by Gina Kantzas, Mal James, Randall Smith, Simone Clarke, Catherine Ross, Jo Gallagher, Kathy Russell, Phoebe James, Maddie James

Sunday, May 2nd, 2021

14 Torrington Place Canterbury

Auctioneer: Brad Cooper

Crowd: 65

Opening Bid: $3,805,000

On market: $4,025,000

Sold under hammer $4,650,000

Bidderman: 4

The market is like a game of Snakes and Ladders and we have won and lost. How about you?


We bought 3 from 3 this week – a shiny new lifestyle on the Peninsula (Clayton Smith), a downsizer in Doncaster (Daniel D’Assisi) and a Bayside investment for an interstater (Justin Holod). However, we also had two swift kicks in the guts – reminders that you can get it wrong at times and often it’s a lot less about your opinions and a lot more about the process you run.


A story of accountability. If you want some credit for the wins, you need to take the fall when you don’t.


A few weeks ago, I was fired before I was hired on sale managing of a family home, which I felt was low to mid $4m’s. I got a second opinion by interviewing an agent who also felt low to mid $4m’s and was promptly dismissed from the proceedings, when the seller thought low to mid $5m’s was where it should be. “Tell ‘em they are dreaming” began to echo in my mind as I trudged from their home. Today, I hear low to mid $5m’s was achieved by another agent and I sent a congratulatory text, chock full of humble pie.


Around the same time, I was appointed to manage the sale of a smaller family home. The two agents I interviewed and my own opinions were the same – mid $2m’s to high $2m’s on a good day. With me pushing, we got it onto the market pre-Easter and to date we have had no offers. Have we got the price wrong or are there no buyers currently there for this home or it is just me, have I missed something else?


I could claim sincere and good reasons for what happened in each of the examples above. However, if I want to take partial credit for successes, then I need to own my failures as well and if you think buying and selling is only about perfection of mine or yours or anybody’s opinion, then good luck.


Whilst style and positive opinion are vital, they need to be supported with sound fundamental processes.


It is not just what I think as an agent that delivers the best outcome (buying or selling) – it is also what I do.


Noise might have affected me – maybe I thought I was an exception to the rule.


Wrong thoughts can lead to wrong process and is a consequence of losing your objectivity and becoming attached to opinions – such as of the price, of the expert and of the hot market.


Good process requires detachment from opinions (your own and from others) to allow for testing, flexibility and opportunity.


Having said all of the above, a good agent needs to believe in the home, in the price and in herself when others don’t – otherwise you are a follower and not a leader – it’s the Catch 22 of our business.


During this same period, we managed the sale of two other homes – north of $14m when the market said $11m and north of $13m when the market said north of $11m. These results happened because a very disciplined process took place – a disciplined process of Multi-list selling, performing and managing well – along a Middle Way.


Good selling processes develop over hundreds of selling deals and work – but usually only when you follow them.

91 Guildford Road Surrey Hills

Auctioneer : Andrew Gibbons

Crowd : 150 +

Opening Bid: $3,900,000

On market: $4,300,000

Result: sold under the hammer $4,392,000 

Bidderman: 2

We have heard everything this week about the market from we have fallen off a cliff to it’s still going gangbusters.


There is no doubt the market was very different in April to what it had been in March – like chalk to cheese – like frantic to quieter. This is the Top End we are talking about.


Question: Was the difference because March had extremely heavy activity and April was full of holidays and little stock? Therefore, does it just feel like a big change, rather than it has been a big change or ………


Well, we will find out in our May Market 100 Auction Test – May 15, 22 and 29.


Next week by way of introduction, we look at three levels of market:


  • Overall Market
  • Market segments
  • Individual market transactions

4 Margarita Street Hampton

Auctioneer: Nick Johnstone

Crowd: 60

Opening Bid: $3,400,000 VB

On the Market: $3,500,000

Under the hammer: $3,695,000

Bidderman: 2

We have a number of clients and friends who hail from the sub-continent of India – one of our favourite places to travel to.


One of our clients Dr Uday Bhatt, a well known ophthalmologist, is helping a group of doctors through OMGA (Overseas Medical Graduates Association) of whom Uday is a member of – send oxygen concentrators to Indian hospitals that Uday knows are helping patients with COVID patients oxygen problems. Many of his doctor and non-doctor friends have donated between $1,000 and $4,000 and over $100,000 has been raised in less than a week.


If you want to help and haven’t got a better idea then please donate a significant amount (these things are not cheap and plenty in need) to the following.

How to Help

Step One: Donate


Account name: OMGA

Bank: NAB

BSB: 083168

A/C Number: 048415248

In reference: BhattIndia (your surname or part therof)


Step Two: Double Check

Please double check your details

We wrote in reference: BhattIndiaJamesBS – you write BhattIndia (your name or part thereof)


Step Three: Send Receipt for a tax deduction

Send your bank receipt to

[email protected] 
You can cc us in if you want [email protected] or [email protected]

Dr. Uday will then ensure you get a tax-deductible receipt from OMGA


If you have any queries on helping Dr Uday Bhatt and OMGA – you can text me on 0408107988, state the nature of your query and I will with his permission send you his private number.


WHY NOT A FLASHY FUNDRAISER? Dr Uday’s group is a doctor’s group – they are not professional fundraisers – they directly help people. India needs our help. Please work through the bank account stuff and email. Your money will help Indians needing oxygen. We need to do it now.


PROMISE: The money will not stay in the account and will be used directly through my doctor contacts in India to fund Oxygen Concentrators. Dr Uday Bhatt.


We at James Buy Sell vouch for Uday’s doctor skills and contacts 100% – we have known him for many years.


WHY DO THIS: The money will go straight from doctors to doctors – no middlemen and these Aussie doctors are putting their money into this. You’ve got to trust to help. We do.


Here is our James Buy Sell Receipt for the money we have given.

Story One

A couple of Melbourne surgeons sold a property this year for more than 3 times the value they paid 6 years ago? Are they genius clients? They are.


Story Two

How about another couple we also worked with, who sold a property mid Covid for over 3 times what they paid for the block 8 years ago. We think both the new buyer (also a client) and the original buyer (still a client) struck a wonderful bargain.


Story Three

Or a family who bought a property and sold it 7 years later for 5 times what we paid. Several people who knew this property intimately and who could afford to buy, were offered it, but only one was prepared to do so.


The above had an average buy price of $3million and change, the average sale price north of $10million and the average hold period around one cycle – 7 years.


These clients avoided the noisy snakes and climbed on the growth ladders.


A Growth Ladder is an A-Grader: An A-Grader is a home with great PPP’s that work for you and your family now and give you additional financial, emotional and physical options, above the norm, in the future.


A Noisy Snake: well, we all know what a noisy snake is to us.


Today is the practical way of the theory on how to buy/sell well – in this market – in fact in any market – which we began last week. Link

Buying Well – Playing the Melbourne Game


You’re at the bottom and you need to get to the top – using the growth ladders and avoiding the noisy snakes. The winner is not always first – but the winners get there.


There are winners and losers. If you don’t think there are winners and losers, good and bad outcomes for your family, then no point trying to buy well, no point getting better at playing the game.


The Melbourne homebuying game is Snakes and Ladders.



They are no rules.



PPP Opinions of the match between you and the home decided at dinner parties.


Na… the real score is when you wake up in the morning, look out the window and listen to the birdsong….. then trot on down and hear….OMG STOP those fighting kids……..whose watching the toast.



Many roll the dice – some though prefer to move with MMM’s (see below) and checklists.


Your three decision tokens

Think of the Monopoly icons: Heart, Brain and Gut.

It’s a question/answer game

To get you onto the growth ladders, whilst avoiding the noisy snakes.


There are right and wrong questions and right and wrong answers. The master players always ask the right questions. There are hundreds of questions you could and probably will ask, but they all come back to a version of these three questions.


  1. What outcomes do I really really want?


  1. Is this it / is it any good?


  1. How do I get it / how much?
GAME TIP: Many of the poorer players ask How Much as their first question and that gets them onto their first noisy snake. Wrong time to ask, the wrong person to ask.

Question One (the finding question): What outcomes do I really, really want?


Physical Outcome – Where do you want to be? How much land? Good starter questions.


Emotional Outcomes – What does spouse want, family need? Good starter questions.


Financial Outcomes – What can I afford? What do I want to afford? Good starter questions.

GAME TIP: Keep asking this question over and over. Your answers can change on the journey.

Answers can be whatever you want them to be.


However to maximize buying well, your answers need to be crafted into what we call PPP’s.


Why? Well think of a car and all its parts, like all your thoughts and a vehicle. The car only gets to your destination when all the parts are put into a format that works.


If you want to take your emotional home dreams and look at more options efficiently and effectively, you need formats that easily match your dreams with available homes.


Another thought, a person from Uzbekistan – if you don’t have a common language there is no connection and a lot gets lost in translation – often the best bits – just like matching homes and dreams. The relationship is not efficient or as much fun.


With your Outcomes (dreams) ensconced in PPP’s – through good questions – you can begin to work/communicate/receive a lot more options, a lot more efficiently and a lot more effectively.

Example of outcome (dream) answers translated into PPP’s.


Physical Outcomes – Your answer could be Hawthorn, big land, on tram to school.


Your P for Position


Emotional Outcomes – Your answer is Timber Home, good yard and plenty of space.


Your P for Property


Financial Outcomes – Your answer is $3million, good growth prospects.


Your P for Price.


WOW you have your initial PPP’s.

Now we have our PPP’s let’s go and find those growth ladder homes whilst avoiding the noisy snakes.


La La la la la time goes by and time goes by la la la


Whoops we’ve found a home.


Question Two (the Matching Question): Is this home it, is this home any good?

GAME TIP: Homes are like people – they have PPP characteristics that give buyer outcomes

An extreme example is buying an off the plan high rise apartment versus a median priced period home in a middle suburb.  One has lost value and the other has gained value all these years. The P characteristic of Price was the same and the P characteristic of Property size similar but the P characteristic of Positional Land Content was vastly different.


One home on one side of the street can perform vastly differently to a similar sized, similar priced home on the other side. So P of Price and P of Property Building the same, but P of Positional Land sitting proud on the street, or slope or light orientation are all vastly different.


We as individual human beings are very unpredictable but as a group very predictable. In other words a lot more demand is attracted to flat blocks, that sit proud with good light than the opposite. With more demand and the same supply – comes higher prices and that we call Capital Growth Ladders.


So somewhat longwindedly (apologies) here we are at the home’s PPP’s


Home Physical Outcomes – Good or Bad Precinct or Land Content….is


Home’s P for Position


Home Emotional Outcomes – light, and flow and spaces …is


Home’s P for Property


Home Financial Outcomes – overpay or growth or overcapitalisation……is


Home’s P for Price.

Back to Question 2: Is this home any good (matching question for you)?

GAME TIP: Question 2 is the matching question and it really is asking does your desired PPP’s best match the found homes PPP’s. No move on. Yes then keep asking more questions.

At this stage the Master Players of Buying Well have their MMM’s involved. See last week.



Manager (agent or advocate)

Moneyman (or woman)


And they will help you through a series of due diligence checklists or you can develop your own set. Here is part of a James Home Rating – it’s a lot more than a few dots – its inspections, values, legals and……. However it is a number of checklist questions AND answers.

Is this home a noisy snake or a growth ladder for my family?

The interaction of the your 3P’s and the home’s 3P’s determine if it’s an A-Grader, a B-Grader or a C-Grader for you and your family.

GAME TIP: Use your 3 icons to find the right answers to the right questions

Heart: What did you think when you first saw it.


Head: Does it all stack up after due diligence.


Gut: How do you feel in the early morning – deep down – no thoughts – just your gut.

Question Three (the getting question): How Much – the question many ask at the wrong time and/or ask of the wrong person.


When you are talking to your mentors, managers and moneymen – these are the right questions to be tossing around.



What is the true Buy Range? What is land value? What is future value? Starter Questions


Positions that count – only 3 count

Highest Other Bidder – if there is one

Seller (and agent)

Yours (and your MMM’s) – the most important


Ask questions of the others to find their positions.


Risk v Reward

These are good questions at this point in determining How Much.


Do I want to buy the home or do I want to buy my price?

What will I pay which is different to what do I have to do to buy it?

What risk (of miss) for what reward (of price) am I really, really prepared to take.

Last week we talked about the actions to buying well – 3 Actions (believe, start and finish)


Actions start with Question 1 (what do I really, really want) and the answers give you your 3 0utcomes (physical, emotional and financial) or Goals if you prefer, which are morphed into 3P’s for more options, more effectively and more efficiently.


Question 2 (is this it, is this any good) match well with good simple question and answers to see if this home best suits your desired outcomes to the right home with the correct 3P’s (Price, Property and Position). This is where your due diligence and your 3M’s are actively involved here – Mentor, Manager and Moneyman.


Question 3 (is how and how much) and is also about your 3M’s (mentor, manager, moneyman) and your 3C’s (your three commitments to Buying Well – clarity, research and strategy)


GAME TIP: It’s not really snakes and ladders if you follow a relatively simple but comprehensive “good” process and use “good” checklists that are proven to work.


We put all our questions and answers (green, grey, red dots) into checklists called Home Ratings which we have used for 20 years. However, if we had of headlined this article “Good Checklists and Processes” – you wouldn’t have read it and you wouldn’t be thinking of engaging an M (advocate) – all too boring.


Boring works for dodging the snakes and buying the ladders well brilliantly.

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Credit: India picture from Financial Times and Melbourne Map background is Hema. Two great market photos from Kathy Russell and one from Maddie James