Home Truths Ten

This little project has certainly turned into quite a labour of love. My, I’m glad that the concept of Home Truths popped into my conscious. I’ve found that it’s not only put me in touch with a range of local property enthusiasts I heretofore had no knowledge of – it’s also taken me on a few exciting adventures! So we come to Home Truths Ten. An edition that features a little snacking, a little auctioning and a lot of stickybeaking. I love it, and i’m sure so do you. Hang on tight!

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

Vibe: Enchanted by the idea of bright, garish colors that warm you from the inside out, I decide to channel something that’s a little 80’s and a little delicate. There’s nothing like being very orange on a grey day to warm the proverbial cockles.

Wearing: Arabella Ramsay ‘The Alice’ Collection dress – inspired by the colours of Alice Springs. Vintage Lithuanian modernist ring carried across the Russian Steppes by my great-great Grandmother. Check out great-great-great-Grandfather – the man’s got a Wikipedia site!

Hometruths Melbourne Brekky Review: Pope Joan 77-79 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East

This was actually Home Truths second visit to the beautiful and friendly Pope Joan – we reviewed it way back in Home Truths One where we nommed on ginger bread toast with maple butter. I yearned to try a couple of different items and so attended with a good friend and bargained with them until I could taste theirs too. Pope Joan is a wonderfully convivial kind of joint – it’s also got a top notch outdoor area with garden beds and lots of room for kids to fall over and play comfortably. So.. onto the treats at hand.

Presentation of food is highly prized at Pope Joan – look at this creamy vanilla rice pudding with rhubarb topping in its own little preserves jar.

Check out the free-form bircher muesli with yogurt, home-made muesli mix and fruit presented separately. Talk about bespoke breakfasting! I really love the porcelains they use – reminiscent of Mud Australia designs.

So yes. Please go and enjoy at Pope Joan before attending your next open for inspection in Brunswick East and surrounds. Kids seem very welcome too!

Auction 1:7/884 Lygon Street, Carlton North

Time: 11:00 am (postponed)

Agent: Foxtons, Angelo Scambiattera 0418 339 827  

Punters: Very few buyers around, a couple of young men. In fact there were not enough buyers at the property for the agent to conduct the auction. Hometruths Melbourne understand a prior offer had been made on the property which was not accepted.

Inset: View along Lygon Street Carlton North – over the cemetery and looking towards the city skyline

Review: This is a neatly maintained block which had been fully re-furbed by a single developer a few years ago. One of only 12 units, this two bedroom unit was elevated, quite bright and also had a modern kitchen and bathroom. It was priced relatively competitively with an asking price of mid $400’s. I was quite surprised at how few people were there to attend the auction – and I think that many first home buyers are sitting on their hands at a time when they should be jumping at apartments like these. Two big bedrooms, small block – carpark on title. A winner. The property is currently still available and on the market – P.O.A.

Adventure Intermission – Eolian Hall

I told you this Home Truths would be full of wild adventure, just like Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz in Pirates of the Caribbean 4. It’s not strictly real estate, but I’m sure you’ll go with me. As I waited outside 884 Lygon Street for the verdict on whether or not an auction would be held, I noticed a kindly-faced man scratching around with the bins outside the Societa Isole Eolie. The Eolian Hall on Lygon Street is a beautiful art deco building which stands out due to its soft bone colour and distinctive architectural features. A bit like the Abruzzo Club, it’s an invite-only joint where you must be Eolian (Sicilian Italians, hailing from a series of verdant small islands) or married to one. Formerly the Jewish Kadimah, the club was purchased by by Societa Isole Eolie in the 1930’s. In classic Home Truths Melbourne style, I started up a conversation with Joe Biviano outside the Eolian Hall who told me that he and his wife Julia were holding an evening function that day – did I wish to come in and look around? Did I ever!

Joe very kindly showed me around the body of the hall, and explained to me that the Eolian Islands consisted of small communities that were fisherman, or farmers who grew olives, figs and grapes. Lipari is the main island (there are six in total), and it’s where Joe and Julia hail from. Although blurry, you can still see in this photo Aeolos (the god of wind) and Vulcano (the god of fire) who are said to overlook the islands. I was very impressed by this information, explained with great pride by Joe.

One of the paintings inside the main hall of the Societa Isole Eolia. Look at the quiet two sitting on the log in the bottom right hand corner.

Joe told me that living in the Eolian Islands were quite different to living in mainland Sicily – because the community on the islands were so small, everyone knew everyone. It’s obviously a great joy for Joe and other members of the club to keep their traditions going – each November and December there are grand festivities at the hall.

Upstairs there is the original meeting room, with lots of photos of the founding members. Cluttered, but full of happy memories too.

These are the two main founders of the Societa – looking at them looking out at me was like a swift journey back in time. I’m sure they stood in the Eolian Hall where I had, and knew Carlton as I never can. I like the happy look on Mr. B Canestra on the right.

Here are Joe and Julia Biviano, in the giant kitchen at the Eolian Hall. You know, they were preparing full dinners for 80 people all by themselves! Julia sometimes can be heard on 93.1 FM talking with Matteo and sharing her traditional Eolian recipes. Julia was very sweet and told me about her family and how she came to know Joe. On the menu for that evening were: Arancini, Roast Potatoes, Roasted Red Peppers, Salads, home cured Olives (by Joe of course!), fresh Ciabatta bread and then coffee and home-made biscotti. I was lucky enough to have one of these delicious almond meal biscuits.

Fresh arancini, full of mozzarella and red sauce – Julia made 80 of them in her kitchen the day before. That’s dedication.

Golden crostoli and an array of almond meal biscuits. All home made with obvious love.

Many thanks to Joe and Julia Biviano who were so welcoming and happy to share their culture and their own personal stories. I feel very privileged to have learned about the Eolian Hall, and feel another piece of my local knowledge is in place. Aren’t you glad I shared!?!

Auction 2: 8/32 Smith Street, Collingwood

View from opposite the 32 Smith Street Collingwood development – Aesop‘s headquarters. No branding, but a Carl Jung quote.

Time: 12:30pm

Agent: Peter Markovic, Paul Markovic 0411 866 464  

Punters: I hadn’t seen so many people at an open for inspection for quite a while! Compared to the previous auction of the day on Lygon Street, this property was pumping. I can’t say why – but I assume the quote must have been more competitive. Lots of quite grumpy looking buyers, many of them young couples who were consulting with their parents.

Review: The property for auction was inside a medium density low-rise development, and it was a neat and sensible two bedroom townhouse. No bells or whistles – not small – not large. Just right! A good-sized living area, and a couple of outdoor areas were definitely appealing – but the central location paired with these qualities clearly made the home irresistible. Paul Markovic was both the listing agent and auctioneer, and he did a sterling job. He spoke at some length on the rules of the auction and the contract, and touched briefly upon the market. He encouraged buyers to bid earnestly, as the market would always change but the location wouldn’t. A cheeky buyer kicked off proceedings with a request to offer 450,000 which Paul kindly refused  with an ‘ I like the boldness, sir!’ A vendor bid was called at 500k, and then they were off like horses at the Cup. There were at least 4 bidders I could recognise and they just kept going up, little by little. The property was eventually sold at 632,000 which seemed a very reasonable purchase price.

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Home Truths One

 So this is our first Home Truths.

It’s the moment you’ll want to remember, so you can tell your kids where you were. We’re bringing you something you’ve never seen before in Melbourne’s property market. We’ll be providing a rundown on an Auction Saturday (19th March 2011), starting with our first niche coffee venue and ending with the last sale result. It’s an informal yet entirely informative blog where you can see who’s cool in Melbourne’s property scene… and who’s fool. So, take my hand and let’s go.

Starting out in Brunswick East. Editor-in-Chief, Iolanthe. Who says property’s just about suits?

Vibe: Autumn I love you. Clearance rates steady.

Wearing: With clogs. Gulu jewellery. Leona Edmiston hosiery.

Home Truths attended four auctions today, from Fitzroy North to Fairfield, Carlton to Carlton North. Bang in the middle of all these locations is the perfect place to start your home hunting day – Pope Joan 77-79 Nicholson Street Brunswick East. We arrived bright and early to get started on the Domain newspaper, and we weren’t the only ones. It was chockers with oldies, newbies and babies.

Warmly welcomed, we ordered a long macchiato which arrived in under a minute. It was beautiful and creamy, served in a glossy chocolate coloured old school cup. We ordered ginger bread with smoked maple butter which was delicately moist and warmed up my belly. Perfect.

As we munched on this tasty morsel, we noticed David Barnes of Harcourts Carlton setting up his auction flags for the day. He went on to pop this property under the hammer, which was passed in at 16 Nicholson Street. Well worth a look if you’re after a four bedroom unit in a location close to Pope Joan and Brunswick East. But I digress. Pope Joan staff were welcoming, opening the door for locals as they left the premises, topping up water… the works. A great way to start the day if you’re hunting in this locale. Ok. One last photo below. Artistic, innit?

Auction 1: 91 Rowe Street Fitzroy North

Agent: Collins Simms Stefan Dzanovski

Time: 10:30am

Punters: Fitzroy North is a notoriously ‘everyone knows everyone’ neighbourhood, so there were a lot of locals having a squizz in the crowd. Interested bidders seemed to be either older investors or younger couples. LOTS of Dora the Explorer trikes around.

Review: A cute home in a muchly-loved location, very close to a corner cafe and Queens Parade conveniences. Compact and contemporary, this was a classic two bedroom home with a slightly modified lounge and dining zone. Martha Stewart would love the kitchen, which was quaint and super glossy and white in a country style. Rear yard was undeveloped, but bright and with room for a Jamie Durie garden (if that’s your bag). Home would be suitable for those whose kids have left home (it’s on one level and close to everything) or a young couple who don’t want their in-laws to come round too often. Tres cute home.

The auctioneer for Collins Simms was Gary Fitzpatrick who called a solid auction to a crowd which remained tightlipped for quite a while. As is a trend at many auctions, Gary started off proceedings with a vendor bid of 800k. He called for 10k rises before the bidders gave it a bit of gas, going up to 870k before stopping. The property was eventually passed in for 897k before selling by negotiation for 907,500k. The agent Stefan Dzanovski said that his clients were very happy with the sales result on the day, and that he had confidence in the local Fitzroy North market remaining strong. Stefan says ‘The wider market is patchy as a whole, but Melbourne’s inner north remains strong. Purchasers have more choice at the moment, and aren’t prepared to secure properties at any price. Lifestyle is what brings the extra element to the desirability of a home. Collins Simms experienced an 100% clearance rate today.’

 Home Truths wants to make it clear that passing in a property doesn’t mean failure – negotiating after sale can be just as effective given a willing buyer and vendor.

This was the case with AG Property’s iconic Holcombe Terrace 205 Drummond Street Carlton (image above) which was passed in on the 5th March, to sell privately with the underbidder just four days later for $2,700,000. Agent Anthony Gattuso said ‘Holcombe Terrace was an exciting property to have on the market, as it was such a unique home and Carlton icon. As such, we found the right buyer who appreciated all of the home’s high Victorian drama’.

Auction 2: 9/37 Park Crescent, Fairfield

Agent: Nelson Alexander John Karr

Time: 12:00 Noon

Punters: A big range of buyers for this unit, and Home Truths expect that we’ll see more and more investors coming back into the market in 2011. A few older buyers browsing, but all the action was with young couples. Home Truths had the chance to chat briefly with the underbidders of this property who were North Carlton locals. They were going to live in the home initially and then use as an investment. So far, they’d found their house hunting process OK and didn’t really have much to remark on either way. Maybe they were just nervous about the auction to come.

Have you ever seen such a jolly auction grin? John Karr laying down the law in Fairfield.

Review:  This was a little one bedroom apartment with a nice-sized courtyard. For some reason there’s quite a few 1 bedrooms popping up in this area of Fairfield.   John Karr called an elegant and quietly confident auction to a hesitant crowd. His tone was regular and calming, and he made interesting patter about the nature of Fairfield Park. The auction opened up at 330k and ended up passing in at 352k to an enthusiastic young couple. The property sold for 353500 – just a touch above the reserve. Home Truths interviewed John Karr, who remarks that Fairfield is a great area which will continue to sell well.  John feels that there will be less incidences of underquoting reports, and homes are now selling within the quote range.   

Auction 3: 208 Drummond Street, Carlton

Agents In Conjuction: Nelson Alexander James Keenan, Kelly & Shiel – Damien Shiel

Time: 1:00 pm

To see… and be seen. That kind of gig.

Punters: This was the auction equivalent of a who’s who in Carlton. Serious buyers, serious money. Neighbours hoping for gangbusters results to improve the value of their own homes … a definite hob-nobbing vibe. As this residence (named Derby Terrace) was in commercial use, the buyers appeared to be those who’d renovate and speculate.

Review: The auction was called by Tom Roberts of Nelson Alexander. Well, what can I say? This is one of those pieces of street theatre that comes along in real estate once in a blue moon. This was a grand ole girl terrace home, currently used as commercial premises. It was definitely a property for those with ideas of re-configuration into a traditional residence. The auction consisted of furious bidding by two determined buyers in a face-off that consisted of $5000 dollar rises instead of cussin’. It all got a bit OK corral. Tom called a beautiful auction with tight, swift patter and the occasional amusing quip. The auction opened at $1.5 million and finished up at $2.151. With assistance from AG Property’s Anthony Gattuso, the winning bidder has made their mark on Drummond Street. Amazing auction action, the kind Home Truths wishes you were there for.

Auction 4: 338 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North

Agent: Jellis Craig – Simon Shrimpton

Time: 2:00pm

It’s a community event, y’all. Chockers turnout to 338 Rathdowne auction.

Punters: Rathdowne Village Carlton North on a Saturday afternoon is full of yummy mummies, sometime gangstas, neighbours and visitors to the village’s gorgeous cafes like Degani and Tre Bicchieri. This was no exception, and the crowd for this beautiful home’s auction was massive. Even the median strip was packed! A huge cross-section,  but those with their hands in the air appeared to be more mature owner-occupiers.

Review: 338 Rathdowne Street was a glowing jewel-box of a residence. Beautifully maintained although petite, this little home glowed. It also had a conservatory room which appealed to the Miss Marple in me. A wonderfully designed ROW with parking and large planters finished off the deal. Simon Shrimpton was both the agent and the auctioneer (a wonderful and rare thing to be) for this home, and he called an energetic and amusing patter to the crowd. And boy – what a hard crowd! You could probably make paddlepops on their steely gazes. Simon kept it light and coaxed both laughter and interaction from the crowd. The home started off at $1.2 million and was eventually passed in at $1.270 before being sold for in excess of $1.3 million that afternoon. Simon remarked that the vendors were very happy with the result, and that the Veuve was flowing! He said that Jellis Craig had a very successful afternoon across their network with 31 selling out of 37 auctions.

So. That’s Home Truths One.

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*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.