Top 5 Most Asked Questions About Shop Front Homes

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In March 2015 Compton Green, the largest independent real estate agency in Melbourne’s inner west, sold a 110-year-old shop front Victorian terrace in Footscray for $735,000, a price that far exceeded the marketed value.

With highly valuable and sought after properties such as this it is essential that agents are prepared to answer specific questions that may arise from prospective buyers for these historic and unique shop front homes. 

To get you started we’ve generated a short list of five of the most commonly asked questions you should look into for shop front listings and some valuable advice to pass on to potential buyers.

1. Can I run my business from a shop front home?

Check your zoning with the local council’s building or planning department to clarify which approvals and permits are required to set up and run a business from the home. Specifically, it is important to see if there are any heritage overlays that might restrict what can be done.    

2. Are shop front homes a good investment?

Like any property the location is a very important factor in judging whether a shop front home will be a good investment or not. We recommend doing a bit of research and looking at the results of comparable sales, rental yield, auction clearance rates and even suburb reviews in the same area. 

CEO of The Real Estate Institute Enzo Raimondo suggests, shop front homes “can represent an investment gem — in that buyers with the right skill set can add significant value to properties.”   

3. Are shop front homes difficult to buy?

According to Managing Director of Compton Green and Auctioneer, Adrian Butera, shop front homes are popular in Melbourne’s inner west. “With interest rates at historical lows, buyers are likely to face intense competition at auctions for a shop front home,” Adrian said.    

4. Are there any restrictions to renovating or rebuilding a shop front home?

If you find your shop front home is heritage listed, there are strict guidelines and rules governing what can and can’t be done to the home. Advise buyers to contact the local council if they have their heart set on renovating the home to check what kind of restrictions, if any, are in place. They could also consider hiring an architect or builder who has experience with heritage projects to guide them.

5. What can you tell me about the history of this home?

One of the biggest drawcards of a shop front home is the rich history and the long term connection it has with the surrounding local community. Adrian Butera reports that “the historical value makes them a true treasure and they are a respected part of our streetscapes.”

Buyers love to hear about the background on the shop front itself, so it can be worthwhile to be well versed on the shop front’s past. To add to the charm and allure of a shop front you could talk about the age of the property, the type of businesses that have been run from there over the years and interesting stories about previous owners and residents of the home.

Compton Green recently listed a charm-filled shop front home at 142 Stephen Street, Yarraville, set to go under the hammer on the first of August at 12pm. View the full listing and take a video tour here.

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Larissa Gardner
Larissa Gardner is the Marketing Manager at arguably Australia’s best looking real estate website With a superb devotion to product innovation, user-centred design and innovative marketing platforms for real estate agents, helps millions of Australians find their next home.

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