Labour of love pays off for brothers' Ascot Vale renovation project

Five years ago, the Staunton brothers bought a rundown deceased estate in Ascot Vale for $675,000.

On Saturday, their entire family were stunned when the four-bedroom Victorian sold for $1.7 million at auction, $300,000 above their reserve price.

It was one of 1055 scheduled auctions across Melbourne. By Saturday evening, Domain Group had recorded a clearance rate of 74 per cent from 747 reported results.

The Ascot Vale house had been a labour of love for brothers John and Andy, and Andy's wife Cathie. They spent six months renovating in early 2013, gutting the inside of the house.

"It was our first reno," Cathie said. "Now [Andy] is a registered builder."

Before renovations: 29 Queens Avenue, Ascot ValeBefore the renovation: It sold for $675,000. Photo: Nelson Alexander
Sold: 29 Queens Avenue, Ascot Vale

After the renovations: It sold for $1.7 millionPhoto: Nelson Alexander

The trio all chipped in to buy 29 Queens Avenue because they adored the street and could see the old house had potential.

"We maintained the structure but we had to rip out all floorboards because half of them were missing," Andy said. "We completely stripped out all the plaster and we re-roofed it. So the existing frame is still there but that's about it."

Before renovations: 29 Queens Avenue, Ascot ValeBefore the renovationPhoto: Nelson Alexander
Sold: 29 Queens Avenue, Ascot ValeAfter the renovationPhoto: Nelson Alexander

The transformation didn't come without significant hurdles. They discovered asbestos had been buried in the backyard before it was concreted over and covered with a shed.

The Stauntons were selling to "free up opportunities for new adventures", Cathie said. But going to auction had been a nerve-racking experience.

"It felt like grand final morning when your team's in the grand final, not knowing how the day will turn out," John said.

Bidding began at $1.2 million and quickly climbed in $50,000 jumps, soaring past the $1.4 million reserve.

Five bidders, a mix of upsizers and downsizers, vied for the keys in front of a crowd of more than 50 people gathered on the tree-lined street, which runs alongside the railway line.

Sold: 29 Queens Avenue, Ascot ValeAsbestos was removed from the backyard. Photo: Nelson Alexander

A young family who live close by knocked out the competition with a final bid of $1.7 million.

Listing agent and auctioneer Ryan Currie, of Nelson Alexander, said the result was unexpected.

"We knew it would be a competitive auction," he said. "But I'm definitely very surprised with the result and it just shows the strength of the market, particularly at that top end."

The result was well above Ascot Vale's median house price of $1,102,500.

Meanwhile, a three-bedroom house in Balwyn North passed in at auction but went on to sell for $1.53 million.

Several prospective buyers were silent as RT Edgar auctioneer Glen Coutinho called for bids on 438 Balwyn Road.

The Balwyn North house sold after auction for $1.53 million.The Balwyn North house sold for $1.53 million. Photo: RT Edgar

It passed in without a single bid, but two offers were made immediately after the auction.

Mr Coutinho said it sold to a local family who bought it as an investment property.

Passed in: 31 Redan Street, St KildaPassed in: 31 Redan Street, St Kilda Photo: Hocking Stuart

In St Kilda, a mansion built circa 1915 also passed in without a single bid.

The opulent six-bedroom, three-bathroom house at 31 Redan Street had a price guide of $4.2 million to $4.5 million.

This story Labour of love pays off for brothers' Ascot Vale renovation project first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.