Friday, December 24, 2010

Sarah Lorden Real Estate 2010 review

Our year has been a rollercoaster of charity events and achievements!

We started like most agencies in Sydney, experiencing the property boom straight after Christmas, with a red hot market. Our sales agents meticulously sold many properties, some clearing for record highs. We hosted an Easter stall where our team and friendly Easter bunny gave away free chocolates to the children in Balmain while raising money for the Salvation Army. Some of our team then involved themselves in the Phoenix Kindergarten annual charity auction - the theme was retro and our auctioneer Damien Cooley kindly gave up his time to host the night. Other members of the team including Sarah and Kate attended the Roz-Vegas Casino night which helped raise charity for the local schools. Sarah and Kate also gave up their time (and comfy beds) to spend a night out in the open for the CEO Winter Sleep out.

Every October, we girls at Sarah Lorden Real Estate go pink for the month to raise money for the McGrath Foundation and to promote Breast Cancer awareness. We hold a charity stall in Balmain selling McGrath Foundation merchandise. It's a big hit with the children who love getting their faces painted. All of our banners go pink for the month and we donate $500 from every property sold to the McGrath Foundation. In that same month, we sponsored the charity celebrity cricket match out on Birchgrove Oval where celebs like James Tobin and Todd McKenny competed in a friendly cricket game.

All of this charity work did not go unnoticed by our colleagues and peers at the REI Awards night where Sarah Lorden herself was honoured for the second year in a row with the John Greig OAM Award for Community Service. The REI also recognised the high performance of our team of agents and property managers by awarding Sarah Lorden Real Estate the top gong of the night - the Residential Agency of the Year (Large) 2010 award. Securing the RER's Highest Value of Property Sold per Agent 2010 award was just another proud moment for all the team in seeing their efforts rewarded.

Despite all this hard work, we at SLRE also know how to let our hair down! Our half annual general meeting involved dressing up in clown costumes and intermingling with patrons at the Exchange Hotel! While Kris Kringle resulted in a wild game of pass-the-parcel and celebrity heads! The Christmas party began with a leisurely game of lawn bowls before the party moved inside and got… well a little crazy! To top the year off, the directors Sarah and Kate, organised for the whole office to go on a jet boat ride around Sydney Harbour! Whoa!

2010 has also been a strong year for innovation at Sarah Lorden Real Estate with our ventures in product marketing and social media growing in success. Embracing social media, we began writing a community blog documenting the history of the inner west as well as relating to current events in the market. This blog in under a year has become the most read property blog in Balmain.
We started a facebook and twitter page with its aim to introduce a new generation of home buyers to Sarah Lorden Real Estate while at the other end we took out our first Billboard on the corner of Victoria Road and the Anzac Bridge. We also reorganised our shop front, doing away with photo slides and replacing them with 3 large plasma screen displays.

We would like to make a special mention to our marketing manager Amalia Miceli who is leaving us today and moving to London to begin a new life. Good luck! Also congratulations to Justine Brown for her having her second beautiful baby Lola.

Merry Christmas to everyone,we are looking forward to 2011 with the unveiling of a new suprise in the new year....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The World's Most Expensive Coffee

Question: What drink would you expect to see a real estate agent in Balmain drinking? A staple for Balmain real estate agents is obviously the double shot soy mocha latte with cinnamon, just don't get any froth on my bluetooth earpiece! Duh!

Balmain and coffee go hand and hand with each other, from Bertoni's to the Little Marionette to Cafe Berlin; the whole of Balmain loves coffee and we have some great local brewers of the black stuff.

But what is the most expensive coffee in the world?
Surprisingly, it isn't from Columbia or Africa but in fact Indonesia! Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world but it's not the location that makes it special, it's how it's made. "Kopi" is the Indonesian word for "Coffee" while "Luwak" is the name of a local palm civet (a type of weasel-like animal).

*Yuk Warning* The coffee is made from coffee beans that have been eaten and partly digested, then excreted by the civet. Apparently, the digestion process of the civet dissolves the outer layer of the coffee bean, removing the traditional bitter flavour of coffee. The beans are then collected from the dung of the civet and sold by the locals. One kilogram bag could set you back by $300 and a cup retails around $50.

Unless you are Bear Grylls, I don't think anyone would find this strange brew a rewarding experience!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Pubs of Balmain

Some of the feedback I've received from the readers of our Balmain blog is that people would like to know more about some of the pubs in Balmain. So, come next year, I'll be writting a number of pieces introducing you to some of the local watering holes and their history. The Balmain Association's book "Called to the Bar" will be providing me with much of the information and I'd recommend anyone who is interested in this subject, to pop down to Brays Books on Darling St Balmain and pick up a copy.

The first pub I'd like to talk about is the Marquis of Waterford, Balmain or better known as the Waterford Arms Hotel, Balmain. No longer a working pub (now a private residence) the wide sandstone building was built in 1841. Located at number 50 Darling Street, Balmain East, the Waterford Arms was originally called "Cathemore" (Fort on the Hill) and was Balmain's first bakery, the original open wood fire oven still exists.
In 1846, four years after the first pub in Balmain (the Balmain Hotel) opened, an eccentric man named Charles James Bullivant who converted the building into a licensed pub. Bullivant, a former army officer, had been discharged from service for drawing an unflattering caricature of Governor Macquarie on the wall of the guardroom. He was said to be obsessed with his own death and, from a young age, had his own coffin made up and carried it around with him. When he did eventually pass at an elderly age, he left instructions for his son to bury him in an unconsecrated tomb in his backyard with the inscription "The first day of darkness, the last of danger and distress."

The Waterford Arms, Balmain was fourth oldest pub in Balmain and was only a licensed premises for 5 years before Bullivant sold the property to Joshua Frey Josephson who then sold it to Balmain's first mayor, John Booth in 1969. The property has remained a private residence ever since but in it's heyday it would have been a lively place to be. The trams stopped in front of the pub while next door Oddfellows Community Hall would have been a scene of much debate and merry-making!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

3 Great iPhone Apps for Real Estate

The real estate industry is moving forward technologically at such a fast pace that it is sometimes difficult for agents, buyers and sellers to keep up. In this blog, I listed 3 iphone applications that we at Sarah Lorden Real Estate use often and find quite helpful. iphone App
If you are looking to purchase a home or even looking to research what your home would be worth, then this application is essential. It is basically a condensed version of the website and holds thousands of current listings Australia wide including photos and descriptions of properties. You are able to view the properties on your GPS map as well as bookmark open times to remind you when the next inspections begin. The application is probably the most familiar and comprehensive application for those who are in the market right now. And it's Free!

Tapmortgage iphone app
This application has only just been released but it is one of the best of it's kind, simply because it's so easy to use. Tapmortgage is a finance application that allows you to calculate the interest on your mortgage or stamp duty. There are a couple of things that make this app great. The first is how easy it is - just put in your mortgage details and up come the calculations. The second is that it will actually provide you with suggestions to how you can better save and cut down your mortgage repayments. For example, if you are paying you mortgage on a monthly basis, the app will let you know how much interest you will pay by week, forntight and month. It is great for first home buyers or people looking to refinance as it spells it out, in dollar amounts, what you will save if you pay weekly or fortnightly compared to monthly. Thirdly, this app is great because it FREE!!

Commbank Property Guide & ANZ Property Tracke
These two apps are basically the same in content, they're just sponsored by the separate banks, although & rpdata do endorse the Commbank app and I've found that the Commbank app does work better than the ANZ app, however both can be buggy at times. The amazing thing about this app is the concept that they provide. If you are an agent, picture this: You are at a listing appointment with your iphone and you are talking to your vendor about what the houses in the street sold for and you say "let's go outside and I'll show you." With this app you point the iphone's camera at any house in the street and up will pop the price range and date in which that house sold for. You can just walk down the street with you vendor and you iphone will inform you of all recent sales in the street. We have done it with a few of our clients and they have been impressed. This app is also FREE so I suggest that you download it and try it for yourself!

There are many more real estate applications that work well such as Evernote, MyDesktop and Homebuyer but if you are looking for the best apps on the iphone, we believe that, Tapmortgage and Commbank are essential for all agents, buyers and sellers, not only because of their content and information but also because they are all absolutely free.

Monday, December 13, 2010

For the past two weekends Santa has been in Loyalty Square taking photos with all the good girls and boys in Balmain. We would like to thank everyone who came and got a photo with Santa as well as making coin and food donations to the Salvation Army. We managed to raise nearly over $400 in total. Your generosity will go a long way to helping others in need this Christmas.

As can be expected in animal friendly Balmain, it wasn't only children who wanted their photo with Santa! It seemed half of the puppy dogs in Balmain were not too camera shy to be snapped with the jolly man in the red suit! They made for great photos and they were all well behaved on the day.

It has just become official that our blog is the number one most read Property Blog in Balmain. We'd like to thank everyone for being such avid readers. We try and keep the posts interesting, yet focused on the community and the market.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dr. William Balmain - The man behind the suburb

It's been brought to my attention that I have not yet written about Dr. William Balmain, the man the suburb of "Balmain" was named after.

Born over nearly 250 years ago in 1762, William Balmain was a Scottish surgeon. At the age of 18, he was appointed the assistant surgeon of the First Fleet. He sailed on the First Fleet ship "Alexander". There, served as Civil Magistrate of Norfolk Island where he met his wife, a convict, Margaret Dawson. Balmain then returned to Sydney where he was appointed the Chief Surgeon of the Colony of New South Wales.
Dr. Balmain was intrically involved in a number of Sydney's early conflicts including the Irish rebellion in Castle Hill and the Rum Rebellion of which, Balmain blasted John Macarthur, the rebllion's leader, as "a base rascal and an atrocious liar and villan."

On 26th April 1800, the NSW Governor John Hunter granted Dr. Balmain 223 hectares of land, what is now know as "Balmain". Back then, the wild bush area was known as "Ross's Farm". Dr. Balmain only held the land for fifteen months before his failing health forced him to return to England. Before his departure in 1801, he quietly sold the land to John Gilchrist, a scolar residing in Calcutta, India, for just 5 shillings. Such a nominal sum is ludicous when we consider today's Balmain property prices! Gilchrist wished the area to be known as "Gilchrist Place" but the legalities of the sale had been so quiet that it had not become public knowledge until 20 years later. By that time, the suburb name of "Balmain" had rooted itself on the area.

In 1801, Dr. Balmain's health had failed and he returned to England where he died a year later due to kidney failure. His kin returned to Sydney where they fought to reclaim the land, refuting the transaction that had taken place between Dr. Balmain & Gilchrist. They're attempts were ultimately futile and Gilchrist sold the first plots of land at auction in 1836.

Santa visits Balmain

Last Saturday, Santa came to Loyalty Square in Balmain much to the excitement of many children.

With the busy Christmas period ahead, we would like to thank all of those people who generously donated a gold coin to the Salvation Army and had a photo taken with Santa Clause. The weather threatened to dampen our stall but thankfully held off and we were able to raise over $100 for charity.
Santa will be back at Loyalty Square next Saturday 11th December between 10am - 2pm. Come and join in the celebration!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Santa is coming to Balmain!!

Merry Christmas from Santa and everyone at SLRE!!

'Tis the season to be jolly, and here at Sarah Lorden Real Estate, we are celebrating the festive season with a visit from Santa this Saturday 4th December and Saturday 11th December at Loyalty Square (just outside Woolworths).
Santa will be there from 2 - 4pm and will be taking photos with all the good kids in Balmain (and a few bads ones as well!)

Come celebrate Christmas with Santa and his SLRE helpers!!

Photos with Santa:
When: Saturday 4th December between 2-4PM
Saturday 11th December between 2-4PM
Where: Loyalty Square (out the front of Woolworths)

Balmain Fire Station

Question: What building is situated on the highest point of the Balmain pennisula?
Answer: The Balmain Fire Station. In 1894, the current fire station was built in this strategic position because the elevation has "...the great advantage of down-hill runs for [horse powered] fire appliances when called into service, and of commanding a distant view."

The original Balmain fire station was a couple of sheds in Booth Street in 1875. It was run by a volunteer force who maintained the horses and fire equipment. In 1901, the volunteer force was disbanded, replaced with a full time force. These fire fighters were better supplied with Balmain's first steam powered fire engine and specialised fire helmets used for effectively fighting ship fires in Balmain's many docks.

Located across the road from the Balmain Town Hall, the Balmain Fire Station is still in use today, keeping a devoted watch over the locals. While only a small station, it is well equipped and supported by another in Rozelle.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Balmain has always had an affiliation with the sea and the working class. It’s perfect ports were once described as “…a good landing for boats in every situation where the water touches” (Sydney Gazette 29 July ,1837). It comes as no surprise then that the peninsular was utilized as a major hub for shipping in Sydney. Mort’s Dock is probably to most famous dock in Balmain. It was built by Thomas Sutcliffe Mort, an entrepreneur in not only land development but land sale.
By 1850, Thomas Mort was known as Sydney’s leading auctioneer of land and wool. His expertise in area planning recognized the need for a dry dock in Balmain and he attracted workers by offering them incentives to stay in Balmain, promising on completion, blocks of land in the area. As a result, people flocked to the suburb with businesses to support the hundreds of dock workers. By 1855, when Mort’s Dock opened, land value in the area had risen from 5 shillings to 6 pounds per foot!
By 1887, 80% of the population around the dry dock was owned and settled by the working class. Thomas Mort himself became very wealthy from subdividing the land and selling it off in parts to new settlers. His vision in the dry dock did much to personify Balmain’s “working class” persona that the local residents still hold today.
Thomas Mort was not a resident of Balmain, despite the dock and a street being named in his honour. He lived between his homes in Bodalla in Syndey’s South and his Gothic mansion “Greenoaks” in Darling Point. On his death, a statue was dedicated to him by his workers and erected in Sydney’s Macquarie Place where it still stands.
Mort’s legacy of a working class suburb lived on long after the dock closed, when the land was broken up by the Government in 1986 and now houses 211 Housing Commision units and parks.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Most Expensive House in the World

Have you ever wondered what the worlds most expensive house looks like?

Welcome to the Antilia Tower in Mumbai, India. Built with the idea of extravagant opulence in mind, the ceilings of this 27 storey home are more than twice normal height, soaring it to the size of a 60 storey building while the tower itself contains some amazing features such as a 6 level parking garage for 160 cars, three helipads, 9 elevators, a 50 seat theatre, a grand ballroom and a permanent staff of 600 people.

The proud owner of the Antilia Tower is Mukesh Ambani, Forbes Magazine's 4th richest man in the world, who has boasted that the home is a green home with Babylonian style Hanging Gardens on every level. Critics of the Tower have said that it promotes unsustainable living and extravagance, especially as its purpose is to house only Ambani, his wife and his three children! Interesting to note that each child has their own Health Club within the property! The Antilia Tower has taken 7 years to build and has been estimated between $1.8 Billion and $2 billion dollars in value, making it the most expensive residential home in the world by a long way.

Built mostly from glass and steel, the Antilia Tower soars above the Mumbai skyline over looking the surrounding slum neighbourhoods further polarising the divide between the rich and poor in India's economic Renaissance.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Balmain is not a suburb known for its wide and car friendly roads and this is perhaps because the tram ruled the streets between 1882 and 1958. A long tram line ran the route of Darling Street from the wharf in Balmain East to Glebe via Victoria Road. Originally the trams were steam powered and used a unique “counter-weight” system on the steep incline in Balmain East to control the speed. A risky game was played by the young boys of Balmain, who would jump on to the cup used to buffer the tram on the hill and ride it as it travelled towards the wharf.

Much of Darling Street at that time was hilly and unsuitable for tram travel. Parts of the original street height were excavated by a few feet to allow a smoother run for the trams to pass through.

Balmain today: The drop from the original street height and stairs leading to an old tram stop.

In 1902, the old steam trams were replaced by electric models and extensive overhead cabling was installed down Darling Street to power them. These trams lasted for over fifty years as the main mode of transport from Balmain into the city until buses later replaced them in 1958. The old tram tracks were tarred over and the electric cabling removed. All that now remains of the old trams is the rusting tracks in the Rozelle depot yard.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

It’s been an exciting week of sponsorship for Sarah Lorden Real Estate. On Saturday, our McGrath Breast Cancer Foundation Stall attracted a flurry of donations from Balmain’s generous public. Every October, Sarah Lorden Real Estate supports the McGrath Foundation by donating $500 for every home that is sold during the month. We also hold the popular stall every Saturday of October at Loyalty Square, selling merchandise from cook books, hats and wristbands. In particular, the face painting, balloons and cupcakes were a huge hit with the children. The stall has managed to raise over $800 in the past two weeks. Thank you to all the Sarah Lorden agents who generously donated their time at the stall, in particular, our property manager Ben who looked amazing in his pink apron! The stall will be on again for the next two Saturdays between 10am – 2pm. Come down and say hello to the team.

On Sunday, Sarah Lorden Real Estate was one of the major sponsors for the “A Day On The Green” Charity cricket match played at Birchgrove Oval. The Gods blessed us with an amazing day, with local celebs Samantha Tolj, Jonathan Pease and James Tobin MC-ing the 3 hour match. There was plenty for the family to do from watching the cricket, to the kids playing on the jumping castle to munching down on a good ‘ol sausage sizzle. We would like to thank everyone who came along and enjoyed the day. We look forward to next’s years battle!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm moving to a new blog!

Hi everyone,

Just letting you know some good news.
The Sarah Lorden Real Estate team has employed me to write their blog full-time on their website.
The blog will be similar in topics, but will also involve Twitter & Facebook.

This is an exciting opportunity! If you still want to keep in touch and read my posts, subscribe to the Sarah Lorden Real Estate Blog

Look forward to reading you posts on the new blog!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Balmain Hospital

Next Tuesday, on August 10, the Balmain Hosptial will be holding an open day to celebrate its 125th Anniversary of providing health care for the district. The hospital will host the public in a festival full of guided tours, music, food and showbags! Everyone is welcome and it should be a fantastic day.

The hospital began in 1885 to support the growing population of the penninsular. In the beginning, only men could recieve treatment at the hospital, while women still had to commute to the city. This changed when as the hospital grew and changed it's location to Booth St, where it still stands today.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Social Media & Real Estate

Real estate is a business that is all about being noticed and providing customers with the best access to our services. One thing that is new to the industry is the addition of social media sites like Twitter, linkedin and Facebook as a tool to build a client base and promote our stock. This is an area that we at Sarah Lorden are looking into seriously and I have taken on the role to explore this new medium to its full potential.
So I then pose a question to you - what sort of information would you like to receive from your real estate agent's Twitter or Facebook account? News on properties and market news? Or peices and comments on community happenings? Or special topics on the industry and area?

This is a topic that I would love to hear your feedback on so we can make this work for you. Would you follow us on Twitter or Facebook? And if so, what type of information would you like to receive?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The History of early Real Estate Agents in Balmain & Rozelle

Happy Easter Everyone!

Today I thought I'd talk about the history of the pioneering real estate agents in Balmain and Rozelle. We all know that for the past 14 years Sarah Lorden Real Estate have been paving the way in real estate excellence throughout the area, but who were the original Property Agents in Balmain? Many of these agents have streets named after them and some even became influential members in the local government.

The very first land auction that took place in Balmain was on the 25th October 1836 in Lookes Avenue, Balmain East. Marine Captain John Roach, purchased what was then known as Lot 9 but what is now known as 13 Lookes Avenue. He later sold this plot of land to real estate developer Joseph Looke who built the current house on it in 1840.

Alfred Hancock - known as the "Father of Rozelle" was an estate agent who encouraged the working class in the area to build and own their own homes. He along with his business partners William Paling and Louis Foucart bought up large areas of Balmain & Rozelle and sold them off in allotments. Hancock St in Rozelle is named after him, Elizabeth St Rozelle is named after his wife while Percy St Rozelle is named after his son. Other areas such as Ruess St, Birchgrove and Springside St Rozelle were also in his portfolio. Hancock lived in Balmain at Mertonville (what is now Cashman Reserve, the park between Lawson, Beattie & Elliott Streets).

Roger Kenniff - Was an estate agent who owned the area around Kenniff Street, Rozelle. He was Alderman on the Balmain Council in 1882-86.

George Clubb - Was an estate agent that became Mayor of Balmain in 1909, 1912-13. Clubb Street Rozelle is named after him.

Robert Ford - was a well known agent in the 1860's. He lived in Ewell Street.

George Paul - was Balmain's most successful auctioneer in the early 19th century. He bought the area what is now known as Paul Street, Balmain East in 1836 and built two houses - both which still stand - c.1840 7 Paul Street & c.1843 13 Paul Street. George Paul's auctioneering firm became the most successful in the Colony. In 1828, he and his brother became the proprietors of The Australian newspaper.

An unknown real estate agent also gave the original title of "the Avenue" to The Avenue in Balmain at the first round of land sales in 1885. We have evidence of the kinds of prices that the lots on The Avenue sold for "...prices ranging from 4pounds to 19pounds per foot."

Interesting to see how much 4pounds would buy you now days!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Birchgrove - A suburb that began with a single house.

Well hello again!
I'm sorry I haven't written in a while, I have recently become super agent Cherry Owen's assistant and she's had me rushed off my feet!
We've seen the market in Inner West take off with media reports showing a growth in the area by over 11% in the past year!
While Balmain is now considered to be a new member of the million-dollar suburb club:

Today I want to talk about the suburb of Birchgrove which is buried in the northern end of the peninsular and is now, one of the premier suburbs in Sydney.

The original inhabitants of the Birchgrove area were aboriginals belonging to the Eora gens. The land back then was known as "Yurulbin" or "Swift running waters". In 1796, the area was granted to a Private George Whitfield by Governor Macquarie who built an orange grove on the area. In 1806, the land came under the ownership of Captain Edward Abbott who was a key member of the Rum Rebellion that deposed Governor Bligh. Abbott was later court marsheld for treason and sent back to England but not before he had sold the land to John Birch, a paymaster, of where Birchgrove gets its name.

In 1810, 22 years after the First Fleet landed in Sydney, John Birch built the first house on the Balmain peninsular and named it "Birch Grove." It stood for 157 years until 1967 when it was demolished. At the time of its demolition, it was the second oldest house in Australia. The site of Birchgrove House is where no.67 Louisa Road currently stands. I will speak more about Birchgrove House in the future.

In 1882, the NSW government purchased land to build the Birch Grove Recreation Ground, what is now known as Birchgrove Oval.

A bridge was also proposed to be built from Yurulbin Point to Manns Point in Greenwich. But it was scrapped because the tight road of Louisa Road would have made the thoroughfare impractical.