• Doug Archer

The Upside of the 'Ugly Duckling'

Updated: Jun 27


A property’s ‘Street appeal’ is one of the boxes we like to tick as we search for the ideal family home or the perfect investment property. Federation bungalows, Victorian terraces and Art-Deco apartment buildings are fantastic to look at and they’re quintessentially Sydney. Admittedly it is often down the list from Price, Location and number of bedrooms but still, aesthetics is an important point to note. However, it can also be one to take with a grain of salt.


The ugly duckling can have upsides!


Just around the corner from my home there are two blocks of flats on opposite sides of the road. One is a three storey converted Victorian school with pointed brickwork, decorative plaster, double-hung timber windows, French doors leading to ornate timber verandahs plus a sandstone wall at the front. Directly opposite it is a 1970’s blond brick, three storey block with sliding aluminium windows and absolutely nothing decorative about it.


For forty years they have sat across from each other looking for all the world like Felix Unger & Oscar Maddison from The Odd Couple. The chic swan and her ugly offspring.


BUT… before you dismiss the 1970’s building consider this. For forty years the residents of the Victorian beauty have sat on the couch and looked out their French doors, through the trees at .. textured blond bricks! Meanwhile across the street, the vista has been somewhat different. Those residents look through their aluminium windows at a beautifully kept façade painted in heritage colours behind an ornate wall and a manicured garden. And best of all, their strata levies don’t pay for it.


Don’t get me wrong. I love the converted Victorian building. It is beautiful and it also comes with 11’ ceilings, timber floorboards and oozes character. I would steer a client towards it in a heart-beat if it met their criteria. But I would also cast my eye towards Blondie if my client could see potential in renovating the 1970’s duckling into a sleek pad (with a great outlook).


There's always value in great property. Find it. Buy it. Love it!



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