The New Build – Part 5

2014-12-26 11.56.47After celebrating the construction finally commencing in September 2014, the challenges of the 2014 renovation rescue took over my life and because I was up to my eyeballs in painting, landscaping and kitchen bench resurfacing, I left the builders to do their job and didn’t get a chance to visit the construction site for a number of months. A quick drive past the site in October saw all of the slabs poured but because there are 15 in the complex and our build is right at the front we were still waiting to see any major progress as the builders had commenced construction from the back of the block and were working forward. It wasn’t until late November that I managed to drive past and see that framework had gone up for most of the properties (except ours…) and it was Boxing Day in December when I really got a pleasant surprise with the progress of the work as you will see below.

By the end of December 2014 the framework was up, the roof and tiling had gone on, windows and external doors were in and the bricks had been delivered in readiness for this next major step. The plumbing work had been put in for much of the kitchen and bathroom as well. I was fortunate to be able to view inside the property at this point also and it was really exciting to be able to get a feel for the space that we had been looking at on paper for the last 12 months. Although the plaster work had not been done you could easily walk through the different rooms and experience the layout. Knowing that it was now the Christmas and New Year break I wasn’t expecting much to be occurring for the next few weeks. Check out the pictures below to finally see the skeleton of the property up at last!

The New Build – Part 4

6Part 3 of the new build left us having signed the contracts in December 2013. Now we just sit back and watch the magic happen…or so we thought. Of course a lot of builders and people in construction take a well deserved break over the Christmas and New Year period and there were also permits still in the process so it was anticipated that work would commence (with demolition of the existing home) towards late February/early March 2014. What wasn’t anticipated was the local city council and the delays associated with obtaining a demolition permit to commence the work, closely followed by other delays in getting things signed off so that work could begin. OK, so these things can take time but as the months went by with no visible progress I did start to get concerned. Fortunately the agent put up with my regular calls to see what was going on and reassured me that things were progressing in order to enable works to commence. I know I’m not the only person to sometimes be a touch cynical about what real estate agents tell you so by the time July of 2014 came around I was ready to start building the place myself. You can imagine my relief when I was informed that demolition was commencing and things were starting to move…hooray! It was a useful lesson for me to learn regarding red-tape and associated paperwork and also that when it’s in a larger development you really don’t have much (if any) influence on the speed of the project happening. In August of 2014 the existing house on the block was demolished and work officially commence on-site September 1st 2014, 9 months after we signed on to the project.

By this stage I had started on my Renovation Rescue which had, in part, stemmed from the fact that the new build was taking so long and I was gagging to have another project on the go. Knowing that it would still take considerable time for the construction to be completed I was happy to have the renovation to go on with. Meanwhile back at the building site, temporary fencing, portable toilets, and a site office were initially set up. Then site preparation work involved the removal of existing vegetation from the site. The first stage of construction works on the project were the ‘civil works’. At this stage, all the services were run into the new complex with a deep service trench dug through the common area and the various services including power, gas, water, and telecoms laid in the service trench. Large amounts of rock were encountered during this process, which required special rock breaking machinery to be used which you can see in the attached photos.

Finally though, progress had started. I picked up my paintbrush and went back to the renovation in the hope that now progress would speed up, it certainly did!

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The New Build – Part 3

Floorplan-house-on-a-floorplan2-300x300The last update about the new build (Part 2) left us hanging after viewing a few examples of the builders work which looked good except unfortunately the development that we looked at just wasn’t quite right as far as the layout and location went. The great thing about real estate though is that there is always plenty more where that came from and after keeping an eye on various developments throughout the year there was one that sparked our interest in early November 2013. The location looked good and the project layout ticked the boxes, so after contacting the agent (a different one to last time) he offered to show us a completed example of the unit and off we went for a look. Now 10 months is a long time and I don’t have the best memory but it wasn’t until we were inside the property having a look (and after a few minutes of déjà vu) that I realised it was exactly the same one we viewed at the start of the year! I probably should have realised this earlier (as they were using the same builder) but nevertheless it was still good to have a reminder of what the property was like and additionally to see what it looked like after someone had been living in it for almost a year. Interestingly, it was good to view the exterior of the property and reflect on how it compared to the original marketing picture vs. the finished product. You certainly wouldn’t class the front lawn as a bowling green (one of the issues I have with seeded lawn rather than roll-out turf) but following up recently (via Google Streetview) the owner has competely changed the front garden anyhow. Check out the pics below.

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Having another look confirmed that we were happy with the quality of the product and speaking to a current owner of a very similar property on our visit also helped. After this we then drove to view the development site. Unlike the one earlier in the year, this was a large stand alone block of land (except for an older house soon to be demolished) and it was bordered by a school on one side and a large block with an old historic blue stone house on the other. It was near a lot of local amenities including shops and public transport as well as it being on a secondary road rather than a main arterial road like the one viewed in January. After a few nights sleeping on it (as I’m prone to do) and looking over the sales brochures many, many times, we decided to do the deal and signed up to purchase lot 2 out of the complex. I’ll explain my reasoning for picking this one over all the others in the next post. Check out the pics below of the building site and a few people enjoying seing another sold sticker on a sales board…we do love those sold stickers!

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Stay tuned for the next gripping post which could possibly end up with the riveting title of ‘Sit and wait’…

Flashback to First Class Friday

As nice as it is to drool over the multi-million dollar homes of the rich and famous and clutch your pearls in shock at the amazing prices that are being asked, it is also reassuring to realise that the people buying and selling these homes are still subjected to the challenges of trying to move real estate (there are just a few more zeros on the end of their checks than you or I would most likely write). A few posts that I put up in the past are worth going back to and seeing what the outcome was.

The Liongate Estateliongate that I wrote about last month was up for sale for a cool $65 million. Coming fully furnished throughout it’s 23,000 square feet and featuring 11 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms and even it’s own panic room it’s an absolute steal at that price. Amazingly though, someone thought that was too expensive and decided to bargain with the vendor. Lucky they did because they were obviously a motivated seller and subsequently dropped the price by a whopping $19 million (that’s almost a 30% discount!). So the lucky purchaser picked up the property for $46 million and although heavily discounted, the owner has still made a nice little profit considering their original purchase price of 12.2M.

HPEarlier this year I wrote about Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe putting his local Toorak penthouse up for sale. After owning it for 10 years and originally purchased when he was filming a movie in Australia as a teenager, he hoped to make a nice little $600k profit. After what would likely have been an expensive marketing campaign and also having moved his furniture out and getting the property professionally styled for sale he has recently pulled the property from the market. Rumor is he has another film project in the pipeline locally and might need to keep a place to unpack his carry-on luggage.

MJIf you’ve been saving your dollars for either of these previous gems, don’t be upset that they are now off the market. There are still two properties that you can pick up. Michael Jordan’s house that I wrote about in November 2013 is STILL on the market after failing to sell at auction last year (it may have been the $250k registration fee that put people off). Originally for sale at $29 million, you can now pick it up for $16 million!

2Or if you want to live beach side in Australia then you may recall the stunning Mandalay House that I wrote about in January 2014. $25 million is what the vendor originally wanted for this tropical paradise but now it’s being marketed as ‘price reduced’. Whilst no figure is being attached to this campaign I’m sure it will be enough of a saving to get that private helicopter that you can land in your front yard!