Understanding and generous

Selling the family home of 25 years can be an emotional time. The owners of 5 Forest Street in Castlemaine turned to Waller Realty agent Liz Bell after an unsuccessful campaign with another agency.

Disheartened by the process but determined to sell, they knew they needed to find the right agent for their home.

They felt an instant connection to Liz and fellow agent Tom Robertson who arrived with new ideas for marketing and presentation and an overall sense of positivity around their ability to sell the property.

They found Liz to be understanding and extremely generous with her time. Always available, Liz encouraged them to contact her whenever they had questions or concerns and was able to provide support through some more tricky negotiations.

The vendors couldn’t be happier with the recent sale of their home and are now enjoying a peaceful time, relaxing and watching the wildlife at their new property.

If you would like to speak with Liz about your property contact our Castlemaine office on 03 5470 5811, call Liz on 0417 311 733, or email her at

From 70s relic to contemporary stunner

Injecting older homes with a whole lot of style Part 2

Do you dream of turning a rambling farmhouse into the quintessential country retreat or dragging a creaking Victorian into the present day with a sleek, modern makeover?

When we think of renovating it’s often these homes that come to mind. Highly sought after (with a price tag to match), with ageing wiring, stumps and dated layouts, costs for these fixer-uppers can skyrocket before anyone’s even started swinging a hammer.

So what about tackling a home from a less popular era like the 70s, 80s or 90s? Could there be one tucked just around the corner from that dreamy California Bungalow crying out to be updated?

While they might not have the initial street appeal these homes can really shine with a little love and offer excellent value for money.

Ask the experts

In Part 1 of this story we heard from Wayne Zantuck of Wayne Zantuck Design and Landscape Construction. Now, Dugald Campbell from Edifice Construction and Adrian Kowal from Kowelec share their ideas.

We’re also lucky enough to be able to show you the transformation of a 1970s Castlemaine home purchased from Waller Realty in 2015. From 70s relic to sleek, contemporary home.

“I think the best place to start with homes of these eras is by opening up the floor plan,” says Dugald. “This will bring in more light and create living spaces more in line with current trends.”

“One of the great thing about these homes is that the trusses usually extend to the external walls so removing internal walls isn’t an issue, ” he adds.

Dugald also suggests using skylights and solar tubes to bring in more light and one of the simplest renovation options of all – paint!

For our 70s transformation everything from the walls and lintels to door jambs has been given a coat of bright white and the change is striking.

Princess st Dining

Electrics can be a significant cost when renovating. Adrian says cabling in these homes is generally in good condition and won’t require re-wiring.

“We tend to find most fittings are compliant and safe and if switchboards do need to be upgraded it’s a pretty easy job,” he says.

Both Adrian and Dugald recommend checking how much power is at the property as mains may need to be upgraded if renovations include adding swimming pools or large air conditioning units.

Bathrooms are often a sticking point in houses of this era. Dated and dingy, gutting them is often seen as the only option. But with some simple changes like new tiles and taps, a bit of re-grouting and paint they can be brought back to life.

See the transformation above. New vanity, taps and toilet and suddenly this dated relic is looking right on trend.

When it comes to bathrooms no one likes to share. Homes of this era are more likely to have an ensuite than your ageing Edwardian and, while it might not be the one of your dreams, Dugald says this can be a real advantage.

“Cosmetic changes like replacing old style shower bases and screens with modern walk-in showers and updating tired tiles and vanities can all be done for a lot less than the cost of adding a new bathroom,” he says. “When it comes to managing a budget this can be a real advantage.”

Next time, local interior decorator, Lynne Mewett from Creative Ambience shares some ideas for simple upgrades in the kitchen and living areas.

Renovation images by @lynchmobmedia

Private sale or auction: which is better in the country?

If you’re looking into property in our region, especially if you’re relocating from somewhere like Melbourne or another major city, you’ve no doubt noticed private sale is the norm. But have you ever wondered why?

In a fast moving market like Melbourne where properties sell quickly and demand is high an auction is ideal.

Vendors are banking on strong competition on auction day pushing the sale price up. Buyers are hoping they’ll snag themselves a bargain. There’s a sense of overall urgency because the campaign has a set end date (auction day) and everyone is compelled to make a decision on the day.

So basically, strong market, lots of competition, more auctions.

Regional areas where demand is not quite as high and properties tend to move more slowly are better suited to private sale and there are a number of reasons why.

“Auctions are competitive,” says Waller Realty Agent, Tom Robertson. “For a vendor this can mean the property sells for more than the expected value. This sounds great, but in a small community there’s a downside”.

“In the country, people don’t like to bid against their neighbour or their friends,” says Tom. “With a private sale, buyers are less likely to know who else is interested and specific details can be kept out of the public eye. This makes everyone more comfortable.”

Another reason auctions tend not to be so successful in regional areas has to do with the length of time properties are likely to sit on the market before they sell.

In an auction when the hammer goes down the deal is done. The sale is unconditional, there’s no cooling off period and the contract is signed on the day.

“This works in a market where a buyer can purchase a property and reasonably expect they could sell their own quickly, ideally within the standard 4 – 5 weeks of an auction campaign,” says Tom.

“If you know you’re going to be able to sell your own place quickly you’ll bid with confidence.”

In the country the average time on the market is longer, around 120 days, and offers are more likely to have conditions: extended settlement periods, subject to finance or the sale of the buyers own home, so unconditional sales are far less common. Generally, conditions are much better suited to private sale.

According to Tom one of the common misconceptions people have about auction vs private sale is that at auction you’re likely to pay over the top of the range and for private sale you’re likely to pay less.

“This is not necessarily the case,” he says. “A private sale is just as likely to go up if there are several interested parties.”

It’s quite normal for another buyer to come in during a private sale negotiation and push the price up, not unlike what happens on any given Saturday at an auction in any street in Melbourne.

“Ultimately, the onus is on the buyer to get the contact signed and back to the agent. The sale is only final when the vendor signs whether it’s an auction or a private sale,” says Tom.

Like to know more about buying or selling in our region? Speak to one of our agents or call the Waller Realty office in Castlemaine on 03 5470 5811 or Maldon on 03 5474 1055.