainly does!), but as first home owners are generally quite nervous about entering the market – they usually remain quite tight-lipped at auctions, and there’s not a lot of action.

Review: 29 Hotham Street was a cute little cottage, very well-loved by its current owners. A cute little cottage, with a small but  bright front bedroom, cosy lounge and kitchen area and nicely manicured rear yard. Upstairs was a mezzanine bedroom and study with lots of natural light. The Achilles heel of the home was the extremely steep staircase accessing this area – although not unusual for this vintage of residence,  it still can prove difficult to a contemporary home owner to negotiate around. Scott McElroy called the day’s auction on behalf of listing agent Michael Amarant, focussing on the proximity of the home to public transport and the city. Scott compared buying a home at this price point to buying an apartment – but without the body corporate fees. Still, the crowd wasn’t getting into the mood as Scott called a vendor bid of $570,000. The property was passed in on this bid, and agent Michael Amarant has confirmed there was a further offer on the day of $590,000. The property is available for sale privately at $639,000.

Hocking Stuart Director and Auctioneer Scott McElroy, enticing the crowd to bid.

Hometruths Coffee Pitstop – De Clieu

Reminds you of anything? Super cool kids hangout De Clieu is in the old premises of KP Smyth aka Smythnelsonalexander  (redesigned maybe 7 years ago by Six Degrees Architects) so the real estate theme is still kind of there. Aww, c’mon. It was a cold day and the warm embrace of soy latte called.

De Clieu has everything that the hardcore Melbourne coffee fascists loves, like Seven Seeds coffee beans and lots of drip filtration. Packed to the gills on the weekend, it has a range of arty baguettes and organic grainy breads to warm your heart. The soy latte I had ( I know, I know, why bother!?) was super dooper toasty flavoured with a beautiful density to the ‘milk’. I liked it so much I even went back there this morning for another.

How wonderfully life affirming. From the crafty kids at Third Drawer Down, this bright sign on Gertrude Street.

Auction 2: 68 Carlton Street, Carlton

Time: 12:00

Agents: Nelson Alexander, Arch Staver

Punters: As you can see, there were lots of ’em! Carlton Street is Carlton’s most prestigious location, overlooking the Carlton Gardens and consisting of exceptionally beautiful gold-rush era Melbourne architecture. Some of the homes are a little decrepit, but (like Elizabeth Taylor) some things just get better with age. The crowd consisted of several genuine bidders, lots of families and a few Carlton identities.

Sure, money can’t buy happiness. But it can buy this view from 68 Carlton Street.

Review: I can unreservedly say I enjoyed this auction more than I’ve enjoyed the weeks of dull pass-ins that preceded it. The top end of the market still displays robust activity – and why not? Assets are less expensive now than they will be upon market recovery. This home was a grand old dame, lots of bedrooms and a little bit of a rabbit-warren internally. No matter,  however – the next owners of this residence are going to completely gut and re-furbish. Punters were buying position and opportunity at this auction. Called with great skill by Arch Staver of Nelson Alexander, the auction started off with a vendor bid of $1,500,000 with calls of $10,000 invited. Arch spoke about the unique position of the property asked of the crowd ‘Surely there can’t be so many gathered here to do nothing on this fine winter morning?’ Eventually a bid of $1,510,000 was taken and three bidders went to town. One bidder tried to cut the bids down to $5000 immediately – and asked to do so a further three times. Arch stuck to his guns and politely declined the low bid – to the bidder’s frustration but ultimately for the good of the vendor. I saw another such interaction between bidder and auctioneer at the next auction reviewed today. The property was eventually passed in at $1,810,000 and is currently privately available for sale at $1,950,000.

Arch Staver politely declining a low bid. Look at that cheeky grin.

Auction 3:  3/465 Brunswick Road, Brunswick West

Time: 1:30pm

Agents: AG Property, Anthony Gattuso

Punters: Grumpy, grumpy, grumpy bums. A more sour-pussed group of first home owners I’ve not seen in ages. The kind of body language only a Year 9 teacher would know how to modify.

Review: The property on offer was a beautifully renovated one bedroom unit in a 1970’s brick block. Located on the ground floor it had been finished with a real eye to detail, and it also had extra storage throughout. Very feminine, and with a good-sized secure courtyard and carpark. Ostensibly, a winner. The auctioneer and Director of AG Property, Anthony Gattuso, described the benefits of the property to the crowd. It did have many attributes which made it a quality investment or first home such as airconditioning, small body corporate and laundry taps. He opened with a vendor bid of $280,000 and a live bid of $290,000 came quickly thereafter. The buyers looked quite nervous, as if they were waiting to see if more bidding would come. There was some banter between a bidder who wanted to knock the bids down to $1000 swiftly, which auctioneer Anthony Gattuso politely declined to do. There was further bidding up to $305,000 whereupon the property was passed in. The property was then sold to the highest bidder for $317,500.

 

Auctioneer Anthony Gattuso encouraging bids from the crowd. Check out the grumpy  bum buyers!

Home Truths Eight

I bet that you’re probably snuffling quietly into a tissue as you read this. Or perhaps popping your second Sudafed. Maybe gargling a little Dimetapp. The whole of Melbourne seems to have been hit by the dreaded lurgy of flu. God knows your little Editor still has it, and had the beginnings of it reared its head on Saturday 28th of May. That’s the reason you’re only getting one auction review for this week – 50 Rathdowne Street in Carlton. So get better peeps – and I look forward to a jollier, flu-free Saturday and brekky review for you next week. For now, here’s a sweet little Home Truths Melbourne snackeroo.

Starting off in Carlton, Editor-In-Chief Iolanthe Gabrie.

Vibe: Trying to stay warm and look presentable. Bronzey tones fit the wintery theme in a Mary-Quant style tunic and thick leggings.

Wearing: Veronika Maine shift dress, Marc Jacobs watch, Codral.

Auction 1: 50 Rathdowne Street, Carlton

Time: 11:00 am

Agents: Nelson Alexander, Roland Paterson

Punters: Given the relatively conservative attitude we’ve seen from buyers over the past few weeks at Home Truths, Saturday’s auction at 50 Rathdowne Street was very well attended. A real cross-section of buyers too – young families, retiree buyers and some of the neighbours having a poke around. The home is located along Rathdowne Street which isn’t necessarily the most appealing spot to many purchasers who are concerned about road noise, or would prefer to be in the Rathdowne Village.

Review: I must quietly admit my bias and say I really love this home. It’s the ultimate Carlton McMansion. Three levels and a corner position means that the property is naturally bright throughout. The living zone floor is impressive with a bulkhead ceiling creating a delightful sense of space, and the views to Rathdowne Street were lovely. I imagine that this kind of inner-city urban home doesn’t suit everyone though – I heard some comments from buyers worried about street noise, upcoming construction work and a noted lack of mirrors in the bathrooms and window coverings. This is a trend we’ve noticed in new developments – ostensibly for the builder to cut back on costs. Arch Staver was the auctioneer and made every effort to impress upon the crowd the excellent buying that the home represented, putting forward that building the home from scratch would be much more expensive than buying it now.  After further encouragement, Arch called a vendor bid of $1.1 million, upon which price the property was passed in. It is now available for private sale at $1,195,000.

Auctioneer Arch Staver looking sharp and encouraging a stony-faced crew to bid.

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 Six

After a few weeks away from the Melbourne auction market whilst journeying in America, Home Truths is back with edition Six. Did you miss us? Saturday 14th of May was a horribly rainy, windy and suitably Melbourne-ish wintery day. Good day to be inside… not so much fun if you’re an estate agent or a hopeful buyer however. We review +39 as our restaurant this week (having lunch rather than brekky to shake it up a little) and feature three properties – two in Carlton and one in Thornbury. Enjoy!

Starting off in Carlton, Editor-in-Chief Iolanthe Gabrie (having just removed herself with regret from the hydronic heating).

Vibe: Will all this rain and wind cause a drop in clearance rates for Victorian Auctions? Will I succesfully complete today’s auction reviews without frostbite?

Wearing: Mimco beanie, Lorna Jane cupcake-pink fleece, Chanel Mademoiselle perfume.

Instead of breakfast this week, we thought we’d tantalize your palates with heavier fare – it is after all in keeping with the wintery blast that your tummies are yearning for something a little, well – heavier. We ventured to the CBD to +39 Pizzeria, voted as the best pizzeria of 2010 by The Age. Owned by the rather gorgeous Remo Nicolini (brother of Tony Nicolini of Carlton Espresso & D.O.C fame), this no-nonsense mildly industrial feeling restaurant pumps out the pizza lovin’. I cannot recommend this restaurant MORE as the perfect piping hot pick me up in between open for inspections. El husband had a Margherita (served by a suitably Eurovision-esque lovely waiter) which was cheesy and crowned with fragrant, fresh and un-torn basil leaves.

I enjoyed a Capricciosa (I know it sounds like a dull choice, given that +39 do an ‘Aragosta’  pizza topped with caviar and lobster… but the fragrant ham won me over!)

If this little piece of Italy can’t un-freeze the cockles of your heart after a loss at auction, well – there’s not much hope for you. Crispy, chewy and most importantly JUICY – this is an impressive pitstop on a Saturday.

Auction 1: 38 Rathdowne Street, Carlton

Time: 10:30 am

Agents: Nelson Alexander Carlton, James Keenan

Inset: Mark Verrochi taking names prior to the auction at 38 Rathdowne Street.

Punters: A very mixed bag of potential purchasers at this rainy-day auction. A smallish crowd of around 30, it appeared to mostly be young couples, or small families with one child.

Review: 38 Rathdowne Street is a contemporary townhouse-style property which is architect designed and features a raw concrete-style minimalist facade and quality modern kitchen. Quite compact but very attractive throughout, the home is perfect for a couple upsizing (or downsizing if you don’t mind a few stairs) and very close to the amenities of Carlton. Quoted at 700-770k by Nelson Alexander Director James Keenan and auctioned by Tom Roberts, the damp crowd were quite silent at the opening of the call. This was a trend Home Truths saw repeated at all auctions we attended today. Tom highlighted the excellent location, flexible accommodation and hydronic heating of the home to the buyers, but eventually had to call a vendor bid of 700k. After going in briefly to refer to the vendors, the home was passed in at 700k. Negotiations continued post auction, with the home successfully selling shortly after for 760k. This goes to show that simply because a property is passed in at auction, it doesn’t mean that a buyer isn’t lurking in the crowd or that a sale isn’t achievable.

Inset: James Keenan (holding notepad) and Tom Roberts rain-dancin’ the showers away towards a successful sale at 38 Rathdowne.

Auction 2: 106 Faraday Street, Carlton

Time: 11:00am

Agents: Nelson Alexander Carlton, Tom Roberts

 Punters: A true who’s who of the Carlton neighbourhood at this auction! About 100 metres from the previous auction at 38 Rathdowne Street, but a world away in terms of buyer demographic. Older buyers were coming through the home, which made sense in terms of price point for the house ($1.220 was the opening vendor bid) – but seemed incongruous with the actual layout of the residence which had extensive and very steep stairs. A limited time that an older person could reside in this home, methinks.

Review: What a magnificent home! This regal Victorian home gave your editor serious FOMO’s (fear of missing outs). Beautifully renovated throughout and with a very feminine sensibility, this home will make whoever claims it as their own happy for quite a while I daresay. Generous formal living room, beautiful marble kitchen with a Philippe Starck-ish vibe going on and proper-sized yard for entertaining. Upstairs two of the bedrooms were charmingly wall-papered in toile, adding to the cosy feel of the residence. In terms of position, you couldn’t ask for more. A quick hop to Brunetti, D.O.C, Readings and the supermarket, and very close to public transport on Nicholson Street. All these features made the buyer’s steely resolve to not put up their hands and bid the more puzzling. Tom Roberts (listing agent and auctioneer, a good combo) was engaging and determined, describing the detailed renovation the home had undertaken. American oak floors, marble lined bathroom etc. He also made mention of how he’d recently undergone a renovation and was now almost a part of ‘Renovator’s Anonymous’. The point made was that renovation is a challenge, and a ‘break even’ is not always immediately achievable. Despite his encouragement, Tom needed to call a vendor bid of $1.220 to get things going. After referring to the vendor briefly, the home was passed in at this level. It is currently available for private sale at $1,340,000.

Inset: Janine Ballantyne and Tom Roberts mid-auction at 106 Faraday Street, Carlton

Auction 3: 317 Raleigh Street, Thorbury

Time: 1:00pm

Agents: Barry Plant Northcote, Luke Brizzi

Punters: Definitely a neighbours peeking fest, with what seemed like a crowd of mostly Nonnas, Nonnos, Yia Yia and Papous making up the crowd. There were several serious-looking parties in the mix however, with this substantial residence suitable for a young family or alternately a savvy developer looking to knock down and build townhouses. The amount of choice on the market has certainly affected the rate of activity at auctions currently, including the amount of active punters showing up.

Review:

Inset: Luke Brizzi encouraging the crowd to put their hands in da air like they just don’t care.

I’ve got a soft spot for Raleigh Street in Thorbury, having been a previous neighbour on the street. Thornbury and Preston still represent relatively good buying for first-home owners and young families who’d like a little yard without having to go all the way to Tarneit. It’s got great amenities such as the Station Street shops, and High Street is full of young up and coming businesses and cafes. 317 Raleigh Street has lots going for it, most noticeably its substantial land component of 600 sq metres odd. The residence itself is an 80’s style brick veneer with both front and rear yards, several bedrooms and formal and casual living areas. It’s in good nick, but probably needs a little further updating. Totally livable, however. Auctioneer and listing agent Luke Brizzi made the most of the location and amenities in his pre-call patter, and highlighted the convenient situation of the property. Despite encouragement, Luke needed to kick things off with a vendor bid of $800,000. After referring briefly to his client inside, he then passed the property in. Strangely enough, the very thing going for the home (ie excellent land and potential for development) is probably the thing that holds it back. The home is sizable – the land even larger – but the sale price of the home (now available for private sale at $1,065,000) precludes it from appealing to first home owners or starter families. Most likely a developer project ahoy, as the home has a driveway making it perfect for a set of townhouses. Watch this space!

Home Truths Five

Welcome to Home Truths Five. It’ll be a mini-Home Truths this week, as your editor is off on an overseas sojourn this week. We’ll be back in two weeks at full power though, peeps. We focus our brekky review on Birdman Eating on Gertrude Street, Collingwood this week and feature a Carlton Auction. Enjoy – and hang in there for a couple weeks until we return!

Starting off in Carlton on an unseasonably warm morning, Editor-In-Chief Iolanthe Gabrie.

Vibe: I’m gonna hug me some Disney Princesses in Disneyland next week.

Wearing: Lorna Jane top and jeans, Napoleon Perdis makeup

After a record-smashing run around the Tan, Home Truth’s Iolanthe felt hungrier than hungry. In a mildly violent, ‘i’m ready to eat my arm’ off kinda way. This called for a suitably carbohydrate-fuelled brekky, the kind I just knew that hipper-than-thou Birdman Eating on Gertrude Street, Collingwood could provide. I had some amazing home-made crumpets when I was in Hobart recently at Salamanca Market’s fave Tricycle cafe, and was excited to find a similar offering at Birdman this morning.

Gosh, isn’t fresh cold butter melting on home-made crumpets mouth watering?

The crumpets were crisp on the exterior and yeasty and chewy on the interior – served with generous pats of butter and leatherwood honey my hunger was satiated. Birdman Eating was pumping with a wide range of customers, older folks breakfasting with friends, parents with babies (kids are most welcome, with eggs with soliders and cocoa pops are on the menu), cooler-than-cool Molly Ringwald types with Boy George hats. The breakfast menu is extensive, with baked eggs done in a number of ways popular on the menu, as well as wintery treats like Welsh Rarebit and vanilla baked ricotta. Big thumbs up, I’ll be coming back as soon as possible (post Disneyland extravaganza).

 

Finished off with a long macchiato that was savagely acidic to start and nutty to finish. Kind of like Pauline Hanson, but much nicer!

Auction 1: 24/100 Queensberry Street, Carlton

Time: 11:00 am

Agents:Hocking Stuart, Ben Harrison 0430 457 234 or bharrison@hockingstuart.com.au

Inset: Facade of Cento, 100 Queensberry Street L-R: Young Ben, Scott McElroy, Ben Harrison.

Punters: The property was secure and very spacious – this fact coupled with the quality of size attracted a more mature clientele. No first home owners here! Older couples, and not a huge crowd – perhaps 25 or 30?

Auctioneer and Hocking Stuart Carlton Director Scott McElroy calling a fast and competitive auction.

Review:

24/100 Queensberry Street is a spacious three bedroom apartment, located on the third floor of a secure Piccolo construction built development. This is a building that is located near Lygon Street and close to North Melbourne – the area feels a little University-like and not particularly romantic. The interior of the apartment makes up for any lack of location, with three full bedrooms, the master suite with its own bathroom. The living room was very well naturally-lit, and there was the benefit of a large terrace balcony too. Hocking Stuart Auctioneer Scott McElroy made much of the building’s quality Rothe Lowman architectural design and Piccolo  build (they have recently undertaken The Garden House development, opposite the Royal Exhibition Buildings on Rathdowne Street) and the crowd responded generously, with an opening bid called almost immediately at 900k. Bidding was between two parties who went hammer and tong in a brief (although very productive) war of 25,000 raises. Before we knew it, Scott called the property on the market at $1,100,000 – it eventually sold under the hammer for $1,180,000. A swift and happy auction, and a very relieved buyer – this is a long term home in a perfectly sized inner-city development.

*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.

Home Truths Three

Hello Home Truths lovers far and wide. Here we are for another instalment of Melbourne’s only indie property journal. We’re big into the business of innovation, so you’ll notice a new feature category called Agentsays. In addition to Vitalsigns, Agentsays will be updated each week – it’s a down-home, honest summation of the property industry from a Melbourne industry leader each week. This week’s Agentsays features Adam Joske of Gary Peer. Don’t forget to vote in this week’s poll for which cafe we’ll be reviewing too! Down to business – Auctions for Saturday 2nd of April 2011.

Starting out in Northcote, Editor-in-chief Iolanthe Gabrie.

Vibe: Autumn chill in the air, daylight savings will make our mornings less bleary-eyed.

Wearing: Forever New Dress, Novo Boots, Tiffany  necklace.

This little editor is certainly glad that daylight savings has hit Melbourne, because Saturday morning  was certainly misty and dark – weather that makes one want to read Don Watson autobiographies in bed rather than traipse the drizzly morning streets. Luckily I had the inspiration of this week’s cafe review to anticipate – Penny Farthing Espresso , 206 High Street in Northcote.

Penny Farthing Espresso is located right at the peak of the hill, quite near to the Town Hall and Trivia-Night specialists the Peacock Hotel. Penny Farthing Espresso is an intimate cafe with a separate larger back room, and the general feel of the whole space is warm, vintage and welcoming. From Steve’s happy grin (barista extraordinaire and owner) through to the objet d’art version of a Penny Farthing cycle in the window, my breakfast was a peaceful and tasty event.

I felt like a bit of a plain and hearty start to the day, so I opted for poached eggs on Dench sourdough with harissa on the side as standard. It was very yummy and hit the spot, especially with the sweet/spicy harissa to top it off. There are other more substantial breakfasts on offer, including a tempting smashed avocado with feta and chilli oil on sourdough to name only one exotic combination. I also had a creamy and caramel-smokey flavoured soy cappuccino, and a richly fragrant Earl Grey tea. Penny Farthing’s brainstrust are big on the little details, with the Earl Grey tea served with its own little egg-timer to indicate the optimum steeping time for the leaves. When you accompany all this quiet, calm loveliness with lithographs of old Melbourne on the wall and tinkling bluegrass in the background – you have a very Northcote, very calm start to the day. With a diverse clientele of older and younger folks, this is the kind of cafe you’d expect Nick Drake to have penned lyrics in.

A little blurry, a lot yummy. Poached eggs with harissa on Dench Sourdough.

Happy Steve, barista and one of Penny Farthing’s owners.

Egg-timer accompanying a very floral and girly Earl Grey.

A little Nick Drake to put you in the Penny Farthing vibe.

Auction 1: 4/11-21 Marne Street, South Yarra

The beautiful art-deco curves of ‘Castle Towers’

Agents: Woodards, Juanita Kelly

Time: 11:00 am

Punters: A real cross section of different buyers for this ground-floor deco apartment, from younger couples through to older purchasers. Located on Marne Street, South Yarra (tucked between Fawkner Park and Domain Road, no less) this was a property for the blue-blood in all of us.

L-R: Juanita Kelly (with fabulous shoes), John Piccolo

Review: The day was drizzly and overcast – the perfect dramatic setting for a cosy indoor auction. The apartment itself was on the ground floor of well loved ‘Castle Towers’ development, an icon of deco Melbourne design. It was brilliantly lit with natural light, a huge living room with  glowing honey-wood floorboards and fireplace ( you don’t get that in many new developments!), quaint kitchen and two spacious bedrooms. The quote on the property was $650,000 – $710,000. The auction was called by Woodard’s legendary auctioneer John Piccolo, who engaged openly and with humour to the crowd. John is a very illustrative auctioneer, pointing out benefits of Castle Towers throughout the auction. He made mention of the ‘dress circle location’ of the development, making it a perfect investment or addition to the superannuation fund. There was lots to talk about, as the property was rich with period features including a ‘Georges-style’ lift and rooftop terrace. Leaping into the call, John announced ‘There are only three questions we have – What’s it worth? Who’s going to buy it? And who is going to make the opening bid?’ An indoor auction is a necessity in inclement weather, but sometimes it can lead to a shell-shocked crowd, unused to being in such close proximity to one-another in an auction situation. John worked very hard with the crowd before making a vendor bid at $600,000 . A natural bid of $610,000 then occurred before John referred to the vendor. Upon coming back to the crowd ‘I’m the bearer of good news!’ – John made a second vendor bid of $650,000. One more bid came live from the audience at $655,000 before the property was passed in. The property is still available on the market, the reserve published as $710,000. Home Truths were surprised by the reticence of the buying public with this unique home, certainly offering an excellent return for any owner lucky enough to get their hands on it. Just beautiful.

Auction 2: 70 Neill Street, Carlton

Agents: Thomson, Glenn Bartlett

Time: 12:00 noon

Gee Carltonites love auctions… check out this hardy crew in the rain!

Punters: As this home was an older-family style residence on quality sized land, there were a lot of owner-builder types present – in addition to the usual Carlton punters. Neighbours, pets, kids – the whole 3053 family were there!

Ross Hedditch gets his Vogue on, calling a fast and furious auction for Thomson Real Estate.

Review: Located in a short street between Canning and Nicholson Streets, this family home on large land represented excellent buying to potential owner-builders. An elegant double fronted home with quaint views onto the wide nature strip of Neill Street, the only location drawback being its close proximity to the housing commission flats. Ex-Thomson Director Ross Hedditch lead a rousing call to action, highlighting the benefits of the residence and explaining its history to the attentive crowd. The current vendors were described as ‘Carlton people through and through’, and Ross made it clear that the home was the realisation of a family estate. Unlike other auctions in today’s Home Truths Melbourne, this auction went off like a packet of crackers with a strong opening bid of 1.1 million. Ross stopped at 1.230 to consult with the vendor, before announcing the home on the market. Two competitive bidders then went hammer and tongs in small jumps of $2500 and then $1000 increments. The home eventually sold under the hammer to the new proud owners for $1,455,000. A cracking auction which left Home Truths Melbourne with a ping-pong neck from looking left to right at the bidding.

That’s it from Home Truths Melbourne for this week. We look forward to catching up with you next Monday, and hope that you enjoy the new Agentsays column too. Cheerio!

*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.