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A Heritage house on 1,838 sqm block and close to the Orange CBD sold for $810,000. Is there a catch?

August 2, 2023

Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

By Peter Holmes

Builders - with company names sewn into apparel - were spotted in the backyard of 94 Woodward Street around noon Wednesday ahead of the Orange City Council-owned property going to auction.

In some ways this was an unusual sale requiring a builder’s eye.

The old house at the front of the 1,838-square-metre block is ripe for a sympathetic period renovation, but with all the usual mod cons added to make life bearable for the 21st century buyer.

There are pressed metal ceilings, original floorboards, ancient iron fireplaces and a stained glass front door- all popular items for many buyers.

Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

But there is also a lot of money to be spent. And that’s on the flaws you can see - flooring, painting, wooden slats along one of the extensions, kitchen, bathrooms - let alone the potential for flaws that may lurk within the wall cavities, roofing and underneath the house.

The builders would know better than most just how much money that might be.

There were other elements for potential buyers to consider.

As a Heritage property any development on the site would need to ensure that the view from the street of the main house was not compromised.

Also, the 1838-square-metre block is on a busy roundabout where trucks regularly brake on approach. A quiet Pimms and lemonade on the front porch after a busy day may not be possible.

Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

Emus rugby club - with its car park and two playing fields - is right on your back doorstep.

As is a children’s playground. For some this will be heaven, and for some it will not.

The land was carved off from a larger council block of some 4,000 square metres. A very large shed skirts the back boundary.

Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

There is talk of using the remaining land for affordable housing, but no decisions about its future have been made.

The positioning of the house on the block and the stand of pine trees along the boundary shared with Emus may make subdivision and further development a challenge.

Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

The auction attracted a handful of registered bidders, council staff, the lawyer who drew the contract, staff from selling agent Belle, media and a few nosey parkers, including staff from another real estate agent.

Only two bidders - a youngish couple and a person participating by phone - became involved in the 10-minute auction.

It was the usual theatre of the suburban sale - an invitation by the auctioneer to open the bidding, followed by silence, followed by urging, more silence, consultation, a bid, more urging, banter, more silence, another bid.

The opening bid was $750,000.

The price slowly crept up and at $800,000 the property was on the market.

At $810,000 it stalled, too rich for the couple.

The three-count over, the phone bidder had bought themselves a property with challenges, but one brimming with potential.

Settlement is not until July 2024.

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