oc | Thursday 23rd January

What is really happening!


Bidders remain tight lipped as nobody steps forward at 56 Cecil Street, Kew. Passed in on a vendor bid – $2,350,000.






Rock solid… Prices have flattened out over the past 12 months, which means buyers and sellers have a stable environment to transact at the moment. Tim Heavyside

I reckon the market is patchy. There is a nervousness about it. A bit like the start of a marathon race. Buyers are lining up ready to go but are waiting for a signal. Not from the starter, the auctioneer, but from each other. They are all there eager to bid but we are seeing some races, (auctions) not even start because no one is prepared to make the first bid. We (agents) find this a little frustrating, as it just means we negotiate with them all, after the auction and put the sale together anyway. Bid people! It’s fun. Stephen Gough

In a nutshell the market right now is hot. Whilst supply has opened up somewhat, stock levels for quality homes remain low. This combined with pent up demand is resulting in strong turnouts at auction with many selling well ahead of reserve and more and more buyers now opting to do what they must to secure homes ahead of auction. Stephen Smith

Still extremely healthy, albeit perhaps not as frenzied as this time last year. As long as you have measured expectations, it’s a great time to buy and/or sell. David Hart

Steady, however 25% down on stock. David Gillham

Very buoyant and potential vendors considering selling should feel confident of achieving a great result for their home. Walter Dodich

Stronger than I have ever seen it in my 20 years in the game. Nick Johnstone

Still being driven by a sheer lack of stock. It’s simple economics; demand is outstripping supply week after week. An influx of property for sale could certainly change the dynamics of this market very quickly. Marcus Chiminello

Very buoyant due to a housing shortage in the top end and low interest rates. Jock Langley

Glorious spring blossoms begin to open up while home choices remain limited. 18 Middle Road, Camberwell passed in on a vendor bid – $2,700,000.


Brighton, 52 Bay Street (David Hart) – After Auction $4,925,000, 2 bidders

Brighton, 22 Champion Street (Jason Scott) – Under the Hammer $2,375,000, 3 bidders

Brighton East, 6 Shasta Avenue (John Clarkson) – Under the Hammer $2,355,000, 3 bidders


Brighton, 6 Hamilton Street (Peter Kakos) – Under the Hammer $2,275,000, 9 bidders

Malvern East, 41 Summerhill Avenue (John Morrisby) – Under the Hammer $2,310,000, 5 bidders

Balwyn, 53 Metung Street (Patrick Dennis) – Under the Hammer $2,120,000, 5 bidders


Hawthorn, 2 Fordholm Road – Passes In $4,250,000, 1 bidder

Hawthorn, 3 Glen Street – Passes In $3,500,000, 0 bidders

Camberwell, 18 Middle Road – Passes In $2,700,000, 0 bidders

Body language was doing the talking today in South Melbourne, 248 Montague Street passed in with 0 bidders.


Real photo on Thursday - Mal negotiating with Walter Dodich befroe auction on 21 Laver St Kew.

Real photo on Thursday – Real Mal negotiating with a Real Walter Dodich before this Saturday’s auction on a very Real 21 Laver St, Kew which was one of six from ten we bought.

This week we have decided to move away from our standard format, BUT STILL talk about what is really, really going on out there (as we do each week by the way).

This topic was inspired by a troll (yes, we’ve learnt about them) that we unfortunately experienced on social media.

Is James Buyer Advocates real?

Also above and below you can click on JAMES REAL CLIENTS – THESE ARE THEIR STORIES videos.

So no perfume, no noise –  what we do week in, week out – for buying clients and for buying clients who also want to sell.

We buy up to 100 homes a year, mainly in that $2m to $6m range, mostly for and in . We bid on a lot more than that, but in this market, we would have to have rocks in our head (and be completely unethical) to be buying every home we bid on, at auction for you, the buyer.

We are open  – we tell when we get it right and we tell you when we miss.

If good homes are good and the client says so, then we buy. If homes are going ballistic and making no sense; then we proudly say that we walk away and look for another home or another way. That is what real advocates do – they don’t just buy – they help clients make good decisions.

In 2015 and 2016 we have walked away from a lot, BUT……. we still buy a lot of homes for clients.

To pick a number randomly – In the last ten days, here are the last ten home homes we have been involved in, in those 10 days.



FOOTNOTE: Please note there is a bit of an anomaly in these stats – most of our clients are $2m to $6m, yet most of these are at the lower end of that. That is just the way the cookie crumbled this last 10 days. These results do not include all our off markets.

Here are longer term stats for the mainly $2m to $6m markets we operate in. The market is changing and we are changing.


But it’s not just auctions – off Markets are now around 30% of our business. WE ARE VERY REAL IN OFF MARKETS as well.


We are currently involved directly in negotiating 4 other off markets (away from the auction system). This property is one of two off markets we have purchased in the last 10 days – the other one was over $4 million in the East.

We saw the above Armadale off market home on the weekend, we bought it on the Wednesday – against other buyers.

In between the weekend and Wednesday, the James team organised:

1) A Full James HOME Rating with

2) A building inspection

3) Design and plans

4) Legal and council checks

5) And ………..around 100 other points in our checklists

6) As well, we attended family meetings to discuss what they really, really wanted.

PROOF: The agency was and we asked our client to appear in this photograph to show you it’s real – thank you Marie (her real name). For privacy and security we are giving no other details. BUT Marie is real, we are real – these are not models – although I think they are all good looking (except maybe the guy on the end).

This is a picture of the actual roughs that were developed within 72 hours with the address deleted for Marie’s privacy.


BUT let’s not just talk about us – let’s all learn from Marie. Here is what we discussed with her and her family in a way that hopefully can help you, the buyer.

When In The Middle Doesn’t Work

This is a short story about when picking the middle one doesn’t work – when the decision really does come down to black or white as compromising somewhere in the middle could be a mistake.

In this story, our heroine could either spend a little or a lot and it would work, but spending in the middle would not work …….  financially.

The Context:

Our heroine has been looking for some time in , had missed at an auction or two under the hammer and then we found an off-market in the street of her dreams. The home wasn’t perfect but the size and potential were ideal. We inspected it and our heroine could feel her heart warm to the possibilities. We arranged another inspection for her family to visit and by that time, it went from a quiet off market sale to a boardroom auction in 72 hours. We got the team together and we bought it – against 2 other bidders.

Who was the winning team –  Advocate, Designer, Builder and Client. Kathy’s drawings, James’s building advice and Gina’s skills – not to mention a great deal of support from the family.

The Decision:

Despite the fact it was run down – this home still got a very good James Home Rating from us. Its plusses were orientation, size, car parking and its sensational location.

However it only made sense if you did a makeover or you went the whole hog!

In dollar terms –  less -than $100,000 (a makeover) or possibly around $500,000 (the whole hog). $250,000 – $300,000 spent on doing it up, just didn’t make much sense, financially. And why wouldn’t have $300,000 made sense financially?

Because you would have overcapitalized.

But at $500,000 you would not have overcapitalized.

And at $100,000 you would have done what was necessary to rent it out until, in say a decade when finances permitted, you could totally gut or resale as basically  – and good at that!

Taking the $300,000  “safe” option would be a waste of money. No real increase in rent for a large increased capital outlay. And when you came to renovate, although the back area would be okay, you would still have small rooms at the front  – because that was the compromise you made to get it to be half way at a $300,000 budget. You simply had no room to expand except for knocking down the work you had already done and pushing back.

If instead you decided to sell with those small bedrooms, it would not be viewed favourably, irrespective of the quality of the new rear living and kitchen area. And in our opinion you would really not get any more than what you would have if you spent $100,000.

It would be better that you spent the extra and did it all in the first place.

Moral of the story:

So one of the times when you’re being safe – taking the middle ground – can actually cost you.




We are proud to present the first of our new video series. Today we introduce you to two of our clients. Kerrie & Michael who have recently bought and Anna & Adam who’s family have been long time clients.

Please click on their images to view the videos.

These are their stories…


Anna & Adam


Kerrie & Michael

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