Tag Archives: Real Estate

Holy Shit!

24 Oct

… were the words I said over and over about 10 minutes ago (which I’m sure my broker really appreciated – oops). But we just had an offer accepted on a TIC in Russian Hill!

It’s beautiful and I love it. More info coming in about 5 days but I don’t want to jinx anything because we still have an inspection and finance contingency, plus we need to look over the various documents to make sure everything is in order.

I’m so, so excited!!
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Congratulations Cat!

23 Mar

My little sister just bought her forever house. =)

She and Scott fell in love with it as soon as they saw it, but there was another couple interested in it too. Cat couldn’t pay much more than the asking price, and she was hardcore stressing out about it. Then inexplicably the other couple backed out, and the house was Cat’s!

It’s in Pascoe Vale, right near the station, and it has everything she wanted – a big backyard, 3 bedrooms, a deck (in fact it has 2 decks!), and a good kitchen. She wants to renovate the bathroom eventually (it’s a shower over a spa, so not the greatest) but it’s useable as-is.

Two fridges! Two ovens! Clearly somebody in this house liked to cook.

Cat said she doesn’t think the house needs to be painted, which is good.

This is the backyard. She wants a herb garden in that tanbark area against the house, some vegie beds to grow tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini, and a chook enclosure (probably where that cubby house is right now).

Personally I would consider putting some vegie beds in the middle of the lawn to cut down on mowing, but maybe Cat wants to keep it intact for her future kids to play on.

She will rent out 2 of the bedrooms to her friends to help pay the mortgage, but once they are more comfortable financially the plan is to live there just the two of them.

I’m looking forward to naming my chicken! I was keen on Lady Cluck, but I think Scott was going to give his chicken a similar name. I have 4 months to decide (it’s a long settlement period because the owners need time to buy another house).

But anyway, yay Cat! =)

My Dream Garden

17 Feb

One day, after mum and dad have retired and moved into the Reservoir house I’d like to renovate the garden and install a rainwater tank. It’s such a big garden and it’s gone criminally un-used. They could do some basic garden tending, and I would drop by once a week to help them with the harder stuff. I’ve been researching it so much, and it sounds so exciting that I’ve almost convinced myself that I want to move to the suburbs and have an orchard, vegie patch, and chickens.

The Reservoir garden would be nice with a chicken coop. The neighbors already have chickens – I know this because I saw them running through the garden when I was inspecting it with the real estate agent.

If I had chickens they could live in this Nogg chicken coop:

image from Nogg

Cat has promised me that when she moves into her (yet to be bought) investment property she will have chickens and I can choose and name one of them. I originally wanted to get a Silkie (those fluffy white ones with the ridiculous pantaloons) but found out that they’re not actually good egg-layers – they’re brooders, which means they like to sit on other chickens’ eggs.

James: to get good use out of their pantaloons no doubt

But then I read about chickens some more, and someone was talking about how chickens hate it when you remove their eggs. She said that you shouldn’t reach in from behind or else the chicken might deliberately shit on you. And sometimes even if you go from the front the chicken will turn around and deliberately shit on you. And sometimes the chicken will clamp down and deliberately break her eggs so you can’t get to them, and she’ll sit there smugly in her own eggy shitty filth.

Even so, I was pestering James via email about chickens yesterday. He wasn’t at his computer, but I was injured and filled with newfound knowledge.

4:04pm Kaye: oh [embarrassing pet name deleted]! I want chickens!
4:17pm Kaye: The real estate agent just called and said that someone has said they may make an offer around the 850k mark. But we definitely don’t want the property at anywhere near that price. Chickens chickens chickens!!
5:28pm Kaye: Cat is going to have chickens one day and she said she would let me name one of them =)
5:46pm Kaye: You finished work yet? Maybe I can convince your parents to buy chickens!
5:49pm James: Why is my inbox suddenly being spammed with chicken-want?

But anyway, once mum and dad have moved into the house I’d like to hire these guys to do a re-design of the backyard. From their website:

A permaculture inspired design can save you time, money, energy and water.  We can design your property to suit your combination of skill level, time and budget. We work with the soil types, solar aspect, wind directions, plants and existing structures to produce attractive designs which won’t just feed you with minimal effort, they’ll cool your house in summer, let light through in winter, while minimising the water and nutrition requirements of your garden!

For $330 (min) they’ll design the garden for you, but you can pay more for a more detailed design. They can also do the project management from crappy lawn to finished garden, which is handy because I’m fairly useless at this sort of stuff.

There are these really cool designs on their website, where they’ve planted guava, olive, apricot, hazelnut, plum, peach, cherry, lemon, orange, mandarin, macadamia, avocado and almond trees. Awesome.

That is my one regret at living in an inner city apartment – that we can’t make our place really sustainable and green, and I can’t have my own garden and chickens. I’ve seen places where it could be possible, but obviously a nice chunk of land in North Melbourne isn’t going to be cheap. But if we have a nice garden in Reservoir I would be able to pot around in it and mum and dad would have lots of food and a beautiful garden to look at. =) It’s probably not tax-deductible because it would be an improvement rather than a repair, but it would help get better rent in the future. =) And who knows, maybe one day when James doesn’t need to be close to the CBD anymore we could retire there and the cats could be free range. If that were the plan though, I would probably also install solar panels when mum and dad moved in.

In the meantime I will live vicariously through Cat’s (future) garden and chickens.

More Real Estate Musings

9 Feb

I just spoke with the agent of the West Melbourne apartment. He remembered me from another apartment that James and I had looked at, in North Melbourne.

This place was seriously gorgeous, and I’m kind of kicking myself for not getting it. It was obviously taken really great care of, and the quality of everything was amazing – the bathroom taps, the toilet, the kitchen … you could tell that the owner had obviously loved the place. The problem was that it only had one bedroom, and we would prefer a study to have our computers in. It didn’t seem like enough of an upgrade to make it worth the agent fees, stamp duty, and the overall hassle of moving.

But I found out from the agent that it only sold for 550k! Which is not much more than our place is worth. And look at this balcony!

Here you can see the other half of the balcony and part of the living room. Awnings? Heaven!

This was the entrance. It’s so nice and clean, but I remember thinking that my computer desk wouldn’t be nearly this clean, so the first thing people would see when they came in would be my table with crap strewn all over it. James’ desk is neat, but sometimes I suspect that he just nudges some of his stuff onto my side.

Gorgeous bathroom. I love toilets that are retracted into the wall. Less cleaning to do! There was a shower to the right. I’m not crazy about spas – I’d prefer a bathtab. And if I recall correctly the shower had a one-way window, so you could see into the hall but the people in the hall couldn’t see you. At least I hope that’s how it worked.

The bedroom. I loved the window seat, and James likes the idea of a bedroom big enough for side tables. Also there isn’t a photo of this, but the hall leading to the bedroom was basically ALL wardrobe. There was so much storage in this place, it was incredible.

I loved the kitchen too. I remember when James saw it he was like “This is the sort of kitchen I want.” Everything was just so beautiful and low-maintenance. The maintenance is actually my worry about the West Melbourne house – it’s much more striking than this place, but it looks like a lot of effort to maintain.

If only there had been an extra bedroom! I guess nowadays it would be less of a hassle since James and I are both using laptops. We could have just migrated our stuff to the living room.

Also it wasn’t just the bedroom – when we got the Section 32 there had been complaints from the tenants in the building (including the people in this apartment) about noise from the cafe below. They’d gotten sound engineers in and everything. Also we were worried about the garage – the cars were actually stacked on top of each other via some sort of lift, so we were worried that if it broke we wouldn’t be able to get to our car.

So close to perfect.

Honestly I think if they offered this place today at around $600k I’d take it in a heartbeat.

House Hunting …?

6 Feb

James and I are currently looking at a 3 bedroom place in West Melbourne. It ticks all of our must-have boxes except for air conditioning, but it has a ceiling fan. I want to inspect it in hot weather, because according to the map the main windows face West. We currently face West and on super hot sunny days it can get unbearable. And without blinds or air conditioning? We are definitely wary.

This room is probably the main worry. It felt pretty stuffy as soon as we walked in, but in all fairness it was a very brisk day and I think most homes would have felt a bit overwarm.

Nothing wrong with the kitchen. I want a larger kitchen than we currently have and a separate dining area because I’d like to invite people over for meals more. I think I would rock a dinner party.

Oh hello gorgeous, sweeping layout. James is not a fan of the spiral staircase because he banged his foot on it. I’m actually hoping that the spiral staircase (which is super narrow) will deter the cashed up baby boomer segment of the market. Not to mention couples with (or planning) kids and fat people.

There is also an awesome rooftop deck, and heaps of storage. The rooftop deck pretty much obliges you to host NYE parties. It’s great imagining hosting parties here, but then I always remember that I hate cleaning up afterwards. Also this place would be a total bitch to clean.

Floorplan:

It’s currently rented out and a bit worn for it, but I’m trying really hard to overlook the problems with it because I love the design so much. There is some fairly significant water damage to the windows in the living area. Plus I bet a space that big is a bitch to heat and cool. And it has a couple of extra bedrooms that we would never, ever use. We were thinking that one could be a guest room, and that way we could host our friends when they visited from overseas, or put up our parents if they needed to stay overnight in the city. Maybe the other could be some sort of storage room for masses of toilet paper and soft drink?

Holy crap. Holy crap.

James just suggested that we could mat out one of the bedrooms and turn it into a BJJ training room! (He also said he could put rock climbing holds on the walls and turn the perimeter into a a bouldering route but I was less excited about that).

The bank will lend us the money but it’s a matter of how comfortable we are with going into that much extra debt, especially since we’re only a couple of years away from being mortgage-free. But James doesn’t want to stay in this apartment forever, and I’ve loved the style of this building ever since I saw a listing for 23/1 Flagstaff lane 5 years ago. I even saved photos of it to my computer!

I’m going to another inspection to see how the apartment feels in warmer weather. I’m trying to not get too excited about it, because I do suspect we’ll do the sensible thing and not buy it. We haven’t even decided whether we’d keep this apartment or sell it. One option we did toss up was to buy the West Melbourne apartment and rent it out, using the opportunity to make some much-needed repairs while it’s tax deductible.

But anyway, it’s fun to look at apartments and it gives us a much more concrete idea of what features we’re after when we do upgrade.