Darren Palmer Reviews The Block Apartments
Let's get started on my review.....
What an Amazing Auction!
Auction day is over and what an amazing success that was! I’ve recapped The Block on radio and newspaper interviews more times that I care to think about in the last week but here and now I’m going to give you my outline of the entire block, apartment by apartment and tell you who I thought the winner would have been...
Steve and Chantelle's Apartment
Starting with Apartment 1, Steve and Chantelle’s space, we have the fans who won the right to choose their apartments so they chose what would seem to be the better 2 of the four apartments, one (Kyal & Kara’s) North East facing, the other North West (Chantelle and Steve’s), both with city views.
This decision in week one would be what real estate agents all over would recommend on paper, but it’s been interesting seeing the way that decision has played out in the actual finished properties as the south east (Dale and Brad’s) and South West (Alisa and Lysandra’s) apartments both have vastly higher ceilings and a feeling of luxury partly because of it. The feeling of a home is just as important as the line items on the marketing brochure such as North Facing or City Views.
So we have Steve and Chantelle with a great start on paper, but possibly behind the competition in terms of perceived luxury of space.
All other things being equal in the first week though, with 4 evenly sized and appointed floorplans, the contestants all had to adapt their own floorplans, in the first week, in a pressure cooker environment. A crazy working environment would be an understatement.
The decisions that Steve and Chantelle made to make their downstairs bedroom into a study/bedroom may well pull some buyers out of their pool pulling a little value out of their property as a result. Time will tell.
Jewel in the Crown
The other opportunity for improvement in Steve and Chantelle’s apartment is the rooftop. With amazing views and plenty of space a buyer looking to purchase a prestige Albert Park property with a city view would be able to snap this one up if they had a view to refinishing the walls with something a little more high-end and installing some appropriate, and more expensive, outdoor furniture. A bit of decoration and removal of a few elements and you’ll have a jewel in the building’s crown. That said, if you’re not the type of buyer wanting to improve a new purchase, this rooftop may be your last choice. I see it though as an opportunity to add value that you can probably purchase more easily than some of the other apartments.
The big successes in Steve and Chantelle’s apartment are the downstairs, very family friendly living space. The master bedroom and ensuite are amongst the best in the building and overall the apartment feels warm and inviting. It may be the most family friendly apartment in the Block.
Kyal and Kara's Apartment
Moving next door, we have Kyal and Kara’s which is simply a testament to Kyal’s skills as a carpenter and Kara’s style. The first week’s planning challenge shows up the major weakness in Kyal and Kara’s being the living dining space.
The hallway being too large and the downstairs layout all add up to a slightly under performing living area – though this is compensated for entirely, and then some, with the rooftop which is a whole other living, dining and kitchen area, with city views, heaters for winter and a TV. If you were entertaining you’d be doing it up here for sure and the rest of their apartment features some of the best design in the block.
The master bathroom was a perfect 30/30 from us all. The upstairs bedroom was my favourite room in the block. The finishing throughout was second to none. This is a very strong apartment with the only negative (downstairs living space) being outshone by the massive positive on the roof.
Alisa and Lysandra's Apartment
Alisa and Lysandra have something that the other apartments don’t, or at least not to the same extent. They have an entrance appeal that stops you in your tracks. The decisions they made to shave space out of other areas has made their apartment a balancing act. They’ve made some spaces smaller, gambling the effect on the wow factor of their biggest asset, the downstairs layout and the void from the next level.
I have to say that in my opinion that decision paid off. They have created a sense of space and the luxury that that brings in terms of perceived value added in spades. Walking through their apartment a buyer could very easily fall in love and decide the apartment must be theirs at whatever cost. The emotions in Alisa and Lysandra’s auction I predict will be running hot because of this desire to attain something unique.
The downstairs powder room/laundry doesn’t compare favourably to the other 3 apartments, even Kyal and Kara’s which didn’t have any sense of space about it, because the twins decided to make their only shower one that is exposed to the elements. Again a risk, a decision based on the advice from their agent pointing them toward an older adult buyer with guests in the 3rd room not kids. This decision though may well shave off potential buyers, which could also shave off that one passionate buyer that will drive their price up and up and up.
Dale and Brad's Apartment
Dale and Brad’s apartment is the most consistent throughout. If we picture Alisa and Lysandra’s as a set of scales or a seesaw with their massive successes at one end, and their less successful stuff at the other, Dale and Brad’s apartment is as level as a table top. From front to back floor to floor it’s a consistent, broad and appealing proposition.
There aren’t any buyers in the market for a property around the 2m mark with a spiral staircase – I mention this as it will not necessarily appeal to buyers with smaller kids or the elderly – that wouldn’t be interested in this apartment. The downstairs bedroom has what is in essence its own suite. Guests or teenage children can have their own space to exist without impacting on the lifestyle of any other occupant.
The upstairs master suite is a true luxury proposition, like it or not, the bath and bathroom design is reminiscent of a beautiful hotel suite. The only real issue in their whole apartment is the robe in the second bedroom upstairs. It will need to be revised unless the owners are as tall as Brad and Dale.
So Who Did I Think Would Win?
So that’s my wrap up of the good and not so good of the Block Fans vs Faves.
In my opinion Brad and Dale should have been the winners as I thought they had the most solid proposition on paper. Their apartment would have appealed to the investor and owner occupier groups and I believe would have had the most amount of interested parties at the auction.
My second pick was Alisa and Lysandra as they had emotions on their side. The appeal and luxury proposition that they created I thought would appeal to fewer buyers, but those buyers would want the property and therefore bid more vigrousously creating a very strong result.
Well - I was wrong - and I'm very excited to be wrong, as Steve and Chantelle's apartment is fabulous and their result on auction night was outstanding - so a HUGE congratulations from me you deserved it