Posted by admin
on 24 March 2011
Council looks set to approve a 52 apartment development for Victoria Street, with the design adapted to new interim planning rules following January’s flood. Until the full findings on the flood cause are known BCC has asked developers to raise their lowest habitable areas, clearing 500mm above the offical January flood height of 6.33m AHD.
If full Council approval follows this week’s Planning Committee nod the Victoria Street project will rise 7 storeys with a 2 level basement. The basement’s entry has also been raised to 6.7m. Victoria Street was flood-effected but this site appears to be right at the edge of where the water came to.
It’ll be interesting to see public reaction to the plan given past local resistance to greater heights along the Montague Road precinct. We’d suggest the small height increase is a smart move, giving buyers greater comfort that, should the unimaginable happen and we do get another freak flood event, the apartments will be well above the 2011 levels.
Of course the biggest issue other local apartment buildings have faced has been the sensitive infrastructure they have in their basements – electrical, lifts and ventilation motors to name a few. Some that were nowhere near the river and had no surface water flooding, had basement inundation due to backed-up storm water lines. This new project’s solutions to those challenges will be its real test.
Posted by Rob Honeycombe
on 22 March 2011
New listing - 6 bedroom apartment!
Sounds like an easy question doesn’t it? As real estate agents we walk into dozens of homes and apartments each week but we sometimes struggle with this one. “How hard can it be?” you’re asking. Surely a bedroom’s just a place big enough for a bed. We’ve all been to an open home where some enthusiastic salesperson has nominated the study or a broom cupboard as a third bedroom.
So how do you define a bedroom? Unfortunately there is no simple answer! The Building Code of Australia sets the requirements (along with a myriad of state legislation) and when you build a new dwelling the criteria are fairly clear. A bedroom is considered a “Habitable Room”, along with living rooms, kitchens, studies, rumpus and dining rooms. You have to comply with a long list of rules before you can use a room for these purposes. Note that a bathroom, laundry, pantry, hallway and “other spaces occupied neither frequently nor for extended purposes” are outside those rules.
Whether you’re in a house (Class 1A dwelling) or an apartment (Class 2), sufficient ventilation is a key requirement for habitable rooms. You need “natural air exchange” and natural light into the room and Brisbane’s location in Zone 2 means these differ from frost-laden Taswegian homes for example. If you have fans and/or evaporative airconditioning that changes things too. Oh, you can sometimes “borrow” ventilation from an adjoining room too…. but not bathrooms.
And don’t forget height. A habitable room must have minimum 2.4m ceilings (7’ 10.5”) except kitchens which can be 2.1m. So those rooms under the house with beds and rumpus furniture in them, just that bit low in height? They’re “utility rooms” and usually can’t legally be used as bedrooms or living rooms. And if you “know a friend” who rents out their utility rooms as a granny flat maybe they should have a solid read of their insurance policy. It’s hard to imagine Council suddenly policing these rules but a fire or other incident might cause problems.
Of course older homes might still be okay where they pre-date the modern requirements and are “deemed to comply”. There’s sound reasons for all these rules – safety, health and sustainability. But they do mean that your average real estate agent can really not answer the most simple of questions with 100% confidence. Building certifiers can interpret the Code for you and a pre-sale check might be worthwhile if you’re unsure.
That third bedroom might make a big difference to your sale price. But not if it’s really just a broom cupboard.
Posted by Rob Honeycombe
on 18 March 2011
Russell Street could soon be home to a new 165 apartment building, with developer David Devine turning his attention to the inner south. Today’s Courier Mail reports Devine’s Metro Developments has bought the land on the corner of Manning Street, and is planning a new apartment project for market release in 2012. The land is opposite Stefan’s colourful sky-needle.
Devine was behind much of the early 2000’s residential development in the CBD and we believe this would be his first project on this side of the river. It’s another strong sign of confidence in the area. His track record has been to launch apartment projects with plenty of energy and marketing firepower, so we’d be surprised if this one doesn’t happen. We could expect completion of the building at the end of 2013.
Current apartment projects in the suburb are selling fairly well “off the plan” at the moment, with interstate investors especially showing plenty of faith in our neighbourhood and its future.
Posted by admin
on 16 March 2011
Having trouble with a tenant that’s dragging their heels on rent payments? Maybe had an abandoned property with a nasty clean-up bill? Neither are much fun and are some of the investment risks landlords face every day.
But spare a thought for one landlord in northern Malaysia who called around to collect rent, only to find his house completely gone! The double storey wooden house had been stolen!
According to newspaper reports Zuria Ali, 30, said he was greeted by the sight of scattered wood, a damaged television set and twenty-four concrete pillar holders when he went to the site of his house in Malaysia’s northern Perlis state bordering Thailand.
Apparently a neighbour saw three men hard at work removing the place and thought Mr Zuria had sent them. Let’s hope he had a first rate landlord insurance policy…
Posted by admin
on 2 March 2011
“And of course the house has this wonderful aluminum siding so there’s no painting needed, ever! When I bought it the salesman told me it would really improve the value of my home.”
We’ve heard this tale too many times over the years: A home improvement undertaken in the belief it would increase the home’s price, a salesperson justifying the cost with an often misleading promise of gains.
Right now Brisbane home owners are busy doing and planning renovations, with many of our suburbs about to witness their biggest ‘face-lifts’ in decades. The floods have mandated the work for some while for others the cooler sales market has encouraged them to make improvements rather than trade-up. And while we love to see a home’s full potential realised can we offer these suggestions?
One dollar of renovation cost doesn’t usually add one dollar of value. In some cases it might add very little at all. One of our team last year carried out a $140,000 new bathrooms, new carpets, new lots of things reno and their home’s valuation rose less than $80,000. If you’re renovating to stay and enjoy the home yourself (or your insurer is paying) then go for it. If you’re doing it to increase the value of your home please be careful.
Choose appropriate items for your home and try some good value alternatives. Unless you’re in a high end market most home buyers don’t really care what brand your kitchen appliances are. Carpets, tapware and toilets can be similar – provided the quality is okay your end sale price will likely be very similar. Location and space are far more important than fittings.
We’ve all heard the dangers of overcapitalising. If your apartment building has a grotty entry with dead plants and cigarette butts you might be wise to join the committee and deal with that before you start putting in a new kitchen.
The dearer the home, the smaller the market when you go to sell. While we’d all love to buy a fully renovated home the hard reality of budgets means most of us can’t afford to. The real estate ads that have the biggest response? Unrenovated cheapies.
And the aluminum cladding? Most buyers just worry about what’s underneath that they can’t see. That door to door salesman was the only one to profit from it.
We’d love to hear your renovation stories.