March 18, 2024, 11:38 a.m.

The secret to selling $50 million worth of property in just one day

An incredible four-storey property, that the owners spent three years fighting in the Land and Environment Court to build in Greenhills Beach, has sold for about $16 million.

The sale of Acqua Noir, at 66 Shorebird Parade, is one of five high-end property sales, comprising more than $50 million in deals, for Highland Property Group.

All of the properties were sold in just 24 hours on March 12.

Group General Manager John Schwarzer sold two of the properties, including Acqua Noir, which he said sold for a suburb record at “Circa $16 million”.

“To achieve a suburb record in Greenhills Beach, an astonishing $6 million above the last record, which was also set by my team in 2021, has really driven home that our buyers within this price range are active and open to a change into the South Sydney region,” he said.

A unique backstory

Mr Schwarzer said the back story behind Acqua Noir was particularly unique, with the owners fighting a drawn out battle with the local council to build the five-bedroom, seven-bathroom mansion, which spans almost 1000sq m.

“The owner bought the block back in 2015 and they spent two years designing the house and in council trying to get the plans approved,” he said.

“When they couldn’t get what they wanted approved, they then went to land environment court and spent three years in land environment court, which ended up changing the complete council code and guidelines for the entire area. 

“What they got that was unique was they were able to build three stories on the ocean side, which the council, in their original planning, would not allow. 

“They also fought council and got a huge rooftop terrace approved, which no one else was able to, and almost the entire footprint of the house underground in a basement.

“So it’s a four-storey house. There’s literally 450 sq m of basement under the house, which includes a seven car garage, a wine tasting room and bar, a cellar, a gym and cinema.”

An array of high-end features

Mr Schwarzer said the vendors had crafted a remarkable home with a great level of luxury, care and detail, including creating a double-storey void in the formal space at the front of the home, encased with 6m high operable sliding doors.

“They couldn’t find anyone who could manufacture them in Australia, so they had them manufactured in Italy and then shipped over the glass separate from the window frames,” he said.

“They were put together on site, then craned into place, but you can literally stack the doors open and they’re 6m high.” 

Other features of the home include a Bruno Perla chef’s kitchen and butler’s kitchen, a luxury library, a Gold Class standard 4K cinema for 12 people, a leather-bound lift, a KNX Smart Home control and a wrap-around resort pool. 

A bespoke marketing plan

Mr Schwarzer said the marketing plan and sales strategy for the home was carefully planned.

He said there were four buyers competing for the property, including three above $15 million, with the eventual buyer currently living on the water at Cronulla.

More than 250 inquiries on the property were narrowed down to just over 30 private inspections, with four of those going on to negotiate for the property over about six weeks.

Mr Schwarzer said he did six walk-throughs of the property with the owners to learn about the build, the design, the materials used and how the entire home came together.

“The owner and I did five or six walkthroughs while I learned about the property, and that was down to where the tiles came from, who manufactured the doors, what type of glass was in them, where it came from, all the stone and the marble. 

“There were huge slabs of different marble throughout the home. 

“Again, what was involved in being able to span the concrete slabs to create spaces that were 15m wide that had no pillars in them.

“I had to learn about building to understand how the owner had actually built and constructed the home to be able to feel like it was effortless.”

Mr Schwarzer said no open homes were held at the property and each of the private inspections took at least one hour. 

But before a private inspection, his team researched and verified each of the potential buyers.

“Doing due diligence on the buyers is important, because I could waste an hour of my time taking someone through who just wants a sticky beak,” he said.

“Secondly, with a home of this scale… If I let 100 people in the house at one time, as an open for inspection, two things happen; one, I’ve got no control over the buyers, so they don’t understand what has been invested in terms of time, design and finishes. 

“Two, everyone’s running around commenting on what they like and don’t like and talking to everybody else. 

“So for me, it was about meeting the buyer, knowing who I’m actually meeting, physically taking the time to walk them through and take them on the journey through the home.”

Letting the home tell its story

Mr Schwarzer said he even planned which areas of the home he would show them and in what order, so every feature flowed and the home told its story. 

“We started at the entry, walked through the lower level, went up to the main living level, and the bedrooms, go up to the master and the rooftop terrace, then get in the lift and go down to the basement level to the cinema and the wine cellar,” he said.

When it came time to negotiate with the four serious buyers, Mr Schwarzer said there was little to compare the home to given the next closest sale was $10 million.

So he focused on explaining how much it would cost to replace the home, the square metre rates, and compared the property to high-end apartments in Cronulla that sold for between $13 million and $15 million, to show the value in this home.

From modern to historic

On the same day, Mr Schwarzer also sold 4 Dunkeld Close, Burraneer, a heritage-listed estate, for just under $10 million.

“That was a 2500sq m, deep waterfront estate right on Gunnamatta Bay, which is the premium waterfront area in the Port Hacking,” he said. 

“The home was originally built around 1920… It was listed on the heritage order back in the 1970s, and the heritage order was both internal, external, and even on the gardens and pathways.”

Mr Schwarzer said that meant the property could not be knocked down, only restored.

“That made it very complex to find a buyer who was prepared to live in that house and restore it to its original glory, but not renovate or knock down,” he said.

“So the way I sold that one was to actually research other heritage homes from the eastern suburbs and, given we’ve got the office in Double Bay, I used my connection there with the Maloufs to go and find other similar properties that people had done heritage renovations on and use those as examples for the buyers of what they could really turn the property into.” 

The eventual buyer, a local family with four children, has a background in heritage building and has renovated historic homes before.

The high-end market is performing well

Highland Double Bay Malouf Director, David Malouf, was also successful with the sale of another historically significant property at 5 Simmons Street, Balmain East, on March 12.

Constructed c1895, ‘Brookfield’ has held its prestigious waterfront position for over 100 years, witnessing the construction of one of Sydney’s most famous landmarks; the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

“The home is in incredible condition and can be enjoyed as is or be updated depending on what the buyer wishes,” Mr Malouf said.

“This campaign went exactly according to the plan I presented to the vendor. 

“We set our goals and marketed the property aggressively to produce a circa $15 million outcome for our client and I could not be happier with this result.”

Mr Malouf said the upper end of the market had been vibrant and performing well. 

“To start off this year, I have noticed renewed energy with the enquiries I’ve been receiving and at our open homes,” he said.

“The prestige market is performing solidly and we are seeing demand and supply even out with some incredible homes on the market in the $10 million-plus price range. 

“That makes me really excited to see what we can do in the next few months.”

Mitchell Wynn also recorded two significant sales for a  combined $14 million, including 20 Moombara Crescent, Port Hacking.

“You see all of these large sales within the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney and think that is where the big spenders are but there are plenty of high-profile clients looking to spend $5 million – $10 million right here in The Shire,” Mr Wynn said.

“The increase of house prices is growing exponentially, one of my clients purchased their home for just over $3 million last year but has now been able to double that return.”


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