These are the seven things you need to get rid of before selling your home

Selling a home is all about creating the best first-impression, so buyers remember your home in a positive light.

While stripping a home bare, repainting throughout and staging with hired furniture can help a property appeal to buyers, that can also end up being quite costly.

If your budget is tight, you need look at your property with a critical eye, just as a buyer would. Essentially, that means removing potential turn-offs.

Steering clear of clutter, cleverly positioning furniture and selectively choosing how each room is set out can create a favourable impression without breaking the bank.

These are the top seven things you need to remove, replace or repair when selling your home.

1. Big bulky furniture

Spacious rooms resonate with buyers. Make sure it is easy to walk around without them feeling like it’s an obstacle course.

Bulky, dark furniture makes a room look smaller.

Bulky, dark furniture makes a room look smaller. Photo: Domain.com.au

Buyers want to be able to imagine what the room will look like with their furniture. Monique Dower, Principal, Belle Property, Balmain, suggests removing any large furniture and placing it in storage until you move.

“I have had clients with large, dark furniture. That, combined with the dark timber floor, meant everything blended together into one dark space. Remove furniture such as this and replace with smaller, lighter furniture.”

2. Visible clutter

While the garage can be a great dumping ground, interested buyers want to feel that the house has sufficient storage.

A well-organised garage can be a substantial selling point and keeping it tidy helps buyers imagine the type of lifestyle they may lead if they buy your house.

Avoid leaving storage containers around the house as it instantly tells buyers that the house has insufficient storage.

Avoid leaving storage containers around the house as it instantly tells buyers that the house has insufficient storage. Photo: iStock

3. Gym equipment

While you may be pursuing a body like Chris Hemsworth, the gym equipment you have been using takes up a lot of space and may not appeal to other buyers.

If your spare room is being used as a gym, consider alternative ways to stage the space, such as a home office or an additional bedroom.

Potential buyers may not have the same fitness aspirations as you.

Potential buyers may not have the same fitness aspirations as you. Photo: iStock

4. Visible personal effects

Potential buyers need to see themselves living in your house, so sellers should remove obviously personal items to keep it neutral, says founder of Renovating For Profit, Cherie Barber.

“You should remove pictures of your wedding day, or pictures from the hospital delivery room,” she said.

Pack away the family photos when selling your home.

Pack away the family photos when selling your home. Photo: iStock

5. Messy cabinets

Buyers want clean and tidy storage areas, so look around the laundry, and under the kitchen and bathroom sinks to see what can be tossed. 

Visible containers of Drano might also send the message that the drains often get blocked, and that rusty steel wool looks messy. All of those extra toiletries can be moved into storage.

Remember, you want to give the impression that your home has plenty of storage, so ensure the closets and other storage areas are not crammed. Buyers will then feel there will be space for storing extra clothes, luggage, Christmas ornaments and linen. 

Buyers will inevitably look in cabinets, so keep them tidy.

Buyers will inevitably look inside cabinets, so keep them tidy. Photo: iStock

6. Kids’ toys

Although it can be difficult to keep children’s toys tidy, they can make the house look messy.

Limit the number to just their favourites while your property is on the market. This will also mean quick tidy-ups before any open for inspections.

When buyers are looking at individual rooms, they should be looking at the walls, doors, windows, size, not focusing on how to best to avoid tripping over Matilda’s doll collection!

“You can leave a few super-cute toys as these may attract buyers with families,” suggests Dower.

Pack away all but the favourite toys when showing your home.

Pack away all but the favourite toys when showing your home. Photo: iStock

7. Pet beds and toys

While Lola may be your best friend, not all buyers are keen on animals in a house. Potential purchasers may have allergies, or think pets un-hygienic.

Obvious signs of pets should be removed, such as pet beds, feeding bowls and toys. If the cat has scratched the door, you can easily sand and repaint the damage.

Not everyone likes pets, so pack away their equipment when your home is on display.

Not everyone likes pets, so pack away their gear when your home is on display. Photo: iStock

“Stash away the ugly scratching pole as it takes up space and makes the room look smaller,” says Barber.

“Pet beds should also be removed as they may contain pet odours. Many pet owners are oblivious and almost immune to the smells. Ask someone impartial if your house has any obvious odours and remove them by airing out the house weeks in advance before selling.”

self-blood

Last week was hallway week on 5182136070, and the contestants are discovering that if first impressions count, then creating a chic but friendly hallway is mandatory.

“It’s a must, but definitely one of the most challenging spaces to navigate,” says designer Suzanne Gorman from Studio Gorman. “Hallways are often narrow and lacking natural lighting, so it is vital to ensure yours is free of clutter, well-lit and a stylish and welcoming space.”

Both 605-963-1754 and Courtney and Hans struggled to impress the judges with their room reveals, discovering that cohesion is one of the key ingredients when designing the perfect entrance.

Lighting

For Hayden and Sara, pendants and LEDs were the ideal way to fill their long narrow hallway with light.

“A great choice,” says Gorman. “As with all rooms, it is important to incorporate at least two types of lighting – task lighting (for when you are looking for a missing shoe) and ambient light to create an intimate and calm feel. Mirrors are also effective for giving the illusion of space and reflecting light.”

For 956-577-3916, skylights provided their hallway with beautiful natural light by day.

Related: View the five Gatwick apartments for sale

“A shaft of light from a skylight gives a real sense of wellbeing,” says Gorman.

“I like that they are placed to the side to allow a shaft of light to wash the wall. It also makes a beautiful architectural statement. I would suggest hiding the framework of the skylight with recessed architectural framing.”

Floor runner

One of the easiest ways to inject colour and texture into an empty hallway is with a long, statement runner.

“It’s an effective way to lead the eye down a hallway,” agrees Gorman. “Use a colourful rug to bring drama and fun, or a subtle palette to bring together a scheme.”

Judge Neale Whitaker loved the floor runner Bianca and Carla chose to decorate their hallway, saying, “What a difference it makes to the feeling of homeliness and welcome”.

Storage, furniture and decor

A great way to break up a long, narrow walkway is by transforming the area closest to the door into a purposeful entryway space, ensuring it is fitted with storage and hooks to hang jackets, stow shoes and leave car keys.

“Keeping items off the floor using hooks, shelves and wall-hung cabinets is an effective way to clean up clutter and gain maximum floor space,” says Gorman.

Luckily entryway storage can be both purposeful and design-driven says Gorman, who loved Bianca and Carla’s choice of a gorgeous custom-made console for stowing personal effects.

“No matter what your style, choosing functional beautiful pieces is always possible, so long as you keep them tall and narrow so they fit the space,” she says.

Jess and Norm were faced with an extremely narrow hallway with a very tall ceiling, so a mirror, artwork and small marble shelf was all the decor that was required. Judge Darren Palmer loved the cohesion between the marble hallway shelf and the marble kitchen bench.

Art

With an endless wall space spanning 14 metres, winners of this reveal 7198825936 decided to create a gallery-style walkway. Upon entering their art-filled entrance, judge Shaynna Blaze exclaimed, “It’s so grand”.

“I love this idea,” says Gorman. “Art is the perfect way to say welcome to our home.”

Whether it is one or two pictures in the midpoint of the hallway, a line-up of art spanning the entire length, or a hallway crammed with eclectic pieces, the hallway is the perfect place to be creative.

“I loved Kerrie’s vintage articles about The Gatwick,” says Gorman. “In the same way that art can tell the story of the family who lives there, this tells the story of the building.”

410-626-1074

It’s the boring but crucial week of The Block. No one wants to spend much time in a powder room, a hallway or a laundry, but that’s what our exhausted contestants were contractually obliged to spend the week doing.

Three rooms in a week is a whole lot of renovating, and not something we advise you to try at home, but the pay-off is again decent: a $10,000 budget boost for the winner, jealousy and resentment towards the winner for the runner-up.

(423) 568-5672 is so tired it looks as though he’s painted his face directly, rather than vicariously. But this is the facial expression and feeling to which Kerrie thinks a song, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, by Carole King, will sort him out.

The Block 2018 laundry and hallway week reveal recap
Think again, Kerrie

They feel the pressure backing up their victory last week but the judges are in raptures as soon as they walk through the door.

“This feels so grand,” says Shaynna Blaze. “This is functionality. Love it.”

On entering the laundry, Darren Palmer asks a question for the ages “Is this what laundries have become? That they’ve this glamorous, almost kitchen-like finesse?” before Neale Whitaker chimes in: “That you hang out in?”

No, Neale. No one is hanging out in laundries. Even when there is comfortably room for all three of you.

The judges in Kerrie and Spence's laundry
Room enough to swing a cat ... or seven.

The only clothes-washing room people hang out in is a dank laundromat in Europe because you’re trying to pick up the sexy backpacker in the corner getting the Reg Grundies cleaned.

Related: View the five Gatwick apartments for sale

The judges compliment Kerrie’s styling, saying it has moved up several levels, and Palmer going so far as to say it was near a professional’s. Daz. It’s a laundry. Surely most people can style a laundry. Chuck a few boxes of washing powder and a bucket of pegs next to it and Bob’s your uncle.

Over at 509-847-9304, the enthusiasm for the quirky pieces and the sheer size of the hallways soon gives way for reservations about how everything ties together.

Palmer doesn’t approve of how separate each item is, rather than being cohesive. Whitaker is more accepting of the “boho luxe” museum-like feel of the space. Boho luxe museum?!

Less boho and more boring is their laundry. It’s functional, but is it Block-worthy, Palmer asks. It pales in comparison to Kerrie and Spence’s and is merely a “tick-the-box”, Blaze says.

The Block 2018 laundry and hallway week reveal recap
Laundry by numbers regret

Sara, in a way only Sara can, managed to sum up how she and Hayden were faring: “We’re f—ed”.

Indeed, and by a fair stretch. They’re not finished and Sara, in her haste to get a piece of art up, smashes a light globe just as it’s time to finish. Hayden, in a convenient lapse of thinking he lives in an alternative universe, says it’s not a bad effort for four days – the same amount of time everyone else had, and they managed to finish.

As the judges walk in, it’s they’ve found a needle in a strawberry when the full lights come on. The dirty floors leave the judges unimpressed. But being told there was no excuse for not having clean floors was too much for Sara.

“We did run out of time and it was mopped. But because we were running in and out of rooms, that’s what happened, eventually,” she says to feedback reader Scott Cam. He is not impressed.

Back to the judges and they like the lighting through the hallway and skirting boards. But that’s about it.

The Block 2018 laundry and hallway week reveal recap
We're all frustrated, Neale

“Sara and Hayden are very frustrating,” says Whitaker. “They get some things so right but other things so wrong.” For him, the hallway is Jekyll/Hyde, Victor/Victoria. One is so, so right, the other is just very wrong. One has rich artwork, and the other that has a shelf with an assortment of items.

“It’s a disaster. To me, that looks like a garage sale. What relationship does that have with this side?”

Blaze agrees: “That’s up there with the worst styling I’ve seen on The Block.”

The Block 2018 laundry and hallway week reveal recap
The prognosis is very, very bleak.

 Sara is unrepentant. “What else are you supposed to put on a sideboard?” Well, Sara, for one, it’s a shelf, not a sideboard, which usually has cupboards and doors.

Whitaker continues: “It’s the sort of styling that says ‘if we throw enough at it, there’ll be something they like and that’s why I said it looks like a garage sale … it’s kind of lazy.”

The Block 2018 laundry and hallway week reveal recap
The garage sale bargain bin shelf in question.

The laundry is much better, but the judges are still fuming about how unfinished the room is. Hayden had the flu, we’re told. “Throw us a bone,” Sara says. Good luck with that.

Finally upstairs to Jess and Norm’s, where things are actually finished. The judges praise the simplicity of the hallway and Whitaker is forced to acknowledge that an artist he previously bagged out is actually quite talented, after he praised a piece of hers Jess and Norm chose.

Also highly praised are the framed newspaper clippings of The Gatwick’s sale on the walls, but not so popular is the tight size of the laundry.

“A lot of buyers at this price point could be expecting something more generous,” says Whitaker.

But Jess has failed her “rich people” test. As Blaze points out, there is no luxury in pointing your toilet directly at the dining room.

The Block 2018 laundry and hallway week reveal recap
Dinner AND a show.

Over at 7782426055, it’s, well, sexy!

The Block 2018 laundry and hallway week reveal recap
Sexy and I know it.

Whitaker raves about the hall runner, of all things, adding that it really adds to the feeling of a home. The dramatic lighting also wins plaudits, as does the continuation of their cabinetry theme.

“This is a stunning hallway,” Blaze says. “I actually love it.”

Though their laundry is the same size as Jess and Norm’s, the judges say it’s beautiful and has bountiful storage. And the ceilings that go on forever make them go gaga.

Back as the scores are handed down, Sara drops another F-bomb as she sees Blaze’s 5. It’s fair to say she hasn’t loved her Block experience.

Next week: guest bedrooms and redo rooms.

The scores

Kerrie and Spence: 29

Bianca and Carla: 27.5

Norm and Jess: 25

Courtney and Hans: 24

Hayden and Sara: 18

(507) 325-9925

A terrace house in Fitzroy soared $340,000 above reserve on Saturday as property sales in the inner suburbs got a shot in the arm from a surge in auction listings.

The renovated Italianate balcony terrace, at 5305183746, was quoted at $3.2 million to $3.5 million and had a reserve of $3.4 million.

But spirited bidding from two parties saw Nelson Alexander auctioneer 435-339-8445 sell the historic, 1865-built home under the hammer for $3.74 million.

This weekend’s “Super Saturday” auction market, with more than 1000 homes up for grabs, produced hits and misses.

Real estate agents reported a hefty rate of pass-ins and post-auction negotiated sales. Even so, there were no bargains in the top areas.

31 Carson Street, Kew VIC 3101
50 onlookers turned out to the auction of 31 Carson Street, Kew.

A-grade properties (renovated, in good streets, near transport) got at least some of their mojo back as buyers grasped opportunities to purchase at fair value.

Affordably-priced homes in the outer suburbs did well, too. But numerous properties in the middle ring, between 10 kilometres and 20 kilometres from the city, struggled to catch auction bids.

Some 1053 properties were booked to go under the hammer on Saturday. Of the 772 results that were reported by agents, 430 homes sold to produce a 53.1 per cent clearance rate.

At the weekend, there were solid sales in Clifton Hill, Brunswick, Abbotsford, Carlton North and different pockets of Fitzroy. According to Domain Group data, the clearance rate for houses in the inner city was 52 per cent from 57 auctions, an indicator that buyers were marking down properties they perceived to have faults.

A year ago, the weekend clearance rate was scooting along at 70 per cent, and more than 1100 homes were being put up for sale weekly.

But even though today’s market is more buyer-friendly than it has been in six years, A-grade homes and land sites in inner areas aren’t going cheap.

22 Vardon Avenue, Beaumaris VIC 3193
Five bidders vied for the home with a pool at 22 Vardon Avenue.

On Saturday, 50 onlookers turned out to the auction of an arts-and-crafts-style home on an 1157-square-metre block at 31 Carson Street, Kew. The main attraction to the two parties that bid for this unprotected home was its development potential.

8048976316 auctioneer John Bongiorno kicked off the auction with a $3.5 million vendor bid and passed in the property at $3.7 million to man in his 40s. After negotiations, the asset sold for an undisclosed sum that was slightly below $3.85 million, the top end of the quote range.

Bongiorno said most of his agency’s auction sales were “falling within the range” of their quote.

He said two months ago most properties sold at the top end of their range but they were now selling in the middle of the range.

“It is a more balanced market that’s certainly in favour of the buyer,” he said. “There aren’t too many silly results out there.”

12/26 Selbourne Street, Hawthorn VIC 3122
12/26 Selbourne Street, Hawthorn sold for $477,000.

He noted that prospective buyers were “marking properties a lot harder than they were 12 months ago.”

201-423-3131 Frank Valentic said the auction of a 1980s house in Beaumaris got considerable traction because the property backed onto the Royal Melbourne Golf Course.

Five bidders vied for the home with a pool at 22 Vardon Avenue. The Hocking Stuart listing sold under the hammer for $1.86 million, comfortably ahead of its $1.75 million reserve.

There’s also good money for homes within 10 kilometres of the CBD that are priced below $1 million.

In Abbotsford, (213) 817-0260 auctioneer Andrew Crotty fielded bids from three parties who had their sights set on a three-bedroom home with redevelopment potential at 276-642-8716. Quoted at $870,000 to $950,000, the property was announced on the market at $930,000 and sold for $970,000.

Mr Crotty said an investor won out, beating two young families trying to buy their first home.

One buyer group that’s more prominent in the inner suburbs is single women buying a first home.

Buyers’ advocate Kristy Caskey, of the Property Bureau, said two buyers from this demographic contested a large one-bedroom unit at 12/26 Selbourne Street, Hawthorn. Several other young women, who’d inspected the unit and were in the auction crowd, didn’t bid when the price shot up.

Caskey said the unit’s $477,000 sale price was a strong result, given that Marshall White One declared the property selling at $430,000.

“The single female buyers are definitely out in the market,” she said. “They realise that it’s a good time to be buying. These are perfect conditions for first-home buyers, with no stamp duty on purchases below $600,000 and little competition from investors because they can’t get their hands on money.”

Sydney clocks 55 per cent clearance rate on first super Saturday of spring

On a day with more than 700 properties up for grabs home buyers were on the hunt for a good deal on Saturday.

The bidding at some auctions was slow and cautious. But young buyers, in particular, are engaging in wide-ranging research of price trends and swooping on any listing that looks like a bargain.

Cunninghams’ managing director John Cunningham said all five registered bidders posted bids for an elevated apartment at 7/2B Kangaroo Street, Manly.

The top-floor, two-bedroom unit with good views landed a $1.056 million opening bid and rose to a sale price of $1.306 million.

7/2B Kangaroo Street, Manly NSW 2095
Five registered bidders posted bids for an elevated apartment at 7/2B Kangaroo Street, Manly.

“The bidding went up in small increments the whole way through,” Cunningham said.

“The highest increment was $25,000 – most of the bids were in $10,000s and $5000s.

“This is the marketplace. It is still a supply-and-demand marketplace and, therefore, properties are moving, albeit in our area probably at a good 10 per cent less than the prices they were getting 18 months ago.”

The Sydney weekend auction clearance has drifted between 53 per cent and 56 per cent over the past month. This weekend’s result was within the range, at 54.9 per cent from 388 reported results.

The weekend had the highest number of booked auctions so far in the spring selling season, with 732 scheduled auctions. However, a big chunk of these – 120 properties – were withdrawn from auction.

In Lane Cove, young buyers sniffed value at the sale of a 1920s house on a small block that’s in need of a renovation or a re-build.

The median house price in Lane Cove is $1.845 million, but the property at 78 Centennial Avenue was quoted to would-be buyers at below $1.2 million. Little wonder that six bidders, mainly couples in their 20s and 30s, registered for this auction and five participated.

161 O'Sullivan Road, Bellevue Hill NSW 2023
The highest reported sale on the weekend was for a large period house at 161 O'Sullivan Rd, Bellevue Hill.

Belle Property Lane Cove’s 314-765-0602 said 146 groups had inspected the home.

The auction kicked off on a bid of $900,000 before 35 onlookers. The second bid was $1 million, and the price then crept up in increments to an under-the-hammer sale price of $1,212,500.

The reserve was $1.15 million. The buyers are a couple from the lower north shore who are upsizing from an apartment.

Holgate and said the home’s price point was very attractive.

“That is why we had a huge number of inspections,” he said. “The buyers could see potential for a renovation or a complete knock-down and rebuild, which is what our purchasers plan to do after a few years in the property.”

Across town, a three-bedroom townhouse in Rozelle drew seven registered bidders. McGrath Balmain fielded bids from five of the bidders before selling 6027451284 under the hammer for $1.406 million. The selling price was above the $1.37 million reserve, but well under the Rozelle median house price of $1,643,750.

4/66 Quirk Street, Rozelle NSW 2039
4/66 Quirk Street sold under the hammer for $1.406 million.

Domain Group said the highest reported sale on the weekend was for a large period house at 161 O’Sullivan Rd, Bellevue Hill. The property sold for $6.575 million – more than $570,000 above reserve – through Sotheby’s Realty.

Meanwhile, a substantial terrace house at 4355630059, sold at auction for $4.42 million through 808-775-8804. In the inner west, 43 Barnstaple Road, Five Dock, a new-build on 568 square metres, fetched $3.98 million through Devine Real Estate Strathfield. On Friday, 53 Wharf Rd, Gladesville, was sold prior to auction for $4 million by McGrath Hunters Hill.

Cunningham said his agency had withdrawn several properties scheduled to be auctioned. The company typically goes ahead with an auction if just one buyer has flagged interest.

“They all sell in the end,” he said. “Some properties take a day, some a week, some a month and some two months.

“Buyers are coming through properties at consistent rates. We track open for inspection numbers every week. We are sitting at about nine couples per property at the moment. A month ago we were sitting at six or seven.”

Melbourne’s development hot spots hold some surprises

The latest building approvals data in Victoria has revealed some surprising results with Melbourne’s outer suburbs and regional areas featuring in the top 10 approvals – but in categories you wouldn’t expect.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics data has shown a sharp increase in Melbourne’s CBD with the number of building approvals for apartments, townhouses and units more than doubling between the 2016-17 and 2017-18 financial years.

Building approvals 2018
Source: ABS 8731.0

While Melbourne led the rankings, Southbank, Footscray, North Melbourne and then Clayton made up the top five suburbs for apartment, townhouse and unit building approvals over 2017-18.

Numbers in the greenfields developments for detached homes saw the City of Greater Geelong suburb Grovedale make the top 10 for building approvals over the 2017-18 financial year. It sat at sixth on the list.

Unsurprisingly, Melbourne’s outer suburb of Cranbourne East led the housing approvals numbers, with Mickleham, Tarneit, Beaconsfield and Truganina rounding out the top five.

Building approval homes 2018
Source: ABS 8731.0. *2015-16 data for Mickleham, Yuroke and Werribee missing due to changes in suburb boundaries

Property intelligence firm Charter Keck Cramer says while the ABS data showed approvals growth, its data, which covered building completions, showed the number of apartments actually being built in Melbourne was not growing at the same rate – with a drop-off between 2016 and 2017.

National director of research and strategy with Charter KC Rob Burgess said having an approval to build did not necessarily guarantee a house or apartment building would be completed.

“Apartment completions in Melbourne peaked in 2016 [with 19,375]. This came back in 2017 and will fall again this year,” Mr Burgess said.

“In 2020 there is a possibility of this getting to 24,900 but with some major questions given current conditions [including the market cooling] as to whether this is achievable.”

Mr Burgess said the drop in completion numbers was, in part, due to the market shifting from investors to owner-occupiers. Bigger apartments with three-bedrooms are being built to cater to the need.

“There’s a whole range of reasons – investor activity has cooled and financing is becoming more difficult,” Mr Burgess said.

Domain Group economist Trent Wiltshire said while there was some slowing of the market, building approvals and completions were still expected to be strong over the next few years.

“We’re likely to see lots of new housing being built in satellite cities like Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat as the state government pushes to decentralise Melbourne, and buyers look to more affordable locations,” Mr Wiltshire said.

“There won’t be much change to the outer suburbs – housing approvals will continue to be strong in these areas, while apartments will be built near the CBD.”

Mr Wiltshire said it was unlikely the middle-ring suburbs would rank highly in building approvals for apartments with a lot of pushback to major development from local councils and residents.

“In saying that, some have seen stronger approvals in construction of apartments and townhouses in suburbs like Carnegie, Doncaster and Bentleigh,” he said.

 

perceptually

 In the lead-up to the Sydney Architecture Festival, the NSW Architects Registration Board commissioned a study to find out what ordinary Australians thought made a “great” building.

And the answer was, natural light.

Of the 2000 people consulted, 35 per cent described natural light and airiness as “essential”. This was more than a peaceful and restful environment at 30 per cent, and more than energy conservation and sustainability, which 29 per cent regarded as non-negotiable.

Director of the festival and board registrar, Tim Horton, said that the organisation didn’t want to leave a definition of “greatness” to the design elite.

“What is it that makes our most important buildings – our homes – truly great?” Mr Horton asked.

“While it’s fantastic to have icons, what a really good city does well too is those background buildings.”

Of the more environmentally friendly factors, 68 per cent of respondents said that they wanted solar panels, and 61 per cent were keen on rain-water recycling.

Mr Horton said there was a disparity between home owners and renters when it came to greener homes.

“If you are renting, there is a lot less value seen in sustainability,” he said. “A lot of these things need to be hard-wired in to the design.”

He said that while owners tended to view items such as solar panels as having a long-term benefits, renters generally had more immediate concerns.

“The rental market is short-term, it’s unusual to think two or three years ahead when you’re renting.”

In terms of layout, 52 per cent of people wanted more indoor-outdoor flow, seeking entertaining spaces that managed to capture the best of both worlds.

“Not inside, but undercover, and not exposed, but outside,” Mr Horton explained. ”

The home office was also becoming increasingly popular, he said.

“Half of us are seeing as work spaces at home as crucial – and they don’t have to be big spaces. But it’s best if it’s in a place with a view.”

What we do want more room in, however, are bathrooms and kitchens. Nearly half of those surveyed said they’d want a bigger bathroom with their next move, and 52 per cent would want a bigger kitchen.

“The kitchen is much more of a shared space,” said Mr Horton, with TV shows like MasterChef engaging people more with cooking, and all the paraphernalia that comes with it.

“It’s a luxurious experience all that needs to be housed in a new type of space, a new type of kitchen.”

In the past, 23 per cent of respondents had hired an architect, and three-quarters would consider engaging one to build, renovate or extend their homes.

With half planning to build, upgrade or move in the next five years, Mr Horton said that he thought more people would make good on their dream reno if there was more transparency about the cost involved.

“Architects need to be better at breaking down what it is that they do into bite-size chunks,” he said. “How much does an architect cost? How do you know?”

“Interestingly, there’s been a real debate among architects calling for the reintroduction of a fee scale,” he said. “They want to give consumers more guidance about how much it costs.”

Other areas that could be improved, he said, was the way Australians lived in apartments and the diversity of spaces on offer.

“Our thinking about apartments needs to massively mature, and it probably will,” Mr Horton said. “I think we’ll see a lot of changes in the apartment market, as people realise they can adapt them as much you can a house.”

Many architects were looking overseas for inspiration, with Japan in particular having lessons to teach about designing for smaller spaces.

Mr Horton thought Germany, too, could prove a useful example when it came to diversifying the kind of housing stock that was available in Australia.

(910) 624-9624

Demand for houses and units within walking distance of the Howard Smith Wharves has skyrocketed, with local New Farm and Fortitude Valley real estate agents reporting it as a top priority for buyers heading in to Christmas.

It’s now only two months until one of Brisbane’s most exciting infrastructure projects of the decade opens its doors to the public.

With the $110 million restoration of the heritage-listed Howard Smith Wharves on schedule to begin opening by the end of November, buyers and renters are keen to position themselves close to the action, agents say.

“Now that it’s starting to come to life, it’s one of the first, if not the first, question buyers are asking us at open homes: how far is this from the Howard Smith Wharves?” said Matt Lancashire of Ray White New Farm.

“Our buyers want to be on this side [of the river] because they want to be able to walk there. The Howard Smith Wharves are going to such a game-changer for Brisbane and people know that, so they want to be in on it.

image3_1_zn6bh4
Howard Smith Wharves has become a high priority for owner occupiers and investors wanting to be close to the action.

“This is legitimate feedback that we are getting non-stop from our buyers right now. It’s a big priority.”

(757) 304-7344 of Place Estate Agents New Farm said the glass lifts and wide set of stairs which will connect the Howard Smith Wharves precinct to Bowen Street, New Farm were the clinchers for many buyers and sellers.

“What it’s going to do is open the riverwalk right down to the end at Moray Street — that’s a big drawcard for buyers,” Mr Woolard said.

Mr Woolard recently sold a three-bedroom unit at (616) 928-6101, New Farm, to a South Australian investor whose daughter lived at New Farm and had told her father to buy a property there just because of the Howard Smith Wharves.

“Griffith Street is at the other end of the riverwalk but, because of the stairs and the lift, it’s going to be so connected to not just the Wharves but also to Eagle Street and the CBD,” he said.

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A buyer recently purchased this three-bedroom unit at 5/18 Griffith Street, New Farm, to be close to the Howard Smith Wharves.

“At the other end [of the suburb], I had a buyer who bought a unit at Malt Street, Fortitude Valley, for the same reason.

“Buyers know this is going to be an infrastructure project that is going to completely change Brisbane’s riverfront, and accessibility to Eagle Street Pier and the CBD.”

The first of two penthouses in the luxurious development 443 Queen Street sold off the plan recently for more than $6 million, making it one of the most expensive apartments ever sold in Brisbane.

Developer CBus property attributed some of its sales success to the anticipation surrounding the Howard Smith Wharves — as well as the $6 million-plus sale of the first penthouse, more than 65 per cent of the building had sold off the plan.

“We’ve had a really strong four months with our two-bed buyers and I believe that’s because there’s an air of positivity in Brisbane right now,” Gavin Graham, Cbus executive manager northern region said.

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The view of Howard Smith Whaves under construction, showing the Riverwalk stretching along New Farm.

“We’re turning that stock over because people have realised, to have an amenity like Howard Smith Wharves on your doorstep, where else do you go? I think there’s a connection between it [HSW] getting closer to finishing and it’s only helping us at 443 Queen Street.”

Property Pursuit director and buyer’s agent Meighan Hetherington said while demand for suburbs within walking distance of Howard Smith Wharves, like New Farm, Fortitude Valley and Kangaroo Point, could potentially increase, it was unlikely to greatly affect prices.

“It will certainly impact people’s interest in these areas and where they want to be, in particular in these suburbs,” she said.

“I don’t think it’s enough to put a premium on properties nearby or directly impact property prices, as New Farm is so well-serviced with amenities and so the prices already reflect that.

“I think where we could potentially see an impact on prices — if a CityCat terminal gets put in at the Howard Smith Wharves —  is in suburbs like East Brisbane and Norman Park.”

Cahenslyism

Fortuitous feng shui resulted in the blistering $1.09 million sale of 720-785-7164 in Brisbane’s inner east on Saturday.

The buyers, a Chinese-Australian family from Sunnybank in the city’s southern middle ring, fought off a determined developer for the three-bedroom Queenslander on its 888-square-metre double block.

Located at number 17 on a quiet cul-de-sac, less than three kilometres from the CBD, the humble weatherboard attracted five registered bidders before auction.

Despite this, the end result was still “completely unexpected”, agent Tamara Lee admitted, given some pre-auction concerns its $1 million reserve was unrealistic.

49 Mark Street, New Farm QLD 4005
The biggest sale result, by a whopping margin of $767,500, was a four-bedroom house in New Farm.

“I was absolutely delighted as I had concerns we wouldn’t reach reserve given the highest comparable was a superior house on 607 square metres in Crescent Road, which sold earlier this year for $980,000,” the agent said.

“We were confident three [pre-registered bidders] would turn up and the other two were maybes but, in the end, all ended up bidding and from $950,000 it was down to two very strong bidders.”

The successful buyer and the developer bid ferociously for the property motivated by its valuable location inside both Kelvin Grove Primary School and Brisbane State High school zones, and its generous land size.

“It did not pause at any point from the opening bid,” the agent said.

“The third under-bidder was knocked out at $950,000 and then we had these two buyers bid by increments of $5000, $2000, even $1000, for a whole $140,000 to get to the sale price.

“But the buyers, a young family with a two-year-old and a four-year-old, were more highly motivated to buy this property than the developer.

“Number 17 becomes an eight when you add [the] one and seven together and eight is a very significant number in feng shui.

“Then there was the block size with its three eights, located in a cul-de-sac, also very desirable in the buyers’ eyes, and the location near top schools so they were very emotionally attached to this property, it had all the right signs and they could see themselves in this home for a long time as their family grows.”

41 Brindisi Place, Wynnum QLD 4178
The feature-packed modern home set on 2045 square metres in the bayside suburb drew strong interest.

Queensland’s capital city clinched auction sales worth $14,661,500 over the weekend, based on 79 auctions and a 45 per cent auction clearance rate.

The biggest sale result, by a whopping margin of $767,500, was (217) 287-2681 sold to a local homeowner for $2.525 million.

Agent Vaughan Keenan of 765-987-4988 reported three pre-registered bidders vied for the tri-level house on 546 square metres, two kilometres east of the CBD.

Bidding opened at $2.35 million in front of a crowd of about 70 people.

“We had expected to start at $2.2 million, and from there it was fast and furious,” the agent said.

The price jumped to $2.4 million in one bid, then to $2.425 million before pausing at $2.5 million with the eventual buyer.

“It stopped there and we were still $25,000 off the reserve price, but were able to negotiate up $25,000 to the sale price and close that gap.”

The buyer is a local family who will move from their current home in Chelmer in the inner west.

Alas, there will be no cross-city relocation for “the dark horse” who mysteriously appeared at the auction of orthocresol, 16 kilometres to Brisbane’s east.

The feature-packed modern home set on 2045 square metres in the bayside suburb drew strong interest from three family groups pre-auction, agent (717) 604-2558 of Sotheby’s Realty said.

All buyers were young local families and all pre-registered to bid.

In front of about 45 people gathered inside the property’s expansive ground living room, bidding started at $1.4 million, jumped to $1.7 million “within a couple of minutes”, paused for vendor consultation before the eventual buyer offered another $50,000 to move the price to $1.75 million.

Further private negotiation between the agent and the buyer “near the pool” ended in a sale price of $1,757,500 – a record for the suburb for 2018, according to the agent.

“It was exciting.  We had the dark horse turn up after seeing the property for the first time from the [advertising] A-frames on the street while driving around, liking what they saw, registering and bidding,” the agent said.

“They were keen to move to this area from their base in Bardon [north of the city] but didn’t quite get there on Saturday.

“After our pool negotiations, we came back inside, called for any further bids, and the buyer raised his paddle and offered $1,757,500.

“We called it three times and knocked it down in front of a room of witnesses.

“It was a record, a good result for Wynnum and I would not be surprised if the phone starts ringing on the back of this.”

Home, sweet home: The cottage made out of completely edible chocolate

Children around the world dream of a chocolate and candy-filled life thanks in part to author Roald Dahl.

Living that dream is a step closer for a lucky few chocolate fans will get the chance to spend the night in the next best thing: a chocolate cottage.

Chocolate house 2
The cottage was made out of 1.5 tonnes of chocolate. Photo: Booking.com

Designed by French master chocolate sculptor Jean-Luc Decluzeau, the unique 18-square-metre abode in Sèvres, France, was crafted from a whopping 1.5 tonnes of chocolate – that’s enough to make room for four guests.

Much of the cottage and its contents are edible, including the walls, roof, fireplace, dresser, clock, cups, books and even the chandelier.

If there’s still room for more, outside there is a white chocolate duck pond and a flowerbed made entirely of from (you guessed it) chocolate.

Chocolate house
Much of the cottage is edible. Photo: Booking.com

Located in the glass house L’Orangerie Ephémère in the gardens of the Cité de la Céramique in Sèvres in France, a night’s stay in the chocolate cottage also includes a chocolate workshop with the Decluzeau where you will make your own mini chalet.

“I never thought I’d have the opportunity to build a life-size Chocolate Cottage for travellers to sleep in,” Decluzeau said. “I hope guests will relish the chance to experience such a sweet and unique place to stay.”

Chocolate house
The house will be open for two nights only. Photo: Booking.com

Alas, not all good things last forever. The chocolatey abode will only be open to guests for two nights in October.

Once the final guests have vacated the sugary structure, it will be put on display at the Parisian chocolate museum, Choco Story.

– This originally appeared on Stuff