Against All Odds

by Gina Kantzas, Mal James, Simone Clarke, Maddie James and Phoebe James

Saturday, June 19th, 2021

Market Update

Headline: As we go into the traditional school holiday Winter turndown (not lockdown please) if anything, the kicking March market feels like it is kicking again after a slight lull in April/May.

However there are many positive buyer stories out there

Welcome to our last Marketnews for a month or so and today has been inspired by 60 Minutes and all mainstream media horror headline market exposes, that imply it’s all too hard for buyers. It’s not.


Buyers can survive and actually thrive in this 2021 market and today, in buyers own words, you are shown how at $1m, $2m, $3m and above.


We finish up with a practical how to guide for buyers to buy well in 2021.

15 Rae Street Hawthorn (Chris Barrett):

  • Agent Quote: $3,800,000 to $4,180,000.
  • Pre-auction offer of $4,500,000 
  • Today: Volcanic 6 Bidders 
  • 3 over $5,000,000.
  • Knocked down under the hammer in a brisk 3-minute auction for $5,550,000.
  • Strong market, segment and individual.

Disappointments (temporary)

Despite other rumors, we at James Buy Sell are human. The above Hawthorn auction was gut-wrenching not only for our clients but for us.


Like Rafa in the semi-final, no matter how hard we all tried on our side (we went early, we went big, we went again), the other joker was simply better and had our measure.


It was not possible today, it will hurt for a short while and then you move on.

Get you mind right.

Life is actually ok and really 2021 is just another normal Inner Melbourne market; for you, for agents, for sellers, and for buyers………. Normal in that it’s a market full of disappointments and a few surprises……..Normal in that’s also a market full of joys and buyer successes!

As a buyer in 2021, you are in nothing but a normal market

Yes, it’s true, 2021 is a normal market – one that we have seen every year this millennium.


2021 is no different to 2016, 15, 09, 07 in terms of heat and in many ways no different to the markets of any other year in terms of challenges, they are just different – be it bank lending, stock levels, jobs outlook, rising prices, falling prices, pandemic, GFC, Y2K Bug, China, 9/11, rates, good or bad luck…..


Our Inner Melbourne Top End market changes, every week, month and year and that means this dynamic housing market actually stays the same.

Stay Professional Melbourne

Why are Expressions of Interest Homes (EOIs) always 3 storys.


Well, for Melbourne EOI homes you get 1 story from the agent when you ring, they add another story when you visit and you get the top story when you offer.

3 positive buyer outcomes in their own words. 100% real.

Our names removed below so as they don’t read like testimonials. All have embedded processes of MMMs, PPPs and CCCs, however, we have removed all references to such, so as you can appreciate the determined, gutsy and unadulterated humanity of the buyers.


Not one involved more and more money!!


All three buyers concluded this week, now, today. It is BS that buyers can’t buy well now at all levels!! Get the right help and get the right strategy.

Young divorcee with little, makes a million by caring for her children, herself and her ex.

Before: We first met Jeani, when we bought her house for her and her then husband. A few years later Jeani was going through a separation and approached us for guidance. Jeani had no job, two kids with her in their family home, no substantial equity.


Now: Good job, two kids in their family home, 50% equity at over $1million dollars. Ex-husband still visiting and has been fair.


Jeani’s refinance settlement happened this week. We asked Jeani to write her story for this week’s Marketnews. These are all Jeani’s words. Unedited. Thank you Jeani.


“That’s impossible ………, I can’t do it”


Words I spoke several years ago, as a newly separated mother with two children under 5.


How on earth could I conceive that I might be able to hang on to our family home, when I was barely earning enough to pay our household bills, let alone the mortgage?


Goal #1 – nothing else changes

But there was a glimmer, or at least enough of a one that I entertained the possibility for a split second longer. And the love for my children and keeping my family as safe and secure as possible. We were entering rough seas, our boat was already rocking, and my instincts told me to do whatever it took to keep everything else in our lives the same.


Enter a long hard slog – the hardest part being the constant self-doubt, the mental and emotional gymnastics, asking myself countless times a day whether I was pursuing the right path. It felt hard. It still felt impossible.


As I’ve come to realise, the things in life that are most worthwhile, usually do.


………. voice in my ear “just hang onto your house – it’s your security, for you and the kids”


Slowly, things started to fall into place. Casual post-maternity-leave work, turned into something more solid. My income recovered – even grew – and suddenly I was paying the mortgage myself. All the while, maintaining my firm boundary of not putting my young children into full time daycare.


Goal #2 – remain amicable

Nothing good comes from warring parents. I set my sights on maintaining our relationship so that our children will feel comfortable having both their parents at birthdays in 10 years’ time, or at their weddings in 30.


The downward spiral is a slippery one of blame-shifting, finger-pointing and hurtful words. We’ve avoided this and in doing so each pocketed a minimum of $50k in lawyers fees. A benefit in and of itself, let alone our children being almost completely unaware of any hurt between the two of us.


It takes self control and letting go in those tiny moments when a snide remark may well be justified, to stop yourself slipping on to the spiral. But I’ve seen people work much harder for that $50k and still not win it.


Goal #3 – no extreme financial pressure

Stress doesn’t bring out the best in us. But as ………… says, “what’s the difference between being 70% stressed and 80%?”. I was still a single parent, with two young children, trying to maintain a career. Life was going to be high stress regardless.


The certainty of having my home, provided options. Options make life less stressful. And while I worked hard to recover my income, I still managed it on a part time salary.


Life has certainly been stressful, but not due to moving houses, changing kinders or schools, moving suburbs or having to make new friends.


The result – certainty

Which brings us to the now …


We still live in the home that I brought my babies home from hospital to.


Where we have neighbours and friends who I could call at 2am if I had an emergency.


Where we can walk to school, kinder, the shops, our favourite parks and all of our friends’ houses, and even the beach.


Where the childrens’ father is still welcome and we have a friendly chat in the kitchen.


A home that will help me take care of our family for many years to come.


Certainty is an elusive beast – one we all chase in one way or another. And while none of us ever actually have it, I like to think about degrees of certainty now. Many things we can’t control, but some we can. And when we do, we get to enjoy a degree of certainty.


I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, none of us do, but I do know that I won’t have to uproot our family unless sheer disaster strikes.


I’ve paid the price of living in a state of uncertainty for longer than many are prepared to, to now enjoy the benefits of having more certainty and security than the majority of single parents I know.


The things in life that are most worthwhile, are hard to do. And I was wrong and you ………were right. It wasn’t impossible.

Downsizers trade sideways, even though the banks said no.

Peter and Georgia sold this week to complete their buy sell deal with matching settlements. We asked Peter and Georgia to write their story for this week’s Marketnews. These are Peter’s and Georgia’s words. Unedited. Thank you Peter and Georgia


Before and After: In a period of about six weeks, with two weeks out for COVID, we successfully bought and sold and are on our way to our new dream home.


We are a couple in our mid 70’s living in a large double story four bedroom (all upstairs) house In Melbourne’s East and were vaguely thinking that we should downsize – sometime – while we still could!  But it was all too difficult!


Unexpectedly, a house that perfectly fitted our requirements, became available and was to be auctioned soon. We were definitely interested but felt some trepidation at negotiating the hassle of the property market – all too complicated.


A friend recommended we consult ……….. He visited, outlined his approach and was totally upfront about fees. He talked us through our options, including possible strategies with finance and strongly suggested we seek a 120 day settlement as the banks were not playing ball. He did explain and also showed us how to mitigate risks. All of this gave us confidence in proceeding further.


Pre-auction discussions established our financial limit and a strategy for the auction. The auction was exciting and only slightly stressful as …….. bid on our behalf to the agreed strategy. We were successful and jubilant about our purchase.


But then we faced selling our existing house as quickly as possible. Again, … helped. He linked us to an agent and was part of the initial discussion deciding on optimal house presentation, methods of sale (auction or private) and terms.


We were concerned about having to sell in a time of year when real estate is traditionally very quiet. Our anxieties, particularly about finance options, were somewhat mitigated by strategy discussion with ………… A private sale was decided upon – beginning in three weeks time.


Frantic activities followed – organising painters, gardeners etc and “decluttering” furniture and effects.  With appropriate advertising, the estate agent managed two inspection days which were very successful as far as the number of people attending. 


But then, DISASTER, the COVID lockdown occurred, and everything stopped. Anxieties rose again. What if…..??? We had this commitment to settle on our new house?? ……….. and the estate agent reassured us that buyer interest would return with enthusiasm following the lockdown. (It had happened before after lockdowns).


As soon as possible when permitted after lockdown, the agent opened for inspection days by appointment After three more inspections in five days, we had some firm offers being made. Advice from ……… emphasized that we keep our cool and the three requirements we needed to focus on were; price, conditions and settlement date …… they were all priorities in making our decision so as to mitigate risk. 


After a suggestion that got an extra $30k over what we would accept (paid the fees and some) we made the decision to accept a written offer for a very acceptable price – unconditional – with a settlement date the same as our purchased house. We were delighted with the result – over the moon – and look forward to planning our move.  

Five years of looking

Changed Strategy

Bought in 4 weeks

Before: No confidence. No plan. Forgotten outcomes

After: The home with the PPPs they really, really wanted.


Siggy and Bud’s bought this week and we asked them to write a piece on their feelings for this week’s Marketnews (and we promise you, despite what you may think, not one word or suggestion from Mal). These are entirely Siggy and Bud’s words and quote. Unedited. Thank you Siggy and Bud.


A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering. – Dalai Lama


Six years ago we moved to Australia. When we moved to this country with its spectacular nature and happy and friendly people, we felt young, strong and full of ambitions. The only cultural shock we initially experienced was the level of house prices, which was huge compared to our home country.


After a year we moved into a new rental house. It was a lovely, comfortable house where our teenage children could invite friends, and where everyone had his own private space.


The comfort of this house would reduce the urgency, give us time to find our dream house until we achieved permanent residency. An untrustworthy landlord hit us with a second cultural shock. It made us lose trust which finally extended to the real estate market in general.


Then we got stuck. We realized that over four years looking for that perfect house, that could give our family the same safe hearth that we left behind overseas, we had lost our feeling of being in control of our life.


It seemed that this awesome feeling of being the master of our own destiny that we had six years ago had gradually faded.


When we realized that our passions might have become destructive, we contacted ……..

…… and …….. started what seemed to us a multidisciplinary process which included all possible aspects of how buying a house could affect human behaviour, beyond the typical expertise that you would expect from a buyer’s agent.


This meta-level, analytical approach was exactly what we needed. Being challenged with the right questions helped us looking at the future in a different way. It helped us to identify our weaknesses and the gap between what we imagined to be perfect and our experience. They reminded us of our free will which allowed us to considerably expand your range of possibilities. This evoked our trust and sovereignty.


The recent lockdown forced us into a period of reflection, using the tools that ….. and ….. had handed us to question the risks that we perceived to be unsurmountable.


It was as if this brought us into a more complete state of consciousness which allowed us to gain maturity of a whole different kind. It gave us confidence to trust our intrinsic strengths and even transformed us on a personal level. Our projects suddenly seemed more solid and our way of facing the future more coherent. 

Now we were ready to seize the opportunities when they presented themselves. And even in this market there were opportunities.


Armed with renewed confidence we now have secured our house with more foresight and serenity.


Liberated from shackles of fear we became aware of the real risks: not giving ourselves the freedom to act.


Needless to say that the huge weight that had been stifling us for over four years has fallen from our shoulders.

As an aside we completed a $29m buy/sell deal since we last published. We are proud of the achievement and happy for our clients. Congrats to all in our office who worked on it.


And don’t worry, we won’t be bombarding you with constant emails, texts and endless media releases – this is the only reference you will see from us.


Discretion, privacy and confidentiality are key to our clients and to us and to be frank our $3 million and $5 million clients are just as important in our minds.


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