The headlines might be focused on tough housing market conditions, but Brisbane agent Henry Wong is reporting fresh success after pivoting to adapt to the changed auction landscape of COVID-19.
Mr Wong, of Harcourts Beyond on Brisbane’s southside, was among the agents who were quick to respond to the altered selling conditions of social distancing, utilising online auctions and good old-fashioned legwork to clock up a clearance rate well above the national average.
Harcourts Queensland chief auctioneer Christian Hamilton, who conducts on average 40 to 60 auctions per month, noted Mr Wong currently has an 85.7 per cent clearance rate with the highest average number of registered bidders in the Harcourts Queensland network.
“The Henry Wong Team are huge believers in the auction process and deliver some of the best results in the market,” Mr Hamilton said.
“They achieve these results by building strong relationships with buyers and through their innovative marketing strategies which allow them to create strong competition on the day.”
Mr Wong said there was no secret to his recent success, explaining it came down to a commitment to provide the best results for vendors through deep relationships with both active and passive buyers.
“I’m a firm believer in building trust with all parties involved, including buyers, sellers and everyone that is influential in helping them make a decision,” he said.
“Importantly, that trust is established long in advance of any purchase or sale during the times when they don’t need me and there’s no money being transacted at all.”
Explaining this further, Mr Wong said he works hard to provide his network with informative content, ranging from video to blogs and newsletters that educate them about the real estate market.
He also maintains a vast database of contacts, including interstate, out of area and overseas buyers, but tailors content to their personal needs.
“This is integral to helping my clients, the sellers, connect with potential buyers that have never considered the area at all, which means a large portion of these buyers are out of reach of local agents,” he said.
“I only alert a prospective buyer to a property that I know suits their budget and needs, and guide them through the process when the time is right to act.”
Meanwhile, he’s a major proponent of personal communication.
“Immediately after the open home, I will call my client, the seller, to let them know how it went. I call every attendee the same day to gauge their thoughts on the property and better understand what they’re looking for.
“I also call every bidder after an auction, thanking them for taking the time to attend, and listening to their needs so I can be of better assistance in the future.
“It’s all about building relationships with the cornerstone of trust, because without trust nothing can happen.”
Mr Wong’s results speak for themselves. Recently, when COVID-19 saw in-person auctions thrown into chaos nationally, Mr Wong presided over an online auction for a property at Wishart that attracted 16 active bidders and achieved well over reserve.
The auction was conducted over Zoom and the first bidder was rewarded with a bottle of Moet champagne.
“The great thing about the auction process is that it offers full transparency to both the buyer and vendor,” Mr Wong said.
“At a time when many buyers think prices are coming down, it’s a great way of giving them a clear insight into the true value of a property and what others are prepared to pay. You simply can’t achieve that level of transparency with a private treaty sale.”
Mr Wong also noted COVID-19 had prompted his first foray into the online auction realm and he had been thrilled with the results.
“Some of our elderly buyers far prefer the online auction process, as they don’t need to worry about social distancing,” he said.
But it’s the trust factor and the education he offers that Mr Wong believes plays the most important role in garnering bidder attendance.
“We’ve had people register to bid on properties who haven’t physically inspected the property,” he said.
“They’re doing that based on the deep relationship and trust that has been established far in advance of any property transaction.”