The latest happenings in the Melbourne property market. For our Essays and The Secret Agent Report, see our Research page.

Category Archives For: Random Thoughts

Residential 3 Zone

It’s not often I’ve seen a property fall under the Residential 3 Zoning. Almost all property I’ve seen purchased come under a Residential 1 Zoning. I came across the Residential 3 Zone in a Section 32 and wondered what the provisions were for this zoning.

The Residential 3 Zone can be described as replicating the Residential 1 Zone except that it includes provisions that limit the building height of dwellings and residential buildings to a maximum of 9 metres or 9 metres on sloping sites. The Residential 3 Zone is applied in established residential areas where introducing a standard building height is necessary to protect the neighbourhood character and amenity.

How the bank works

Probably one of the biggest money makers in banks is interest on loans. Banks loan out money to businesses and individuals and then charge interest on those loans. But where does the bank get all these funds to loan out?

When you deposit money with a bank, you are loaning that money to the bank so that they can then loan it out to someone else. Usually in exchange you receive a small portion of the interest the bank receives from the person they lent your money to.

I have always wondered, what would happen if everyone tried to withdraw their funds from the bank at the same time?

Due to the fact that your money is likely out on loan, the banks would fail as they would not have enough money available to cover everyone’s balances. Large amounts of the banks assets are tied up in loans.

The lucky first few who tried to take their money out would be safe, however most others would loose all the funds in their bank accounts and all money transactions would stop because almost no one would have any money!

Something like this would be extremely unlikely, however it is interesting to consider!

Email and Fax contracts

It’s getting more and more common.  In fact,  I think the future will hold an electronic contract which may be signed by electronic signature or fingerprint as the main variety.

I must admit I cringe when it comes to a fax contract.  It’s messy as seems a little outdated by today’s standards.  Yet a contract is a contract.

If you receive a faxed or email signed contract,  then you’ve secured agreement.

Victoria’s Most Expensive Home

Our house price record has been blown out of the water with the sale of Ilyuka – the Portsea cliff top Spanish Mission Mansion.

The property, owned by Michele O’Halloran (former Computershare director) fetched a price far above the $20 million expected, achieving a final sale price of $27 million.

The property was purchased back in 1999 for $7.5 million – what a huge gain since then!

The previous Victoria record house price is around the $22 million mark for the home of former Richmond Football Club president in Shakespeare Grove, Hawthorn.


Super Saturday – here we come

The busiest auction weekend of the year is about to hit us.

As discussed before, this will be a great challenge for the market as a whole. If we see clearances hold up, then I think we’ve found our market for the next month. When property offered is this high on one day, some places seem to miss out on the limelight. This will present some good options for a good buy.

Directness wins – Why dealing with the best agents is actually easier

My entry into Real Estate was with a traditional company. At the time they were market leaders and had a large competitive sales force.

It’s important that anyone acting on the Acquisition front, actually knows what it’s like to sell property and how it all works in the ‘back room’.

One of the key defining characteristics of better real estate agents is directness. Most top producing estate agents are direct in their dealings and negotiations, as they realise the importance of word of mouth referral business.

Many different agents I deal with are excellent in doing business with. While others are a different story. It tends to be the ‘struggler’ or the low to mid tier agents that are the hardness to deal with. They act to a script and remain vague all the time. Even worse they miscalculate people’s IQ and irritate much of the market.

Doing business in a direct manner generally means win/win for both sides of a transaction.

Unusual weather patterns – my property tour last night

Last night I was showing a few clients some property to purchase.

It was one of the heaviest downfalls I’ve had and it made a challenge of getting from one property to the next. Hail was belting the car and the roads were super icy.

Admittedly, it was actually pretty fun. One aspect I like when inspecting property in these conditions is the ability to see bad design & faulty buildings.

These are the moments when houses get flooded and places get invaded by the elements. One property we looked at had almost a river of water flowing past it – luckily it was still out of reach from the place.

Some houses I went past last night clearly looked flooded and the angle of the land meant it was prime for flooding issues.

The section 32 normally includes a certificate indicating whether a property is in a high flooding zone or not. Whether you believe climate change or not – floods do seem to be happening with more regularity and in locations normally not susceptible.

The house inspection on a volatile day should not be skipped. Seeing a property in an extreme situation gives you a rare insight into a number of factors that you wouldn’t see on an ordinary day

For sale by owners

Owners selling their own property – It’s something that I feel will become more common as we move deeper into a technology rich environment.

Firstly I have no problems with this. If anyone wants to buy or sell themselves that’s fine and they should be able to do so without restriction.

In Australia many people are disadvantaged selling themselves right from the start of the marketing campaign because they do not have access to many of the biggest real estate portals out there.

Besides the marketing though, a bigger problem exists. Home owners are generally very bad at selling their own home.

They tend to see the home with only their tainted glasses. Many home sellers find it very hard to price their own homes objectively against the market and long periods of sitting idle on the market tend to exist.

I mention this because I do speak with a number of owners that are trying to sell direct to a buyer. Often the prices are well ahead of the market and they end up sacrificing to an agent some where down the track.

Investors aren’t as badly influenced but they need a diverse range of skills for the selling of their property.

On the buying side, many people are bad at making decisions of the magnitude of a property transaction. When you only make this choice once or twice – it’s a tough call to get right.

I’ve always thought that the more important a decision is, the more you care about it, the more chance irrationality and emotions can distract you into an outcome.

Commonwealth bank gets into the app game

Commonwealth bank are getting into a similar space as to what Westpac has tried to do.

With the craze to create iPhone apps well and truly in monition, this apps delivers some incredible information to buyers as well as some terrible inconsistencies.

If you have an iPhone device – It’s worth having a play with.

(Thanks Keith for the heads up here)

Probably the narrowest facade you’ll find


This terrace in Carlton is probably the skinniest facade I’ve come across.

The meaning that you ‘couldn’t swing a…..’ holds true here.

If anyone could send me a narrower face than this, I’d be impressed.