Buying right: more important now than ever

The current market conditions are testament to why we always encourage people to buy well and buy an ‘A’ grader. In a flatter, or lower, market, these are the properties that will hold their price or value.

In addition, we are observing that, more often than not, the properties selling at auction are being sold within the quote range declared in the Statement of Information.

However, if the agent doesn’t get the quote right, it could lead to trouble for the vendor with low (or no) buyer inspections at the property.

The good properties with good fundamentals that are priced right are also seeing multiple bidders.  Perhaps not the 4 and 5 bidders of 2016/2017, but often 2 or 3.  Some of this is a result of fewer buyers in the market place; however, another key driver is the more accurate quote range, which has reduced the number of hopefuls bidding when they were unlikely to ever be in the race.

We believe due diligence, and buying an ‘A’ grader, proves invaluable at the moment for buyers.

Although stock levels are low, there are a number of good opportunities if you’re looking to buy a home for the longer term, including in the ‘off market’ sector.  There are currently a number of homes presenting for re-sale within only one or two years of purchase.  While sometimes this cannot be helped (death/divorce), some due diligence may otherwise reduce the need to resell quickly.

If you had bought an ‘A’ grader in the peak, if you have to sell it now, the result is likely to be more favourable than if you are needing to sell a ‘B’ or ‘C’ grader.

We also recommend buyers seek independent advice from experts if they have queries, as the selling agent is engaged and paid by the vendor to achieve an outcome for the vendor.  When it comes to property restrictions, surrounds, renovation options, understanding precincts and price, such advice may help reduce the need to sell again in the short term.

For consideration, recent growth and development has resulted in councils re-assessing current overlays, such as flood and heritage.  Some examples include:




Stock levels so far this year have been low and we are about to see another reduction in stock as we pause for the school holidays, Easter and Anzac Day public holiday.  It is important in this market to ensure you are buying the right house.  The good ones are few and far between at the moment.  Without a plan and the right information, it could be easy to buy the wrong property.

While there is constant suggestion that the market could be flat or even fall further and possibly for several years to come, our lives don’t stop.   We will continue to age, we may have children and they will grow up, they won’t leave home, then they will, we will grow old, we will move away or return for work or family and none of these things will wait for the market.  If the house is right, it is a good time to buy.

We always talk about buying an ‘A’ grader or something that could be an ‘A’ grader with the right work because ‘B’ and ‘C’ graders really do struggle in a declining market.


  • 9 Weybridge Street Surrey Hills (David Banks/Simon Lord, Jellis Craig) – single figure quote $1.8m – approximately 797sqm land with north rear and no heritage – sold for $2.35m 
  • 62 Essex Street Surrey Hills (Belinda Anderson/Mark Salvati, Jellis Craig) – quote $2.5-2.75m – a quirky modern home on approximately 1,000sqm land – sold for an undisclosed amount toward the mid $3m mark.
  • 12 Caroline Street Sth South Yarra (Charlotte Broussard/Grant Wallace, HockingStuart) – quote $1.3-1.4m – smaller updated period home with OSP, A grade location – sold for $1.642m
  • 4 Embling Road Malvern (Madeline Kennedy/James Redfern, Marshall White) – quote $4.4-4.8m – a nicely updated Federation Queen Anne home on approximately 900sqm, passed in for $4.64m and sold for an undisclosed amount slightly more than the pass in price
  • 36 Imbros Street Hampton (Marl Earle/Sally Pickering, Buxton) – quote $2.8-3m – a ‘newer build’ among Castlefield’s heritage estate with double garaging and north rear, passed in on a vendor bid of $2.85m and sold over the weekend for $3m
  • 30 Alfred Street Kew (Scott Patterson/Sophie Su, Kay & Burton) – quote $3.5-3.7m – approximately 781sqm land with original home and south rear – sold for an undisclosed amount mid-range


Some of the better properties scheduled for Auction on 6 April: an architect’s view

9 Kintore Street Camberwell – Mark Josem/Alastair Craig, Jellis Craig

39 Hawthorn Grove Hawthorn – Doug McLauchlan/Hamish Tostevin, Marshall White

21 Moama Road Malvern East – Fiona Ansell-Jones/John Manton, Marshall White

7 Retreat Road Hampton – Perter Hickey/Mark Earle, Buxton


‘Off-market’ Properties:

  • Art Deco over 3 levels, pool, approx. 460sqm, Toorak – circa $4m
  • Brick Edwardian, dated renovation, Malvern – circa mid $1m
  • Fully renovated, high tech, modern home, approx. 790sqm, Camberwell – circa early $3m
  • Fully renovated Victorian single fronter, SLUG, approx. 292sqm, South Yarra – circa mic $2m
  • Extended Art Deco, dated renovation, pool, approx. 650sqm, Brighton – circa mid $3m
  • Modern upside-down home, expansive water views, Black Rock – circa $5m
  • New large family home on approx. 540sqm, pool, Brighton – circa early $4m
  • Dated single level home on approx. 600sqm, west rear, Brighton – circa early $2m
  • Renovated, semi-attached Edwardian on approx. 400sqm, Ripponlea – circa mid $1m
  • Brick Victorian looking for upgrade/new home site, approx. 750sqm, Caulfield South – circa $2m
  • Brick Edwardian, partially renovated, approx. 750sqm, north rear, Elwood – circa early $3m
  • Fully renovated brick Edwardian on approx. 250sqm, Elwood – circa early $2m
  • Blond brick home with scope to improve, approx. 528sqm, Elsternwick – circa early $2m
  • Restored Edwardian, DLUG, studio, approx. 374sqm, Richmond – circa mid $2m


Auction Spotlight

Grant Wallace & Charlotte Broussard from Hocking Stuart had a good crowd to work with, delivering a strong result for 12 Caroline St South Yarra.

12 Caroline St South Yarra offers a neat and tidy single fronter with the benefit of OSP (albeit for a smaller car). The home has been renovated over time, delivering excellent natural light in an ‘A’ Grade location, quoting $1.3-1.4m.

A large crowd had gathered as the clouds cleared from the morning showers, giving Grant Wallace and the Hocking Stuart team plenty of interest to work with. Starting with a vendor bid of $1.3m, three bidders swiftly took the offers up to $1.46m at which the agents took a break to chat with the vendors. Declared on the market a little later at $1.49m, bidder one remained keen and was now joined by a fourth. Both were obviously very keen to gain access to the keys, steadily trading bids, before bidder one slowed considerably, eventually allowing bidder four to secure the home for $1.642m. A solid outcome for the vendors.


Justin Long from Marshall White could not entice a bid from the crowd gathered inside at 12 Canterbury Rd Toorak.

With light rain falling, this auction took place indoors and a reasonable crowd of about 40 people gathered in the rear family room to watch proceedings. A solid, free-standing double-fronted brick Victorian was on offer and we liked its potential, as there is room for a modern extension (stca) and the position is a conveniently central one, albeit the street is a little narrow. Auctioneer Justin Long gave a warm spiel about the home and the immediate environs and didn’t look for an opening crowd bid, but rather promptly announced a vendor bid of $2.8m. This did little to encourage any active bidding and the property passed in at this figure. At time of writing, the property remains for private sale for $3.1m.