Tuesday, 19 February 2008

New weekly real estate column

Hot property of the week: Haldane Street, Beaumaris. This property is being sold by Hodges and it's special because it was designed by landmark architect Robin Boyd in the 1950s. It's asking price is a cool $1.85m but for that you get an amazing design with lots of natural light. Go see: www.hodges.com.au and look under Beaumaris for more information. Picture: Hodges.

Let's face it. In Bayside, real estate is an obsession. We talk about it, read about it, spend a lot of time thinking about it and even once in a while some of us might spend a leisurely Saturday 'auction cruising' to get a bird's eye view of current prices - especially if they relate to your little pocket.

So here at Baysidemama, we've decided no site devoted to Bayside life would be complete without a weekly look at local real estate. It's also high time there was a regular look at the property market around here from a consumer perspective. So expect this column to look at lots of issues and trends.

Each week there will also be a focus on a great property or two for those of you who just like to take a look, and for those of you who are seriously about to hand over the cash and buy a new Bayside pad.

This week, I'm looking at two topics: are there pockets of Bayside left which are still reasonably (should we say relatively) untouched by the boom and ripe for buying and secondly, how to handle agents if you're a female buyer:


So you've got the vision but lack the million dollars. Are there still any houses out there?

In 1999 I clearly remember standing in front of a fabulous 1950s double storey brick home in one of Black Rock's beachside streets and having a 'difference of opinion' with my husband. At just over the $400,000 mark I thought the house, on a huge block, was great buying. He didn't agree, so we let it go. OK, so we now wish we'd had a crystal ball but we talk about that missed opportunity with awe because just a couple of years later, those little pockets of Bayside with that same room for huge growth are much harder to find.

In fact, with the property boom which has swept over the area, it's pretty hard to find any areas untouched. But from a buyer's perspective, there are definately areas which can still expect some decent growth for those who have vision but not quite the cash flow for the multi-million dollar all-expenses and little-left-to-do Bayside pad.

Take, for instance, the area around the Seaview shops in Beaumaris. The streets are quiet and tree-lined and in many cases, the blocks are big. You're surrounded by golf courses, still close to the beach and you'll find homes quoted in the $850,000 plus range, especially if they are original and ripe for conversion.

That's equally the case with that group of lovely Cheltenham streets just of Weatherall Road. Many of the homes were built in the 1980s so they have great bones and space but are still going to sell for a little less than they would if you found them, for instance, in Bayview Crescent, Black Rock.

John Speer of Beaches Real Estate in Beaumaris says to find any sort of reasonable Bayside prices, you need to travel even further along the coast.

"The market reall radiates out of Brighton and the growth over the last 12 months has really spread right through Beaumaris,'' Speer says.

"That's also the case for Cheltenham and Highett where you have hit the $1million for renovated family homes now.''

Speer says $700-$800 will net you an original home and land in North Beaumaris and that price - essentially land value - flies as high as $950,000 plus closer to the beach.

Speer says the savvy family buyer looking for value is now buying up the great 1950s solid brick homes on the other side of Nepean Highway in Parkdale and Mordialloc, putting a second storey on and turning them in to lovely family nests.

Brighton real estate agent Anne Forsyth, of DuffyForsyth & Co, says those looking for good opportunities in the area would do well to look around the streets neighboring the Beaumaris Concourse shops and that great little pocket of Black Rock around Sturdee Street. Sturdee is quiet, has a kindergarten, park and sporting facilities on its doorstep and still boasts rows of 1950s and 1960s solid brick homes awaiting conversion.

"There are still some areas of Black Rock and Beaumaris which seem to have the most potential as first entry points to the area,'' Forsyth says.

Forsyth also says that as bleak as it might sometimes seem, you've always got to show up at a sale to snare that one off opportunity.

"I said to my kids recently - who are looking to buy in Bayside - you've just got to turn up to every sale you're interested in, as you just never know.''


If you're female and have been to your fair share of open for inspections, you're most likely to have shared a universal experience: stumbling across an agent who is dismissive of women buyers or just talks to the husband.

Despite it being accepted that women are very often the decision-maker when it comes to buying the family home, you are likely to still sometimes encounter an agent who seem to find it easier to deal-make with the male of the species.

So what to do if you're a female property buyer? Well, in some ways, why not use it to your advantage. In the past when I've been inspecting a property I'm interested in and the agent has my husband in deep discussion, I just take it as a good opportunity to have a look without any hassles. Call it quiet time to visualise what to do with a space.

When it comes to the actual deal-making, it depends what you feel comfortable with. If you both want to be involved in that process, then let the agent know that. If you're the one selling a property, search for an agent you both feel comfortable dealing with. Don't be backward with getting questions answered if you're about to buy - yes it is important if you want to know how old an appliance is or whether the central vac system works - email your questions if you have to but don't let anyone make you feel they are anything but valid.

If you find yourself having to buy at auction, steel yourself to stand firm and not be intimidated or else, find someone you are comfortable with to go with you for moral support.

Have a suggestion for our real estate column. Please leave a comment below or email us at: baysidemama@gmail.com

1 comment:

Polka Dot Bride said...

I was just looking at that house last week! I love the design of it actually!