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!

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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.