Terrace with no bathroom and ceiling propped up by cabinet sells for $110,000 over reserve

Ray White agent Jack McGhee registers buyers for a rundown Waterloo terrace. Picture: Darren Leigh Roberts

A historic Waterloo terrace listed as “not for the faint hearted” because of the derelict condition sold at auction Saturday for an unexpected $1.01 million.

The two-bedroom house on Morehead St had gone to market with an $850,000 guide and $900,000 reserve but sold for $110,000 over expectations after 15 buyers registered to bid.

Held by the same family for close to 80 years, the terrace built in the 1880s was uninhabitable and required significant work.

Rooms were cordoned off with caution tape and part of the ceiling at the back of the house was propped up by an old cabinet to stop it from collapsing.

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There were no indoor bathrooms and the only toilet was a small outhouse in the garden that was roughly the size of a portaloo. One of its “walls” was the perimeter fencing.

A nearby informal structure of corrugated iron had been used as the shower facilities. Also in the garden was an exposed bathtub filled with grass and other debris.

Falling apart house auction

There were about 60 people at the auction spread on both sides of the street.

There was a bathtub in the yard.

Selling agent Jack McGhee of Ray White-Surry Hills said all the interested parties at auction were builders.

He estimated the property would require between $250,000 and $500,000 in works to restore it and said it was the most rundown property he had ever sold.

“It was a good price considering the condition,” Mr McGhee said. “The market is pretty patchy at the moment. Some homes are selling well, some are struggling. Most buyers are prepared to wait until the right property comes along but this property was rare.

Falling apart house auction

Auctioneer James Keenan dropped the hammer $110,000 over reserve.

“There are not many opportunities to buy properties like this, not many are left, so there was a lot of interest.”

The property was understood to have once been housing commission before it was bought by the MacDonald family and held for decades.

Sue MacDonald lived in the property as a child and was one of the relatives of the deceased owner. She said she would be interested to see what the new architect owners did with the home.

“I was pretty melancholy about selling at one point but we had to,” Ms MacDonald said, adding her relative’s will stipulated the property had to be sold.

Falling apart house auction

The rear yard outhouse was the only toilet.

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“It was a good time to sell. We were concerned about squatters because it was vacant … and I thought it was better to sell while all the stimulus packages were still there.”

Considerable work was done to the property to clear it out and make it presentable for buyers, with the items inside the house filling up five skips, Ms MacDonald added.

The terrace was one of more than 600 properties to go under the hammer across Sydney this week – a mild increase on the number of auctions held last week.

Falling apart house auction

Sue MacDonald grew up in the home. Picture: Darren Leigh Roberts

Auctioneer James Keenan received an opening bid of $780,000 and six of the registered bidders submitted offers. The bids went up in a mix of $10,000, $20,000 and $50,000 increments.

Earlier in the day, an inner west house used as an alleged drug lab before it went up in flames four years ago sold at auction for nearly $500,000 over reserve.

The fire-damaged house on The Parade in Enfield had no roof and went under the hammer with a $920,000 reserve but sold in front of a crowd of about 70 people for $1.38 million.

Falling apart house auction

The roof in a back room was held up by an old cabinet.

It was reported the two-level home had previously been used to grow marijuana but it was not known how the fire was started.

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