oc | Saturday 18th January

Auctions still 2 weeks away – but off markets are happening now!


JAMES AUCTION REPORT: 29 Rubens Grove, – one of the very rare Top End auctions today.

A big crowd of over 130 people gathered on both sides of this street today.

Presiding was our Auctioneer Doug McLaughlin. His preamble described a 1920’s home on 1066 sqm in a family friendly street which has already seen most large blocks developed. He said this property is not only walking distance to schools, trams and trains but it also ripe for developers to build 2 townhouses or a new home.

The crowd listened to his preamble intently and when he asked for an opening bid, they kept listening. Doug said “it seems to be the same script as last year, no-one wants to start.” So he announced a vendor bid of $3.7m.  He offered the crowd “your opportunity at $3.8m.”  He suggested “somebody told home 8 was a lucky number.” Doug’s quick wit was in fine form today and it got the nervousness out of the crowd as a bidder offered $3.8m. Doug told everyone he was looking for another $100,000 but the crowd stood silent. He tried “who’s next?” called it 3 times and went inside to confer with his vendors. Upon his return, he offered to accept bids of $50,000 increments but soon after passed it in to the only bidder.

Passed In – $3,800,000 – 1 Bidder

Footnote: Our Bidderman and other graphs and dials still relate to last year and will until we begin auction reporting in 2 weekends.


Out and about in Bayside and the Inner East today – the word from the Top End agents is more Auction stock is on its way in March – let’s hope so, as there is very little right now – the action remains off market for the next fortnight.


29 Rubens Grove, Canterbury (above) –  AUCTION – see our Auction Report above and see James Home Rating 674/1000 click here

56 Kooyongkoot Road, Hawthorn – Steady stream of onlookers here. Agent Jack Stean quoted $7.5 million. 1980s build and first time it is to change hands since then. The spaces hold up quite well on the first level with a very good master room at the front. Good front to back flow.

10 Crest Avenue, Balwyn – Comforting feel to the scale and proportions of rooms, living space and the peaceful rear setting. A private pocket of the Inner East. Agent Mark Sutherland is quoting over $3.8 million.

14 Waterloo Street, Camberwell (below) –   quoting over $4.8 million – families of all ages at this Open – The wow is in the address and the back yard, the home was originally built in the 1950s and renovated in the 1980s. Agent James Tostevin said he has good interest in this home and good enquiry overall.




Andrew Campbell (above) – good agent – 1 Dawson, Brighton  – not for me – basically golden mile block of – is it over $3,400,000?

Brian Devlin at 34 Cosham St, Brighton –  a single level home, ready to move in, is it over $3,500,000?

11 Foote St, Brighton with Trudy Biggin – good home – on smaller land – in the “Elwood lovers” part of Brighton – is it over $4,000,000?

Halli Moore (below) – 13 Rooding, Brighton – shallow block – single-level home – good spot – is it over $3,000,000?



The Avenue_1

52 The Avenue, Prahran (above) – $4m buyers –  one buyer exclaimed you can kick a footy in the back room, needless to say, this grand old Victorian has big proportions and original features. It’s a shell needing a major renovation. Agent Andrew MacMillan, Jellis Craig said it’s a been a good start to the year with deals done and a few good properties coming up.

71 Chomley St, Prahran – $3m buyers – first Saturday Open and lots of people walking through this Wow home in a not- so-wow street. Agent Madeline Kennedy, Marshall White, felt confident about the start to the year.

50 Hunter St, Malvern (below) – $3m buyers – second Saturday Open and there was a good crowd of young families here. Agent Rae Tomlinson, Marshall White,  feels that although there is not much on the market, the buyer demand is there and she anticipates a good year.



How to Buy and Sell well – Part 2 – continuing on from Part One last week (click here)

Last week we showed you the numbers – the differences could be an extra $1,200,000 in your pocket right now on a good $2 million sell and a good $5 million buy versus a bad $5 million buy and $2 million sell  – AND could be a DIFFERENCE of $4 million in your pocket in the longer term, if you buy and sell well versus if you buy and sell poorly.

If we know the result differences can be so dramatic, how do we go about buying and selling well?

Let’s look specifically at selling and let’s today understand what is really important in selling a home and what is not quite as important as you may think.

Unlike buying, at least most people recognize that when selling their home, they need professional advice and isn’t that a conundrum – it’s a given that you will use a selling agent, when selling.

Yet when buying, for many of you it is almost a given you won’t use an agent – go figure.

But I digress.

When one of our buying clients is selling, we recommend being clear on a few things BEFORE you get to the “which agent” stage – and we ask the same questions as we do of our clients when buying – what is it you really, really want to achieve? 

Meaning do you want to sell with maximum convenience or maximum price or do you not really care, you just want it over?

Many sellers, we feel, focus on the wrong questions – the minutiae ones like – who do you think is a nice guy, how much should I spend on advertising, do I fix up the bathroom etc.

If you don’t clearly know why you are selling, then it’s easy for you to be led and your path once started on, is almost impossible to change and may not be the one in your best interests.

Why are you selling?

Know that answer and make sure it is roughly the same with your partner.

Three really clear reasons to sell are:

  1. I have to as I have bought a home and can’t afford two.
  2. I want to get as much money as I can and buying is not important.
  3. I want to move if the buy and sell deal is right.

Each one of the above reasons could require a different strategy (auction v private sale v off market), probably a different agent and certainly a different mindset from you IF you want to try and maximise your desired position.

If you don’t care – then I guess it doesn’t matter trying to put an extra $1,200,000 into your pocket – tax free.

OK lets ring some agents – who or what was that guy’s name who rang last month or who did Aunt Bettie use – you know – or has anybody seen that thing in the letterbox about free advertising this month?

WHOA – hold your horses teddy!

Before we do that, can we say that there are at least three things more important (ie will affect the price) than the Agent and one of them is YOU.


These are our Top 10 Sell Issues in order of importance:

  1. The PPP’s of the home. Yep that’s right – the better you buy, the better you sell in the future and this point is about a gazillion times more important than anything else connected with selling – what you bought in the first place.
  2. Current Demand and Supply – again very important. You can hold out for the strongest prices if you have a home attractive to a number of buyers; the market is solid on a macro level AND there is limited competition from other homes of a similar type on the market right now (micro level).
  3. You – how you do things – so important and a focus in next week’s James Marketnews. How you manage yourself and make others feel (like your agent), how trustworthy and inspiring you are, can have a big affect on price. Amazing to see professional business people manage large numbers of staff at work well and then come home and treat their agent like ………… Sure they may deserve it, but weren’t you the nuff-nuff that hired them in the first place.
  4. Agent – a key – so important and also a focus in next week’s James Marketnews. How to find the right agent and no its not a matter of looking up the internet or going to one of those “get the right agent” websites or ringing up the girl who has been ringing you for 10 years because you think she cares.
    4a. Buyer Skill – you get the cheap, nice guy agent and he finds himself up against an experienced and determined buyer and you will be kissing good bye a hellava lot more money than the commission you “saved”.
  5. Method – and no we don’t just mean Auction or Private sale – is it a three week or three month or a one year campaign. Why do we all think it’s a matter of three weeks and it’s done – why? Smart agent marketing is why – quick turnover is good for them, but is it good for you?
  6. Target price – important. Too low and you’re giving it away and too high and you’re not a seller – you’re an owner.
  7. Presentation – On a hot new date do first impressions count?
  8. Marketing – yep, its important, but it’s down the list – the size of The Age Ad is not the main key to good marketing.
  9. Commissions – of course I would say this as I’m on a commission, but if you are making your decision on commission, you haven’t done enough homework.
  10. Luck – If you are a lucky person, you are going to be better off than if you do points 1 to 9 well – trouble is it’s a Catch 22, as those that seem to be the lucky ones, are the ones that actually do points 1 to 9 well.

Next week let’s talk about 3. You and 4. Agent Selection AND yes, then you ring and get the selling agents around to hear how much your mighty home is worth!

Footnote: James Buyer Advocates organises Selling Agent Selection for James Buying clients and for this service Launch Housing (Homeless Prevention) now receives a donation from the selected agent. No additional charge is made to our buying clients and payments are now direct to Launch Housing – no payment is made to James Buyer Advocates – we are only paid by Top End buying clients. James Buyer Advocates works for the buyer.


Bloody Hot on Wednesday tramping through off-markets in Canterbury with Tim Picken. This home circa $3m on 800 sqm land was not for us as the slope was too great - but one of our clients inked their deal on another $4m+ off market 3 hours later.

Bloody hot on Wednesday tramping through off-markets in Canterbury with Tim Picken. This home circa $3m on 800 sqm land was not for us, as the slope was too great – but one of our clients inked their deal on a $4m+ off market three hours later. Tim did a great job for one of our clients at the end of last year in selling their home $8m+ in a manner and for an amount that allowed us to buy another home our clients wanted. It was very good work. *We do not receive money from Tim.

For us the year has begun strongly, with the signing of a number of new clients, after a strong finish to 2016.

Transactions for us, have already begun in the off-market area.

Now this is not a promise – more a comment – but it’s possible to make things happen relatively quickly, if the planets are aligned and you have an advocate who actually knocks on doors and makes phone calls.

Two weeks ago we got a call, we met, we agreed – we listened, then we found (another off market), we ‘due diligenced’, we talked, we talked again, we offered, we argy-barged, we dealt, our clients were successful and we drank (champagne and mineral water).

All in 2 weeks.

Late last year in December we were under the pump – an interstate client contacted us – we found an off market in December – we listened, we worked, we offered, we bought. Those clients are now here, and in January their child started at his new school.

Sometimes it takes a long time and we have a few clients who are a year with us – but we are looking for something very specific or we are just a tad unlucky – not saying it’s always instantaneous – but what we are saying that it’s not illegal or unheard of, to be quick with James Buyer Advocates either.


Deal Done with Marcus Chiminello, off market, Stonnington, this week

Lunch at Moby, High St Armadale – this week. Deal Done with , off market, . Marcus is one of the younger agents changing the way business is done and changing it for the better. In all my dealings with him to date (and that is all I can go on) – by the way not all of them have been successful (sometimes his price is too high) – I have found him to be straightforward, hardworking and forward thinking. *We do not receive money from Marcus.

Top End – Is what we do and where we earn our living. Did you know our clients were involved in Kew’s highest, Hawthorn’s highest, Brighton’s 3rd highest (non waterfront), Toorak’s highest and Melbourne’s and Victoria’s highest of all time priced homes in 2016?

Now you may say we are just bad advocates and we should be buying the lowest – but hopefully you get our point – when buyers and sellers need to get it done at the Top End, we are in the mix.

Our focus is still our business and our business is still Top End Melbourne – but life has never been just one dimensional for any of us at James Buyer Advocates. If you want to focus on the Top End, then stay on the Red Ochre and coloured headings above – if you want to know more, then delve into the subject matter below.

Younger Homebuyers – this is a segment we feel we would like to do more for in 2017. We want to help younger homebuyers buy better. We accept that most see our fee as too great an impost in their process – so we are hoping to run a number of articles, competitions, maybe even a seminar or app to assist younger homebuyers in Middle Melbourne buy homes better – it’s never been our business, but we do want to help (if we can).

Homeless – Our third area is something we have been involved in since 2004. We really believe that homelessness is awful – but is fixable/preventable for many – and so from time to time this year in James Market News and on Facebook (yes, we are being dragged there and to Instagram and more, OMG) we are going to highlight solutions and how you can help if you want to.


Money Bin

Our dealings with younger people, say sub-35 years of age (but no hard and fast rule) wanting to buy homes, say under a $1,000,000 (no hard and fast rule) has mainly revolved around listening and trying to understand how difficult it is and then politely moving on.

We at James Buyer Advocates have done little to help, other than produce a series of articles for The Age (for free) in 2014 entitled Melbourne’s Young Homebuyers Guide AND buy homes for the younger family members of clients, whom we have acted for in the past.

Anyway, this year we are looking at trying to help the younger within our community, make good decisions about buying homes and we are looking to you, to tell us how we can help you.

We split your home situations into three.

Landholders: Landholders or Homebuyers – you own property, own the home you live in and in the future will generally stay in one specific place for large periods of time – building on each home as an increasing base of emotional, possibly spiritual and definitely financial stability.

Nomads: you are like Gypsies, like old tribal societies that moved regularly – you are renters, with limited tenancy rights. You have ties to an area, but by choice or circumstance you don’t or can’t stay in one specific spot for long and tend to move around from place to place within an area.

Drifters: Homeless, constant travellers, refugees – you have no ties and for the most part no control over where you live. You move often and you disconnect from your surroundings on a regular basis.

We at James are trying to help you avoid being Drifters (as almost all people are unhappy in this mode of living); show that at certain times of your life being Nomadic is ok and encourage you to becoming a Landholder for long-term positive financial, emotional and spiritual outcomes, if that is what you want.

So how can we really help you?

Here is our attempt to get started!

Money Bin

Why do we call it the Money-Bin Competition?

Because that is what buying a good home should be, eg when we buy for most of our clients at the Top End.

It’s like living in a place where you just seem to keep getting more and more money and happier and happier, spiritually and emotionally over the longer term.

We named it after the home of Disney’s Scrooge McDuck – he called his home the Money-Bin.

Click here to read the article we wrote about it. It’s about 1/2 way down.

Younger Homebuyer Resources – The 2014 Age Articles below. (click on links)

Week one: Good decision making and planning kick off property success

Week two: How to make a million-dollar property plan

Week three: Future-proofing your investment

Week four: Beginning your house hunt

Week five: How to value a property

Week six: How to negotiate like a pro

Now please, we have never run a competition like this before, so if there are any issues anybody can see please tell us – eg we don’t think we need a permit (if we do please tell us and we will get one) AND we will show you where the money goes, via pics in James Marketnews.

So hop to it, if you want a $1,000 to put into your Money Bin.

Money Bin


Last week we introduced you to real solutions for Homelessness – it’s Launch Housing’s – Homelessness Prevention Private Rental Support Program.

Next week there is a super important meeting with two of Melbourne’s best financial planner’s Wade Ritchie* of Shadforth (9649 2400) and Tyler Hunter* of DPM Financial (9621 7000) and Tony Keenan, CEO of Launch Housing.

They will be discussing possible ways for the ethical and widespread roll out of a new tax ruling obtained by Launch Housing, which allows an investor (read this could be you) to claim a deduction between the market rent and the actual rent on a home if you are letting through Launch Housing to directly help low income and near homeless families.

We will bring you the results over the next few weeks of this meeting.


Since 2006 Launch Housing (formerly Hanover Welfare Services) has worked to prevent people from entering the homelessness system, with vital work conducted through their Homelessness Prevention Private Rental Support Program.

This program offers practical support for people who face losing their homes, by providing rental subsidy payments on a sliding scale. This helps prevent homelessness by getting them back on their feet.

It is a brilliant program because it is preventing and reducing the homelessness situation, which is very real in Melbourne, as has been highlighted over the last few months.

It is a relatively easy matter for you to help a number of families and children in difficult circumstances.


Last week we brought you Felicity’s story – this week it is Lisa’s story.

These are real stories and you can help provide real solutions.


Lisa (55) has been living in her private rental property since May 2016. Lisa presented at Launch Housing Cheltenham at the end of September 2016 as her tenancy was at risk due to rental arrears. At this time, her real estate agency had already applied for a VCAT hearing and she was close to receiving an eviction notice.

Lisa informed the Launch Housing Support Worker that both her mother and partner had passed away three years ago. Sadly, the loss of her family members resulted in significant financial strain and the deterioration of her physical and mental health. Lisa’s rent had become unaffordable as she was in receipt of a limited income through a Disability Support Pension, and was experiencing difficulty in securing employment.

Support provided

Lisa was referred to the Homelessness Prevention Private Rental Support Program to assist her to maintain her private rental tenancy. The Launch Housing Support Worker contacted Lisa’s real estate agency to advocate on her behalf for the VCAT hearing to be cancelled, and to develop a payment plan to assist Lisa to clear her arrears while continuing to meet her regular monthly rental payments. Through this program, Launch Housing was able to assist Lisa by contributing toward reducing her accrued rental arrears.

The Launch Housing Support Worker referred Lisa to a Financial Counsellor located at our Cheltenham site to support her to increase her capacity to better manage her finances. Lisa was also linked in with her local employment service provider to search for new employment opportunities.


Lisa is engaging well with her employment service provider and hopes to gain stable employment so that she is able to independently sustain her tenancy into the future. The Homelessness Prevention Private Rental Support Program has been of great benefit to Lisa as she continues to work on achieving her housing and employment goals.

An investment of $641 through the Homelessness Prevention Private Rental Support Program has enabled Lisa to salvage her tenancy and maintain the relationship with her real estate agency. This demonstrates the incredible impact that a small investment can have in preventing people from entering the homelessness system.

The Launch Housing Homelessness Prevention Private Rental Support program offers practical support for people who face losing their homes by providing rental subsidy payments on a sliding scale.

This helps prevent homelessness by getting them back on their feet.

You can help significantly.

As it has involved a large amount of money from our company we have been pretty insistent on a few checks and balances:

1.     There is a contractual arrangement between James Buyer Advocates and Launch Housing that 90% of the money flows directly to the end user, on the money we put in.

2.     There is contractual arrangement that the money provided is direct to the real estate agent for rental arrears or bond.

3.     There is a contractual arrangement for a quarterly report and since 2006, we have never not been sent one – you see where every cent goes.

AND YES, it is tax deductible! Yippee.

So you can help and you can help now in a very real manner by:

Regularly donating to the Homeless Prevention program – e.g. make a substantial commitment by contacting Andy Grant, the Fundraising Manager at Launch Housing on 9288 9810, or by emailing him at andy.grant@launchhousing.org.au

Make a one-off substantial commitment of say $10,000 – tax deductible. That can help Launch Housing ensure that up to eight families will NOT become homeless.

Attend a one-on-one briefing session on Homelessness issues and see where your support can go. For substantial donors this includes having first hand contact with the issues and solutions.

We have been involved with Launch Housing (formerly Hanover) for over 12 years now and it has involved hundreds of thousands of dollars and hundreds of families have NOT become homeless.

This is not about a few dollars ‘band-aid solution’ to make you feel good – if you want to help with their brilliant Homeless Prevention program contact me for a chat on 0408 107 988 or better still ring Andy at Launch Housing direct on 9288 9810.

* We receive no money from Tyler Hunter, Wade Ritchie for our referrals and we do not pay them for the referrals that we receive and are appreciative of.

Hey, have you got 7 minutes – this is a good video!

About 3m 50s onwards if you get bored after the first 30 seconds

Look at the lady(s) – just like anybody you would see at an Open For Inspection – yet were homeless!

And the guy before that – was sleeping under the Hawthorn Bridge – we drive over that to go to Saturday Auctions

Seriously you can help – and you will feel good – its longer lasting than sugar!


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