Some outstanding results in A Grade suburbs

A-grade properties tick all the boxes for their prospective buyers, and despite differing price points, the fundamentals underpinning the property’s value are still the same.

Located close to shops, amenities and the local “village”, A-grade properties are found on good streets and never main or arterial roads. Usually, they also had an excellent aspect – north to the rear being the best; and are more resistant to downturns in the market.

Here are three very different quote price range properties we have observed recently that show just how strong today’s market is for A-Grade suburbs:

South Melbourne

  • Single fronted Victorian cottage 
  • In sound condition (renovated circa 2010)
  • Two bedrooms
  • Small land size 79m2
  • Original quote range $850,000 – $900,000
  • Quote range revised upwards to $900,000 – $950,000
  • On market $935,000 
  • Sold before the auction for $1.2 million


  • Holiday home 
  • Very liveable condition
  • Three bedrooms
  • Land size 1,011m2
  • The original quote was $1.25 to $1.375 million.
  • Quote range revised upwards to $1.3 – $1.4 million
  • Five bidders
  • Sold at auction $1.825 million 


  • Edwardian home in original condition
  • Needing total refurbishment 
  • Rose Street address 
  • Four bedrooms 
  • Land size 919m2
  • Original quote range was $3.8 – $4.1 million 
  • Quote range revised upwards to $4.0 million to $4.4 million 
  • Six bidders
  • Declared by the auctioneer on the market at $4.0 million with a vendor bid 
  • Sold at auction with intense bidding $5.8 million

What’s the common thread here? All three suburbs are A Grade!

They reinforce our message that if you buy in an A-Grade precinct, history will most likely repeat itself, and there will be good competition again when properties like this come up for sale.

At ela Property Advocates, we help you make good decisions and will source, assess and negotiate on your behalf. Call Guy Angwin 0412 022 998 or Geoff Briscoe 0419 740 351 Web:

Would you like to invest in property?

For most things requiring a great outcome, generally, a high level of planning is essential. When you consider that property is amongst the highest dollar value purchases for most people, it’s not something to take lightly. Whether you are starting or investing in another property, here’s our shortlist of essential considerations:

What is it you want to achieve?. Investment property is just one of many asset classes – but more a long term investment. If you are trying to build wealth over your lifetime, well researched and well-chosen properties have historically proven to be a sound investment.

Emotion vs investment.  To be blunt, investing is about making money. It’s essential to keep the emotion out of your decision making. For example, that glamorous high-rise off the plan tower apartment with pool, gym, and amenities looks impressive. Still, its overall returns historically have generally not matched an inner city-established property. 

Financing:  Many investors will need support from their lending institute. Meet with your bank and discuss how they can help you. The discussion will open up ideas on the budget and type of property you can invest in.

The property shortlist.  There are many property classes; here are a few to consider depending on your budget:

  • Residential- house, apartment or flat
  • Commercial/Industrial
  • Retail shops 
  • Special accommodation; like a caravan park or student housing
  • Agricultural
  • Industrial/factory/warehousing 
  • Land banking for the long term family plan. 

Professional services.  See your tax accountant, solicitor and financial planner and ask for advice on the best investment structure for you. There are many possibilities, and your goal is to (legally) minimise tax and set up a structure for the long term.  

At ela Property Advocates, we help you make good decisions. Call or meet us, and we will discuss the extensive list of property investment pros and cons for your consideration. 

ela Property Advocates: Guy Angwin 0412 022 998 or Geoff Briscoe 0419 740 351 Web:

Are you an Australian citizen living overseas and want to buy property in Australia?

An Australian couple living overseas recently asked us for advice about buying a property in Australia. They are confident, successful business people but haven’t purchased a property in Australia for some time and have been working overseas for a decade.

They felt confident to make the purchase themselves but asked if there were any pitfalls in buying an apartment in one of Melbourne’s better beachside suburbs to use for 3-6 months of every year.

We surprised them a little when we outlined the potential pitfalls, money traps and complexity, in buying the type of property they were seeking.

We asked: “before you purchase have you considered ?………” 

  • The outdoor entertainment area’s orientation. Important to maximise the sunlight and outdoor living.  
  • The builder’s reputation and build quality – there are potential future costs if you get this wrong and if pest and building inspections are not done.
  • Cladding issues – owner’s Corporations are required to replace combustible cladding in Australia. Do the apartments you are looking at have flammable cladding, and what will it cost to replace? 
  • Will you be able to access quality properties within walking distance to the beach and shops? They are in short supply and sometimes sold off-market. We can access those off-market properties. 
  • Neighbours – for a lifestyle choice, the precinct neighbourhood buildings must be considered. Do you know your neighbourhood?
  • What percentage of properties are rented compared to owner-occupied.
  • Future development – are there any plans for adjoining properties that may impact your quiet enjoyment.
  • How good is the car parking?
  • Is there a storage cage?
  • Is the property you want to buy are overpriced? We use a comparable property method to advise you on the value.
  • Negotiation/bidding. Can you bid or negotiate effectively from overseas? On your behalf, we bid/negotiate the price, settlement and any special conditions. 
  • Solicitor/Conveyancer. Do you have a reliable solicitor/conveyancer?

If you’re an Australian citizen overseas wanting to buy in today’s market, you will benefit from the support and advice ela Property Advocates can give you. Call us at ela Property Advocates to help you with either selling OR buying a property. Guy Angwin 0412 022 998 or Geoff Briscoe 0419 740 351.

It’s a competitive real estate market – so be creative.

The supply of quality properties remains short and always a challenge to secure. We are still offered off-market homes that don’t even make it to a sales campaign; however, they are generally an off-market for a reason, and buyers will have to have their wits about them to succeed and not get caught up in the hype that comes with an off-market.

Last Saturday marks the first time in over a year where listed auctions have hit over 1,000. Sure, some of last weeks auctions rolled over to this week, but perhaps vendors too have been enticed by a healthy market.  

Right now, the market has to work more efficiently than ever before, forced by the COVID stop-start environment and demand. As a result, We are experiencing some creative approaches by agents to fulfil their client’s needs. 

For Vendors, where agents see intense competition, they often recommend pulling forward the auction. Agents methods vary, for example :

  • pull forward an on-site auction
  • conduct a boardroom auction 
  • conduct a zoom auction 

Today there are no holds barred (See our blog from last week; here’s the link

Here’s another creative example that happened at a Brighton East auction recently:

The adjoining neighbour was “maybe” thinking of selling depending on the result. The auction ended successfully, with strong underbidders. The agent had prepared the neighbour for a full OFI based on the pre-auction competition – the agent and his team skilfully switched everyone next door. The neighbour’s property also sold and saved the owner marketing fees of around $8,000 and all the stress and anxiety that goes with open for inspections and an auction day. 

In another case, an interstate buyer missed out on one of two identical new-build duplex homes. Post-auction, he and his agent knocked on the owner-occupier neighbour’s door, made a strong offer – and the neighbour accepted it!

An effect of COVID has been a build-up of demand and caused a stop-start market. These market conditions may continue for some time, which means you have to be agile, informed and well prepared to succeed.

And creativity – no matter where it comes from – a vendor, a buyer, an agent or an advocate, will possibly play a part in your success.

Call us at ela Property Advocates to help you with either selling OR buying a property. Guy Angwin. 0412 022 998 or Geoff Briscoe 0418 740 351.

How the Real-estate industry is transforming

What a dramatic but positive transformation the real estate industry is going through!

Rapid adjustment through COVID regulations and a malleable industry that is always looking for improvements has led to far greater efficiencies and transparency. 

For example, let’s look at Auctions. Who would have thought the 4 week standard campaign could be reduced to only 3 weeks and be equally effective?

Geordie Dixon Director from Jellis Craig Hawthorn said: ” A 3-week campaign today is enough to conduct the right number of open houses and market a property”. 

Some agents are pulling forward an auction and conducting a boardroom or on-site auction if there is healthy competition. We observed a Brighton East family home auction run by Matthew Pillios, Director, Marshall White Bayside, pulled forward a week from Saturday to Wednesday. The agent judged that competition was healthy and that the auction could not wait. The result? Seventy people attended on a Wednesday, six bidders and an outcome well above the estimate.

Technology has played a big part in making the industry more efficient:

  • Zoom auctions became essential during the lockdown and today are still in use.
  • Easy distribution of “paperwork” such as the Contract of Sale and Section 32 took weeks before – now they are sent same day upon request. 
  • Logging of prospective buyers is done electronically at the door; follow-ups efficiently managed by agents and reports generated.
  • Listings and printing of materials are now sourced in a fraction of the time. 

Today Vendors are also under positive pressure to get properties prepared in quick time. Agencies are so focussed on efficiently preparing a property in a short period. They have a team of tradespeople and stylists ready with agreed competitive pricing to cut listing times.

The market today, post-Covid lockdown, is a fast-paced, efficient market benefitting vendors and buyers alike.

Buyers in today’s environment must stay abreast of the positive changes and need to know:

  • The best time and process of making an offer
  • If confronted with a Boardroom Auction – how does that work, what to do?
  • When at the Auctions – how and when do I bid to be competitive?

Call us at ela Property Advocates to help you with either selling OR buying a property. Guy Angwin. 0412 022 998 or Geoff Briscoe 0418 740 351.

A new build home vs. a period home

We are often asked by our family home buying clients “what is better to buy, a “new build” (modern) home or period home”?. It’s not easy to answer as no two clients have the same brief for their property search. 

Clients generally fall into one of three categories.

1.A Modern Property: (no more than five years old)

These clients are all about the now, proximity to schools, floorplan flexibility heating/cooling, substantial natural light, car parking etc.  

2.A Period Property: 

These clients are more focused on capital growth, be inner city, proximity to schools, quality streets, and neighbours (also in a period style). A less than perfect floor plan is ok, average or above-average land content for the precinct, close to public transport/shops, and may consider a renovation in the future.

3.A Renovated Period Property. 

These clients want the best of points 1 and 2. An inner-city property with a period façade, renovated interior, and landscaped gardens. A modern floorplan seamlessly connected to an outdoor entertaining area. An average or above-average land content for the precinct, and close to public transport/shops.

The choice between one or the other depends mostly on the individual’s emotional, financial and family needs. We know from historical data that period properties have held their value better than any other property type. 

Does it mean that buying a new property is a bad idea? No, you have to be more careful about what you buy and look for and incorporate as many of the following in your search criteria.

  • A timeless façade 
  • Will the façade still appeal to buyers in 25 years 
  • Ideally architecturally designed by a renowned architect 
  • Distinctive timeless exterior features 
  • A functional floorplan, taking into consideration that two home offices may be the future norm
  • Excellent connectivity between zones, in particular, the outside garden/pool area
  • Natural light throughout
  • Spacious walk-in robes 
  • Quality everything 
  • Perhaps even a basement with an underground car park

If it’s a well-designed house with the above elements, in 25 years a “classic new build” house will always have added value in addition to the value of the land only. For example, modernising surfaces can easily be achieved in 25 years, but trying to incorporate the “classic” elements in the future may not be achievable.

Conversely, in 25 years, an inferior “new build” that lacks most of these elements may even be demolished – with all the value in the land only.

So our advice is that if it’s a new build you are looking for its better to buy an architect-designed “new classic” than a house that may have only land value in 25 years.

If you are unsure about buying “new-build vs period home” and need some guidance, call Guy or Geoff at ela Property Advocates. Guy Angwin. 0412 022 998 or Geoff Briscoe 0418 740 351.

You can receive a Stamp Duty waiver up to June 30th 2021

The Victorian Government is now offering a one-off stamp duty incentive for investors and owner-occupiers thinking of buying property. 

On November 24th, The Victorian Government announced stamp duty discounts of up to 50% as a stimulus to the post-Covid housing market and the building industry. The stamp duty waivers are only available through to the end of June 2021 – a relatively short window.

The savings differ for new and existing homes. The full 50% stamp duty relief applies to those buying newly built homes valued up to $1,000,000. Australians purchasing existing homes can access a 25% waiver up to the same $1,000,000.

On a $1.0 million new property, for example, Stamp Duty falls from $55,000 to $27,500 for eligible purchasers, according to the Victorian Government stamp duty calculator. 

Vendors could reap the rewards, perhaps achieving a higher price because buyers will have extra to spend. That might encourage more vendors to sell, a positive because stock levels are very low and property listings dramatically down on historical levels.

The government generally looks to support first home buyers; however, the discount could also bring investors back to the market who are also eligible for the waiver. 

If you are ready to enter the property market as an owner-occupier or investor but need some advice on your options, call Guy or Geoff at ela Property Advocates. Guy Angwin. 0412 022 998 or Geoff Briscoe 0418 740 351.

Is the property on the market?

We attended an auction recently where a bid was made at the high end of the advertised Statement of Information (SOI) range, and the bidder asked: “Is the property on the market?”. The agent replied, “we will let you know when it is”.  

The reply caused a minor crowd disturbance, but the agent was within their legal rights to reply in this way even though the last bid was at the hight end of the SOI. 

The Statement of Information must include:

  • An indicative selling price for each property, based on recent comparable sales. 
  • An indicative selling price for the property which may be a single price or a price range of up to 10 per cent. 
  • It must not be less than the agents estimated selling price OR
  • Not less than a price in a written offer that has already been rejected by the seller.

However, the seller may choose to set their reserve price on the day of the auction. The reserve price decided on the day may be above the advertised price. The reserve can be whatever the vendor chooses on the morning of the auction — regardless of the indicative price range. In a competitive auction market, vendors can set reserves higher than the advertised price guide and sometimes this can come as a surprise even to the selling agent.

That reserve prices are exceeding advertised price ranges also highlights why the property market is increasingly difficult for inexperienced buyers on a budget to navigate. For example, a house may be advertised with a price guide of $800,000 to $880,000. But on the day of the auction, the reserve price may be more than $900,000.

How does this happen? 

Because the seller, not the agent entirely decides the reserve price, a spokesman for Consumer Affairs Victoria said. “The reserve can be set as late as auction day and may be influenced by the level of interest in their property,” he said. 

Call us at ela Property Advocates to discuss all of your options for selling or buying property and the necessary strategy to succeed in today’s complex market.

Guy Angwin:, 0412 022 998 or Geoff Briscoe:, 0419 740 351.

Electronic contracts and signatures are taking over.

Is it legal to use electronic signatures?

In short, yes, they are legal to use; however, they aren’t always accepted or in some instances, binding. Officially electronic signatures are valid and legally binding with Australia passing the Electronic Transactions Act in 2000. The general rule has been established that no transaction will be invalid simply because it was completed electronically.

Unfortunately, there is not a one size fits all approach to electronic signatures, with some legal documents having additional requirements such as being notarized or witnessed which can add complexities to the process – though these are not insurmountable. Some documents will also have a requirement that the signatures be handwritten; therefore, only a handwritten signature will make the agreement binding.

Consent – In the contract, unconditional permission to electronically sign is a pre-requisite. Parties to the contract should also agree that using electronic signatures for the agreement is acceptable before signing.

If you want to know more always seek legal advice and you can also read about it here in section 10 (signatures) of the Electronic Transactions Act

So, in summary, we see more and more agencies using electronic contracts and signatures. They are legal, but consent is required and please discuss this with your conveyancer or solicitor. 

Call us at ela Property Advocates to discuss all of your options for selling or buying a property in today’s market. Guy Angwin:, 0412 022 998 or Geoff Briscoe:, 0419 740 351.

Dorma windows can bring your loft to life.

In our property journey, we often come across Californian Bungalows where hipped or gabled dormer windows have been added to increase habitable space. 

Loft conversions have long been popular, brought about by the addition of dormer windows. These days you don’t have to be content with awkward sloping ceilings and small roof windows or skylights. Choosing a dormer window instead adds style and character to your home, as well as increasing the headroom and maximising the useable floor area. If constructed in a sympathetic way to compliment the house and the street presence, dormer windows add value. 

However, for loft conversions to be practical, you must ensure you have adequate floor to ceiling height. If buyers feel cramped, you may not get back the money you have spent on the renovation. 

What is a dormer window?

A dormer is a vertical window, with a roof of its own, which sticks up from the slope of a pitched roof. It’s a significant improvement over a skylight because it offers views to the outdoors, just like a ‘normal’ window and creates a greater sense of space. Similar to skylights, dormer windows are a source of light and ventilation roof or loft spaces, but unlike skylights, they also provide the opportunity to increase the amount of headroom and allow for more usable space.

Heres some examples but the important consideration is to choose one that is aesthetically pleasing, in the right proportions and complementing the architectural style. 

  • Flat roof dormer. Possibly the cheapest to build and often creates the most additional internal space.
  • Shed dormer. Similar to a flat roof dormer, a shed dormer features a single-planed roof that slopes downwards at an angle. 
  • Gable dormer. The gable dormer has a simple pitched roof. Considered a more traditional and attractive option than the flat roof dormer, it’s a popular choice for period homes.
  • Hipped dormer. A hipped or hip roof dormer has three sloping planes, the same as a full-size hipped roof, where they are typically installed as a matching feature.
  • Eyebrow dormer. An eyebrow dormer is unique in having no sides; this traditional style is beautiful on the right property.

In summary loft conversions with the appropriate dormer window(s) will add value to your property; however, a loft addition that has inadequate floor to ceiling height may stop potential buyers from competing for your property.

Call us at ela Property Advocates to discuss your options for selling or buying a property. Guy Angwin:, 0412 022 998 or Geoff Briscoe:, 0419 740 351.