Thursday, 20 August 2009

[Others.044] Call the police! Someone stole two lanes from Epping Road!

This is quite funny, but unfortunately it's the NSW government who stole the two lanes from Epping Road, trying to force everyone to use the expensive Lane Cove Tunnel...

Monday, 17 August 2009

[PropertyInfo.038] RBA's warning certainly has huge impact!

We have a busy day last Saturday (15/8), all spent on open houses and auctions.

We noticed in the morning that there was this big news on all papers about interest rate going to go up 2%, warning from RBA, ...etc. And that surely has a huge impact!

Some of the owners were safe, for example this house in Angus Ave which we missed previous Saturday's first open house. When we were there last Saturday it's already SOLD! We did expect it to be sold quite quickly as it's very close to school, a wide 22m frontage, still looks like in excellent condition from photos on Internet, and the price is within reasonable range based on recent sales record in the area. The agent Better Homes Realty is quite well known in local area and they certainly did an excellent job in the marketing of this property.

While this other house in Chelmsford Rd is not that lucky - been auctioned in the same afternoon when the RBA warning was reported by all papers.

From the photo below the house looks huge, but when you went on site, it's not! The house in the middle of the photo actually belongs to the neighbour at the back. The brick color is almost the same as the fence and that causes the confusion. The front yard looks huge, but with a 612m2 land, that's all you have. The North and West side of the house is only about less than a metre from the fences, so there's basically no backyard at all.

The agent even hired this Cafe2U van to provide free coffee/hot chocolate for everyone. Not sure how's that going to help the bidding price other than attracting more people. I wonder if this is included in the marketing package with the agent or is that extra?

Or may be they should try the "luxury car" option as I mentioned in this post almost 2 years ago to add extra 10-20% to the property value...

Talking about the bidding, the whole auction process was a bit strange too. When the auction started, a guy standing right at the front, very close to the auctioneer, and about 2-3 steps ahead of the crowd quickly raised his hand and offered 1.1 million. Lots of people made a "Wah!" sound as rarely would any one made such a high opening bid. Specially been so close to the "owner's acceptable range of 1.1m - 1.2m" according to the agent. Quite naturally, no one follows, the agent then approached about 5 to 6 registered buyers within the crowd and no one responded.

After a few embarrassing minutes, he then went inside to discuss with the owner. Later the auctioneer announced a "1.175 million" vendor bid, and basically that's the end of the auction.

Spoke to a few people and everyone agreed either that guy is dumb, has too much money to spend, or must be a dummy/fake bidder trying to push up the price. He probably got too excited and revealed his intention too early, and in a very inexperienced way. If he started at the low 900K range, it would be a totally different result. Sometimes people are just too impatient...

There's also this house in Kent Street, which looks quite nice and solid with the new paint - personally I don't quite like it as it would cover up lots of problems. And from the second photo below, you can see the owner smartly followed the "luxury car" option and parked a nice new sports car at the front...

But once we entered the house and checked all the closed doors/cabinets, it's a totally different story. The house was so heavily renovated that the hot water system and electrical/fuse meter box are now both located inside the house, hidden inside a few cabinets. There's even a bedroom with a downlight dangerously fell out of socket, dangling down from the ceiling.

And look at what I found hidden inside a furniture in the upstairs living area: 2 water tap knobs popped out from nowhere! Walk into the room behind the wall and you will see a small ensuite toilet, and a little basin where the tap was connected to.

The good part about the house is, there's a totally separated lower level floor with it's own kitchen, bathroom and currently rented out.

Looks like the owner did spend a lot of money in improving the house for the past years. But from those small areas mentioned above, even if the price is right, I would be quite worried about the quality...

Sunday, 16 August 2009

[City2Surf.005] My 3rd City2Surf run

I finished my 3rd City2Surf run last Sunday. This year there were a lot more runners than before: 75,000+ !

This time, I wasn't as well prepared as last year, plus a 2-7am work related activity on the day before, and my time was about 108 min. Certainly a lot more room for improvement next year!

I tried to convince wife and kid to join me again, but unfortunately the race is still not as attractive as the warm and cosy bed in the cold weather, probably next year then...

There were these 2 policemen riding on the horses in the Hyde Park before the race starts, looks pretty cool when you are so high above from the others. Just wonder, do they also have to get off the horses to clean up like those who walk their dogs in the park if the horses have to "release" themselves? They would certainly need a much bigger plastic bag!

Friday, 14 August 2009

[Others.043] Flaws in the construction work for new buildings

I saw this article "A litany of defects and still no resolution" from Sydney Morning Herald the other day about nightmare of a brand new building in 25 Kelly Street Ultimo for all the residents. Have a read and tell me how you fell about it.

While you might think it's just another tragic story similar to the one I mentioned this post (Charlie's Sad Story) mid last year, but there's one very important point been mentioned in the article by Dominic Ogburn, who is a licensed building consultant and author:
"When a plumber does some work on a new building they are the ones who fill out the compliance certificate to say whether their work has been done properly."
"Often the certification provided is completely at odds with what has actually been built because the contractor is the only person who has to sign off on it."

I certainly agree that this is a major flaw for all the construction work of new buildings in Australia.

While you might say that all building companies have a site supervisor who checks every construction site weekly. Yes, that's true. But based on what we seen in ours, and a few other sites in the past few years, it's never enough.

Each site supervisor normally has to look after at least 20 sites, and you would be lucky if your supervisor can spend more than an hour or two in your site every week. Although we have inspectors from council or private ones (hired by builder), it's almost impossible to pick up every problems in a short hour or two's inspection.

So from purchaser/owner's point of view, it will certainly be safer if you can get your own inspector, and check everything you can think of, again, again and again before the hand over. Once you accepted the property or signed the dotted line and paid all the money, you lost control of everything!