Home Real Estate Everything you need to know about buying a Queenslander

Everything you need to know about buying a Queenslander

These timeless houses require a 'delicate balance'.

Elyse Popplewell

Editorial Assistant, Your Money

The Queenslander is one of the most iconic properties on the Australian architectural landscape.

Built in a pre-war period to combat high temperatures, flooding and pest infestations, you’ll recognise a Queenslander by the stilts or stumps it sits on, its large verandah, timber frames and an abundance of windows.

No longer only found in the country’s north, the Queenslander is a quintessential example of unqiuely Australian design.

It is easy to be swept up into the hug of a wrap-around balcony and to adore iconic double gables – but beauty is only skin deep and your pocket might only be so shallow.

Zoran Solano from Hot Property Buyers told Auction Day everything you need to know about investing in this type of property.

Reasons to buy:

1. History

“As humans we love to be a part of a story, and owning a Queenlander is just that, it’s stepping into a piece of history,” Zoran Solano said.

In increasingly urbanised and modern cities and suburbs, these old houses are a welcome hint of a time gone by.

2. Saleability

Solano says that the Queenslanders that “ooze beauty” would trump other property styles in areas where they contribute to a grandiose suburb appeal.

“There will be an area that is full of these Queenslander style properties, and if you’re looking to buy…you’re kind of shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t buy a Queenslander.”

3. Easy to add value to

A “delicate balance” between preserving the history and modernising the apartment can add great value to the property.

The ceilings are often eight or nine ft high, giving you ample space to play.

“The reason I love these properties is because they can be renovated so easily,” he said.

4. Timeless

“The classic look is just timeless, its very difficult to date,” said Solano.

The wrap-around balcony and high ceilings just don’t age.

5. Climate friendly

The raised design and plentiful windows cool the home naturally, which could save you a pretty penny on electricity.

“Breezeways underneath in our subtropical climate really help to keep the property cool. The higher ceiling heights in these homes was definitely a practical application to make sure that hot air got right to the top of the ceilings,” Solano says.

“There is a bit of Aussie ingenuity in the design of these homes.”

What to watch out for:

Buying an old home, especially one made of timber, can be a labour of love.

Wear and tear comes with the territory when buying a slice of history.

1. Poor maintenance

“When you’re on the hunt for a Queenslander, an old home, pre-war home, you need to make sure the previous owner has undertaken routine maintenance throughout their ownership of the property,” Solano advises.

Look to the condition of the timber stumps and walls especially.

“That is critical. That could save you thousands of dollars in your term of ownership.”

2. Structural defects

Solano says that because so many original Queenslanders are approaching their own centenaries, the timber stumps are starting to hollow thanks to weathering and possibly even termites.

In a bid to create more rooms, it is not uncommon to see sections of the verandah filled in to form bedrooms.

Renovating the verandah to be a room could be illegal, create very low ceilings, or block the natural light from the centre of the house, warns Solano.

3. Insensitive renovations

Renovations that are period-conscious can add value to the property by maintaining the classic feel with a modern update.

However, renovations that defy the classic style “may be an error that could affect the ultimate sale price.”

“Another thing you need to look at when you’re renovating these old Queenslanders, is working with these old character things like balconies.”

Local councils are proving to be very rigid in their protections of the pre-war Queenslanders.

The Brisbane City Council website says, “houses built in or before 1946 are to be retained and any extensions or alterations are to complement the traditional building style.”

Watch the full interview above. 

Read more:  Why regional property markets are booming
More: How to get value out of a distressed property
More: How to renovate an entire house for $15,000

Get more news, analysis and insights straight to your inbox!

By clicking subscribe, you accept our privacy policy.