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.

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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.