The Eye of the Fish

June 24, 2013

Unreal estate

Do Estate agents live on the same planet as us? Have a look at this:

Immaculate Investment Tidy Price
This is an extremely well presented investment or home for the discerning purchaser, offering two double bedrooms and a location that will see you conveniently placed for all necessities. Close to transport, shopping and the city, practical and spacious living, and a motivated vendor with a deadline to meet. Call me now to view or see you at the open home. CV $290,000.

TENDERS CLOSE: Wednesday, 19 June 2013 at 3.00pm, Harcourts Wellington City Office (Unless sold prior)
Rooms: 2 Bedroom(s) 1 Bathroom(s)
Area: 72 m2 Floor
Internal Features: Other Chattels
Lot Features: Unit Tenure
Style: Executive

At a price just under $300k, this ends up being one of the cheapest places in Wellington (Newtown). There’s nothing wrong with that – in fact, we need cheap, affordable housing.

But it is that last line that fair makes my blood boil. “Style: Executive”

Don’t have me on! This is no more an Executive style, or a house for an executive, and indeed has absolutely no style at all – this is perhaps the most appalling piece of crap shoebox design that I have ever seen in Wellington, possibly even in the entire world. Even a chimpanzee with a crayon in each hand could come up with a better solution than that. The outside is just awful. The inside is soulless to the extreme.

By Executive do they mean stripped down to the basics? Is that minimalistic design actually carefully sensitive juxtaposition of two contrasting cladding systems as a sensitive critique on the past two decades of architectural commentary, or is it just the cheapest and crappiest box that the developer thought they could get away with?

Is the lack of eaves a daring commentary on the cult of the E2 Risk Matrix and the rise of the leaky building syndrome, or have they just built it up to the boundary and sawn it off with a blunt instrument?

Is that kitchen a masterpiece of efficient planning, or just the cheapest set of beige cupboards slung into a corner? Is the view out the window, straight onto the side of the neighbour’s building really the view of an Executive? Could that bathroom planning be any more devinely apportioned and proportioned?

I think not. Sharpen your act up Estate Agents.

25 - 06 - 13

This is absolute garbage design. Why do we have planners in the council who fiddle with the design of some buildings and totally ignore these bits of urban blight? The only good thing about it is that it makes a great graffiti canvas.

And they say Christchurch architecture is dull.

25 - 06 - 13

Don’t blame the poor agents, they were just doing their job (smearing as much lipstick on the pig as it can handle). This building, and its ilk, are of course disgraceful, and the architects, developers, purchasers and Council officials involved in its construction should front up to the stocks for a good dose of rotten cabbage. And I expect that little built in the “Adelaide Road growth spine” will be any better than this.

25 - 06 - 13

What do you suppose the Resene colour name for the exterior might be? I’m thinking “Oxidation Pond”.

25 - 06 - 13

Real estate agents and the english language often seem to be at odds. Reminds me of these pair of signs we spotted in Island Bay a few years back. Exclusive!

25 - 06 - 13

“these pair”? “this pair”?

the mangling of the language would appear to be rubbing off.

25 - 06 - 13

On the plus side there aren’t too many bathrooms I’ve seen that you can have a crap, a shower and a shave all at the same time.

60 MPa
26 - 06 - 13

Or crap yourself and throw up at the same time, which may be site-appropriate.

Max, keeping in mind that RE agents are the sort of people who would call a jail cell “compact, secure living” and are regularly relegated to the bottom of the public trust index by profession, what exactly did you expect?

Oxidation Pond sounds perfect

26 - 06 - 13

Kind of agree with the lipstick on the pig – I’d be interested to hear how you’d market this Maximus… go on, have a go! Remember, you have to make someone want to buy it.

Here’s a tip: it’s in the right place for housing junior doctors who only need a residence in order to sleep and shower.

27 - 06 - 13

Sarah – its a challenge, right? To speak the truth, as well as sell the building? So how about:

“For Sale, one pig-ugly, formless, classless, square little box with very few redeeming features. It does have one great thing going for it however: it’s close to the hospital, so you can crash there instead of butchering your patients the next day due to a long drive home. We can’t promise that you’ll enjoy the vomit coloured joinery, but then again, you’ll only see the walls by night so it really won’t matter that much.
The kitchen features a display of cupboards – of all sizes and shapes – so you’ll be able to find a special cupboard for that special speculum. The bathroom comes with a special feature giant plug hole set into the floor, so when you’re straining at your morning crap, you will have a ring of steel to focus on. There is also a toilet roll holder as an added bonus.
The outside is designed in a minimalist palette, by the pencil of a designer uniquely free from the ravages of intelligence, who promises that he looked at a book on E2 once, but wasn’t allowed to colour in the pictures. But hey – it’s a roof over your head, and as a medical intern you’ll be no doubt devoid of any shred of good taste, and so you’ll snap it up at a mind-bogglingly huge price and tell your long-suffering parents that it was a bargain. Within 5 years you’ll sell it and move on to a Victorian villa in Kelburn anyway, so shut your eyes, bend over, and kiss your arse goodbye, because class like this doesn’t come along and knock on your portal every day! Buy me now for half a million!”

27 - 06 - 13

C’mon Maximus, you’re hardly trying! How about this:

Open tender – Your chance to gain a foothold on the property investment ladder!
Join the legions of investors who are ruthlessly exploiting their fellow Kiwis by snapping up this over-priced shoebox in an undesirable location. Start by living there with your similarly grasping de facto partner, so you can experience the joys of ceaseless traffic noise while taking the edge of the “just new” decor by breathing in the formaldehyde from the substandard MDF joinery and watching the vinyl floor de-laminate.

Within 12 months you’ll be ready to move up to – well, just about anywhere – whilst cynically renting your highly desirable first investment to one of your less-fortunate peers. You can experience the rewards of ownership that will come from chasing them for rent arrears, setting usurious weekly rental rates and arguing with your co-owners about the benefits of deferring essential maintenance.

Our team of crack property managers have estimated that this desirable property will produce a handsome 7% return (after allowing for a large payout from the Leaky Homes Resolution Service and deferring all maintenance for the next 120 years).

Financing is available by touching up your parents for the deposit, cashing in your meagre Kiwisaver funds and a hefty mortgage from your “local” Australian-owned bank. And if you complete your financing through our real estate agency’s in-house mortgage broker by the end of the month – before he’s indicted on his role in the St Laurence finance company collapse by the Serious Fraud Office – you’ll get a free copy of the bestselling how-to book, “Achieving Mediocre Middle Class Wealth Through Crap Property”, as we happen to have lots of spare copies lying around now that we’re not allowed to continue selling “investments” on behalf of Blue Chip.

So don’t delay! Our motivated vendor has also promised a free Act Party membership for the successful tenderer (valid for 12 months or whenever John Banks goes to jail for electoral fraud, whichever comes first). Step up on the property ladder today!

27 - 06 - 13

I sold an early 2000’s auckland terraced house once. The real estate agent advertised it as Art Deco!! It was nothing of the sort.

Regardless it sold in 2 weeks, when its that easy to sell real estate theres no need for the agents to sharpen up.

27 - 06 - 13

Oooh and I just remembered looking at a house in Crofton Downs that was advertised as having electical storm protection, when in fact it had the national grid power lines from Makara slung over the front deck!

60 MPa
27 - 06 - 13

Clarke, that was beautiful.

28 - 06 - 13

Nice to have some humour on a Friday morning!

The only ladder this property would be on would be one of those dodgy imported folding ones that’s recently been subjected to a widespread recall for being unsafe and likely to collapse, trapping you in its mangled ruins.

28 - 06 - 13

So, Sarah, whose fault is it that a building as crap as this gets to the stage of being built? I’m presuming there are no architects – if there are, they should be publicly humiliated, stripped of their credentials (and possibly all their clothes as well), and made to do penance by volunteering to help Christchurch Council process their backlog of consents.
I’m presuming though, that someone, some vaguely human life-form with a basic cad package, put together a Resource Consent application, and somehow, bizarrely, the Council consents team did not just burst out laughing and then say “Fuck off”, but instead processed the application and awarded it a Consent. How did that happen? What about the Multi-unit design guide? What about the Newtown character area? Jesus H Christ, I mean the Council give me a hard enough time each time I bring In a meticulously worked out package for Consent application, but each time some new boy at the Council consent desk draws up a list of ten points of obscurity and says consent denied. Just how the hell does this thing get through?

28 - 06 - 13

Ahhh, tricky. All depends when it was built and what controls were in place at the time. It’s also in a suburban centre zone, not residential, on a rear site and looks like it’s outside the Newtown character area. There might have been very little design improvement able to be requested. Sad but true.

Also, for every person who thinks that the council should exert more design control, there are ten who think it should exert less. Tricky sometimes, for councils to get the balance right and keep everyone happy. Not that anyone should condone this sort of result though.

Kent Duston
29 - 06 - 13

Sarah – The fact of the matter is that responsibility for this sort of ugly excrescence lies very firmly at the door of the WCC planners; after all, they’re the ones who created the District Plan in the first place. It’s not some Act of God that causes this nasty little box to be located outside an area of effective planning control, it’s the byproduct of the planners deciding that such an area should exist in the first place. If the planners had been doing their jobs properly, there wouldn’t be these planning “dead zones” in the city at all.

Exhibit A is the weed-infested wasteland that may one day be a badly-located supermarket on the south western corner of the Basin Reserve. When the buildings were demolished with no consent required, it seemed to take the planners completely by surprise – yet they were the ones who had allowed the designation to stand through multiple revisions of the District Plan over some decades. It’s clearly their responsibility to prevent exactly this sort of debacle, yet they proved themselves utterly inept when it came to thinking through the consequences of their zoning decisions.

And the problem is made worse by the fact that – in my direct experience – the WCC planners are ineffectual and spineless. Exhibit B is the complete failure of the pre-1930s demolition rule in my neighbourhood, where the planners have granted exactly 100% of the demolitions that have been sought since the rule was introduced, with the same 100% of them not requiring public notification. There’s simply no point in having a demolition rule if every single one of the planners will simply roll over on command.

So it may well be that the horrible building in Newtown that Max is lamenting was, in fact, signed off by the planners. Exhibit C is also in my neighbourhood – the planners obligingly gave non-notified resource consent to an industrial-scale brothel in a residential street, and it took a richly-deserved resident initiated kicking from the High Court to have them reverse the decision. Show me a bad planning decision in this city, and I’ll show you the signature of the idiot planner who signed it off.

Planners are the problem, not the solution.

30 - 06 - 13

Wow, Richard, you really don’t mince your words either when it comes to the discussion of Kent Duston, do you!

I’m not as polarized as either of you – I tend to agree with the thrust of Kent’s comments, in that I think it is an incredibly stupid decision to allow a major supermarket to have entry/exit off Basin Reserve, which is currently the most clogged intersection in Wellington – so clogged, that NZTA have decided to spend $100 million on a bridge just to get over it. Somehow, I think that WCC missed the ball there, and should have told the supermarket guys to go get another site. I know, I know, they bought the land in good faith – but if it’s not suitable, then it’s just not suitable. Case in point – the Countdown at John St – and awful traffic solution there. I’m sure we’ll just need to wait a bit, till someone dies, before they do something about that. But, in the end, it works, sort of ( except for Laura’s missing carparks), and so I guess that, in the end, so will the Basin Reserve. I’ll tell you the thing that really pisses me off about the Basin Reserve supermarket demolition – the wanton destruction of the YMCA pool that the local community happily used. Bad form, really bad form, to allow that to be demolished. So they’ve left the facade – whoop-dee-doo – it’s the pool that we miss.

But on the other hand I had no idea that Mr Duston has been a thorn in the planners sides for so long. Clearly he may have been abused by a planner when he was young, as he seems to have developed a severe case of antiplanneritis, a condition which can be fatal if not addressed early. I’m not a great fan of planners – they try hard, the poor darlings, but actually, nothing ever goes to plan really in this world, and so they are always having to change and adapt whatever plans they make.

I, on the other hand, reserve a special place on the seventh circle of hell for a particular sub-breed of planners, namely: Plannus Trafficus, otherwise known as the lesser spotted, traffic planner. It’s not known how they breed, this species, as heaven forbid that they ever find a mate, but they have (so it seems), a logic that evades the bonds of earthlings, and a power beyond that of planet Krypton. Fortunately with the global financial stagnation we appear to be in, they may have all flown north to Auckland. Tally ho!

And Richard, please tell your fellow council staff that we don’t hold offense here at the Fish, and would be only too happy for your traffic planners to leap to their defence, under pseudonym or not. Professionalism and politeness be damned – id love to hear from them.

1 - 07 - 13

The other possibility is that it’s an ultra-cheap office/industrial conversion.

2 - 07 - 13

Deep red – possible, but it seems unlikely. It all comes down to the dollars. This apartment is selling for around $4027/m2 which seems a lot for a conversion.