All good things must come to an end at some point and so it is with the Crikey bunker in East Melbourne which is officially on the market for $415,000.

For sale: East Melbourne apartment in Becton complex with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 3 secured car parks, large front and back patios, city views, close to city and MCG. Gross area 1196 sq feet and net area 1163 sq feet. Largest apartment in complex. Reserve $415,000. Email proud owner Paula at [email protected]

Longer spiel on bunker sale

After almost eight years, the time has come to sell the Crikey bunker in East Melbourne – a home that has seen more media action than most homes with cameo appearances on Four Corners, A Current Affair, The 7.30 Report, Today Tonight, Fox News’s Insight program and a few television news services.

But with debts of about $75,000 to repay on top of the $307,000 mortgage, we just can’t afford to hang on to it any more.

And equally importantly, we are bursting out of the bunker since the birth of Laura Agnus Mayne in August last year and whilst Crikey continues to grow.

And there are some limitations in running a web publication from the bunker because there is no pay television and we can’t get more than two phone lines when I really need about 4 lines and a second work station for Hillary, Hugo, Crullers or anyone else passing through. If Crikey is to go to the next stage, we really need to move on.

So for all these reasons, the “for sale” shingle has been hung and we’ve placed a reserve price of $415,000 on the bunker for a private sale.

Paula distributed a flyer throughout the apartment complex last Thursday and she has had about 8 potential buyers through already.

Paula has owned the bunker since March last year when I transferred it to her as compensation for plundering most of her cash and because I could no longer afford to service the mortgage.

We’re trying to be as honest as possible with buyers in this private sale so here goes.

I committed to pay $339,500 back in September 1993 when buying off the plan, which comprised $313,500 for the apartment, $16,000 for a tandem car park and $10,000 for a single car park.

After valuations initially fell, the last bank valuation was $400,000 in 1999 and prices would appear to have taken off with a two bedroom apartment with one carpark in the complex selling at auction for $409,000 in December. However, this apartment did have a large private garden and the owner hired furniture, painted it and replaced the carpet before selling. The reserve was only $390,000 so this price was arguably one out of the box, but auctions in a tight market can provide this.

Anyway, we invited the agent around and received a valuation of $425,000 provided that we painted, replaced the 7 year old carpet and hired flashy furniture. Afterall, you can’t present the master bedroom as a messy office and a house full of newspapers is not attractive.

Once you include the cost of this, it would have left us with a net figure of $405,500 after taking out commission, advertising costs.

But this process would have required moving out ahead of a sale and the window dressing is not really in keeping with the Crikey philosophy of “disclose, disclose, disclose”.

We didn’t want any spin and advertising guff. This is a great apartment and should sell itself no matter how it is presented, especially to people who already live in the complex and enjoy the location, fittings and body corporate facilities such as two heated lap pools, sauna, spa, Lord Wellington Club and gymnasium.

Instead, we’ve decided to do precisely nothing to the apartment and offer it privately for what we think is the attractive price of $415,000. The new owner can choose their own paint and carpet if they so desire.

The first few people (all happy neighbours) came to inspect the apartment when it was a complete mess but we’ve now gone some way towards tidying it up and Paula is ready to receive you.

The apartment is the largest in our stage of the Becton “Eastside” development in East Melbourne (strictly speaking it’s Jolimont) and features 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 3 secured car spots and large front and back patios.

Being on the ground floor, it is the outdoor space which we’ll really miss and proof of these outdoor spaces is the fact that we have the highest body corporate fees ($3000pa) of anyone in our stage because ours is the largest apartment.

Rates are projected to be $918 this calendar and water bills are typically about $500 bringing total landlord annual outgoings to about $4500.

In the current market, this apartment would rent for $400-$500 a week and with interest rates so low the rental income would probably exceed any interest payments on a mortgage.

The apartment enjoys city views and is literally only 500 metres from the top end of Collins Street.

The only value we’ve added over the years is dimmers in most of the rooms and additional locks on all the outside doors. But at least you can keep the curtains if you wish.

The spacious kitchen is in the centre of the apartment whilst the master bedroom (currently the Crikey office) has an en suite and a doorway leading to the large front patio, which has coped with up to 60 people at some of our parties and barbies over the years.

Every room except the master bedroom has very efficient central heating and there is no need for air conditioning as the car park below keeps the apartment very cool in summer. Noise is no problem as we’re not too close to any train lines and the walls are thick enough.

I’ve lived on Wellington Pde Sth in 3 different homes for almost 10 years and the thing we’ll miss the most is easy access to the MCG, Melbourne Park, the city and the glorious Fitzroy Gardens, which truly are world class.

Paula has placed three advertisements in The Age for January 27 and 30 and Saturday, February 2 and will knuckle down to negotiate a sale after 5pm on Monday, February 4.

She is absolutely committed to selling and will go down the auction route with the agent if we can’t reach the private reserve price of $415,000.

Once we sell, Paula will be looking for a four bedroom one storey home to rent in the inner city for between $350-$550 a week if anyone knows of any such properties on the market.

In the mean time, if you wish to arrange an inspection, please email [email protected] and we’ll give you our numbers and the address.

Do ya best

Stephen Mayne

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