Archives

Retro revival

Injecting older homes with a whole lot of style Part 3

Updating a home from the 70s, 80s or 90s might not sound as romantic as stripping back a little post-war weatherboard charmer, but there are lots of advantages, not the least of which is cost.

These homes offer excellent value for money. They’re less likely to need the big jobs like re-wiring or re-stumping and with their more modern open floor plans, simple, cosmetic upgrades can achieve big results.

For this story we’re lucky enough to be able to show you more of the transformation of a 1970s Castlemaine home purchased from Waller Realty in 2015. The house was in pretty bad shape when the owners bought it but as you can see, what they’ve been able to achieve is pretty spectacular.

Ask the experts

In the first two parts of this story we looked at using landscaping to modernise and soften exteriors, opening up the floor plan and using simple materials like paint to bring in more light and things to consider when it comes to the electrics. This time, Lynne Mewett, Interior Designer and Principal at Creative Ambience shares her ideas.

“Homes from these eras don’t generally have any task lighting,” says Lynne. “This is a real focus in modern homes so it’s a great place to start, especially in the kitchen.”

Ambient or general lighting provides overall illumination while task lighting, as the name suggests, helps you perform specific tasks like cooking and food preparation, reading, working, etc.

“Adding recessed, pendant or under cabinet lighting over work surfaces can provide an instant lift,” says Lynne

Task lighting has been used to great effect in the Castlemaine home. Work surfaces are suddenly brighter and more inviting to use, even with the addition of extra overhead cupboards.

Speaking of cupboards, Lynne suggests keeping a kitchen intact, if the carcass is good, and updating by painting or replacing door and drawer fronts, changing splashbacks from tile to glass and adding new bench tops.

“Updating a dark, laminate bench top to a light stone will not only provide a beautiful work surface it will also bring in more light, especially if you add glass splash back and task lighting,” she says.

The owners at Castlemaine have gone for a combination of approaches, replacing door fronts, adding some new cabinetry, changing tiles and giving everything a fresh coat of paint. What a difference!

Changing window furnishings is another trick Lynne relies on to make a big difference without a big price tag.

“The tendency in these eras was to have drapes, which, while fabulous insulators, add volume and can make a room appear smaller,” she says. “These days most people prefer blinds or shutters.”

What’s needed depends on the room. You want as much light as possible in living areas, while for bedrooms and bathrooms privacy is the top priority. Thankfully, there are blinds to suit pretty much any specification.

Holland or Roller blinds are both space and cost effective. The images below show the difference replacing drapes with these blinds can make.

“The great thing about these houses is that most of them have good bones,” says Lynne. “They’re open plan, they have things like alfresco areas and ensuites and these are exactly what people want in a modern home today.”

We agree Lynne! So, don’t be daunted by first appearances. See beyond the dated fittings and daggy finishes and visualise these homes as they could be. With a little ingenuity and some hard work you might just uncover the home of your dreams.

Take a look at our current listings and see if you can find one for yourself.

Follow up with Part 1 and Part 2 of this story here.

Personable and proactive

The vendors at 18 Yurunga Drive in Castlemaine wanted to downsize, reduce their energy consumption and spend less time on maintenance. They had already purchased a block of land and were keen to start building when they met with Nick Haslam.

Experienced with buying and selling in Castlemaine they chose Waller Realty as they felt the team was the most proactive in town. They also recognised how well the agents worked together with a focus on achieving the best results.

From the very first meeting they were pleased with Nick’s approach, describing him as personable and very easy to talk to.

They were initially surprised by the price Nick set for the property but say he was confident it could be achieved and they trusted his instincts. They did not have to wait long. The property sold within five weeks and for only just under the asking price.

If you would like to speak with Nick about your property contact our Castlemaine office on 03 5470 5811, call Nick on 0418 322 789, or email him at nick@wallerrealty.com.au

Nick Haslam

Highly skilled and professional

When the vendor at 5 Camp Street Daylesford made the decision to sell he knew he needed to find an experienced agent.

Having lovingly restored Goodman House, one of the finest properties in the district, over the past 18 years he wanted someone who could appreciate how unique the property was and who was skilled enough to handle a sale of this size and nature.

Tom Robertson came highly recommended and made the trip to Daylesford to see the property the day the vendor called. He describes Tom as highly skilled and professional, respectful of his wishes when it came to the specifics of the sale process, and absolutely discrete.

Tom recommended some minor works be taken care of before listing the property and was able to work around the vendor’s requirements in terms of price and marketing. Within a month the property was on the market and within just three weeks, it had sold.

The vendor says he was thrilled not only with the swift sale but also with the buyers, who he says understood and appreciated the property.

If you would like to speak with Tom about your property contact our Castlemaine office on 03 5470 5811, call Tom on 0408 596 871, or email him at tom@wallerrealty.com.au

 

Tom Robertson

Census 2016: our region is growing and the way we live is changing

The 2016 Census has been released, providing the latest data on Australia’s population – who we are, where we live, how we live and much, much more. So what does this snapshot of the nation reveal about those of us who live in the Mount Alexander Shire and how have we changed since the last census in 2011?

There are more of us

More people still live in our capital cities, which are growing twice as fast as the rest of the country, but regional areas are also experiencing rapid growth.

The number of people in the Mount Alexander Shire has grown by nearly 7 per cent since 2011, from 17,591 to 18,761.

That’s a similar rate to our neighbours in the popular Hepburn Shire, but outstrips the growth in places like the LaTrobe, Yarra Ranges and Colac Shires, all comparable distances from Melbourne, by several per cent.

Affordability is still high

Housing affordability is a hot topic across the country. High buyer demand and limited supply continues to drive prices upward and most people are feeling the pinch, particularly if they’re living in a capital city.

In 2016 people in our region spent an average of $1,300 a month on their mortgage.

That’s more than $400 less than the state average of $1,728 and significantly lower than the average monthly mortgage in popular Melbourne suburbs such as Northcote, Coburg, Prahran and Essendon, which range from $2,000 – $2,167.

 If you’re looking to buy property in one of the towns in our region such as Castlemaine or Maldon this is good news.

 The way we live is changing

While the majority of homes in the shire are still separate houses the 2016 Census shows an increase in other types of dwellings such as semi-detached homes and townhouses.

The number of semi-detached, terrace or townhouses in the shire has more than doubled in the last five years.

“The trend towards more concentrated, medium density living in towns like Castlemaine and Maldon reflects changes we are seeing all over the country,” says Waller Realty Agent, Tom Robertson.

“More people in our region are choosing to build and live in smaller homes for reasons of convenience, for cost and, in many cases, to reduce their environmental impact. We expect to see this shift in thinking continue to grow in the next few years.”

Additional details from the Census are due to be released in October 2017. This includes information on employment and income.

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 liz@wallerrealty.com.au

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.