Dear Maybe Vendor …

Morrell and Koren, the 1st buyer's advocates

Dear Maybe Vendor,

We have buyers.

Yes. Really.

We understand your problem, truly we do. You are reluctant to sell until you can find something to buy – somewhere that you want to live.

Believe us, we know the problem. We know the problem only too well. We are thoroughly sick of the problem.

OK. Enough about the problem.

What, then, are you doing to fix it?

Yes. You. You are the problem and we are growing tired of waiting for you. We’re sick of your prevarications, your lame excuses: “We’ll think about it after the school holidays.” “Not now, the Olympics are on.” “I’m doing the washing…”

Sorry. Sorry. We didn’t mean to go on about the problem.

You, that is.

OK, if you are going to solve the problem (there we go again), you are going to have to pick up the phone and call an estate agent and instruct him or her to put your home on the market.

Yes. It’s a risk. You’ll probably be committing to $20-30,000 in ad costs, but think of the good you will be doing. Especially if you sell.

And then you’ll be a buyer and you’re back with the problem.

Sorry. Done it again.

The weekend? Mostly more problems, but not in every case.

The good people of 13 Cole Court, Toorak, bit the bullet and look what happened: problem solved! Three bidders and going going gone for $150,000 over the reserve at $5,500,000. OK, it was all finished, all done and ready to move into tomorrow – but that’s what we’ve been saying all along. People will pay for that (but not like they were a year or two ago).

Different problems?

123 Gipps Street, East Melbourne. Wouldn’t sell last year, wouldn’t sell this. Is the $3.8 million vendor bid the problem or is it a lot, lot more?

1 Glenbervie Road, Toorak. No bidders. That’s a problem. Enough said.

Yet we’re seeing houses from other Maybe Vendors who are about to list, so some problems will be solved. What we’re not seeing is many smiles on the faces of estate agents – they know they have problems ahead.

Truth is that while some agents are a lot better than others, having 40 or so working in the same paddock where there are only half a dozen sales in a week suggests there’s not a lot of champagne to share around.

And while the REIV and many in the media focus on nothing but the rare occurrence of good news the problems only get worse, because who knows what to believe?

That’s a problem.

David Morrell

Bayside: hits and misses

Most Bayside action was in the value-conscious Bentleighs – a very convincing 10 sales from 13 scheduled – but with nothing over the $800,000’s, the top end remained untroubled.

Beaumaris and Black Rock had nowt from three – although we understand 522 Balcombe Road sold privately for an undisclosed number in the order of $3 million.

A footnote to last week’s report on the passing-in of 28 Cromer Road on a vendor bid of $5.6 million. There’s word of a real $4.2 million post-auction offer being swiftly rejected and gossip in the Beaumaris Concourse suggests there may soon be a change both in the selling agent and in who is making the selling decisions. Watch this space.

Hampton and Sandringham had very little on offer with 9 Susan Street, Sandringham having the brightest prospects: well located, beautifully presented and on paper the house has the right level of accommodation but it is let down badly by a low-ceiling 70’s style extension of the kitchen and family room. It’s our guess that most buyers would choose to start again, so being passed in at $1.36 million on a vendor bid does not surprise. Reserve is set at $1.425 million.

Brighton and Brighton East had 13 auctions scheduled, so stock numbers were good. Of eight reported sales, three were sold prior to auction, giving a clearance on the day of 50% which is in line with recent experience.

Of those which sold, 75 Roslyn Street throws up an interesting history of recent transactions that both reflect on it as a property and on the local Brighton market. It was new when sold for $2.58 million in 2008, it resold in 2010 for $2.64 million and has just sold again (before auction) for $2.3 million – another demonstration of the combination of an average property in a softening market ending in tears.

Also sold prior was 7 Lynch Street. Although on just under 400 sq m, its sale price – $1,110,000 – is a healthy $2,817 sq m (over $260 sq ft in the old money) vindicating the decision to take the offer and run.

Also reported as sold before auction (but with an indeterminate auction date) was a sprawling family home on a double allotment adjacent to the Brighton Golf Course. 19 Garden Avenue has nine main rooms, is on 1335 sq m and has a northerly rear orientation.

A penthouse apartment at 3/61 Well Street was offered and, despite the persuasive powers of the auctioneer, there were no takers. What began with a vendor bid of $2.45 million ended with a vendor bid of $2.525 million. A subsequent offer of the same amount was made and a deal done. There is little doubt that the buyer was smiling.

The biggest miss on the day occurred in one of Brighton’s finest streets.

22 Normanby Street has the beach at one end and Church Street at the other. The house on offer appeared at first pass to have all the right rooms, land size (1031 sq m) and facilities, but on the day there was a discernable lack of interest. The south-facing garden and dated 80’s style extension obviously didn’t help but, that aside, even a reasonable vendor bid of $3.3 million could not prompt a single hand into the air. Eighteen months ago this property would have been snapped up at its current reserve of $3.75 million.

Times have changed and so have buyers. It’s a story often told.

Damian Taylor

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