National Auction Round Table Part 6: Auction Day

In Part Six of our 2018 National Auction Round Table video series, we look at handling the pressures of auction day, and how to communicate with buyers and vendors on the day. With thanks to Agent Advantage.

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Steve Carroll: So I’m selling my house, this Saturday, it’s going to auction. What’s your advice to me as the seller? Should I go shopping that day? Should I be in the back garden? What happens?
Gavin Croft: As an auctioneer, I certainly want the vendor there. Again it’s an enormous decision. I want them to actually really feel and see what’s going on. Because for me it doesn’t matter whether you sell or not, this is about making a really smart decision, a really intelligent decision. And the only way you can do that is if you can actually watch buyer behaviour. How they’re unfolding. How many buyers are there? Have they all engaged? Have you seen the market play out in front of you? 
Because, again, part of the auction day is for the vendor to see the market. ‘Cause I don’t have the visual element, which is the power in the day to the seller is to say “yes” or “no” based on them actually seeing the market. Instead of being behind the computer screen reading an email, it’s there and it’s real. And that can actually help you make really good decisions. 
So, for me it’s making sure you’re there. Making sure that you’re in a space where, I actually like them where, a lot of people try and some agents or auctioneers like them to go at the back. I want you to see ’em.

Steve Carroll: Anybody got a different view to that?

Gavin Croft: There’ll be times when we need some privacy, or we need to talk. We’ll move away. But I want you to feel it. I want you to see the buyers.

Matthew Scafidi: I had a vendor in Thailand two weeks ago, and he was away and his wife was there, and I said that we’re gonna livestream it for you. So you just need to go on the Facebook page and you’ll actually see what is going on. And the funny thing was, we passed in, we negotiated, and he was in Thailand, she was on the phone to him. And she’s going, “No, I don’t think we should sell.” And he said, “I just saw what happened. We need to sell. We had 3 bidders and they got another $19,000 after auction. In this market we need to sell it.” And he’s watching it from Thailand, and she’s right there.

Will Hampson: Three things I say to a vendor, to every vendor, before any auction I’ll conduct and that is… firstly, if we get close to the price you’ll have a decision to make, so they understand that upfront and so it sets the agent up for having that conversation if the bidding does slow down during the auction. 

During the auction it’s unconditional, so it’s a guaranteed sell. After the auction, a buyer can cool their heels and it could be of a conditional nature, or they may retract their bid. 

So to understand once its been negotiated out to a point during that auction, if you can make that decision during the auction it’s an unconditional sale. 

The third thing that I will always say to a vendor is we’re on your side. Make no mistake, the agent’s done a great job with the marketing campaign, it’s time and space to give the agent some credit for what they’re done and the work they’ve done through the campaign. But we’re on your side and we’re here to get you the absolute best price from the market. 

And then we go out and do the auction bit. But for them to know that, close to price we’re making a decision – obviously if it exceeds price that’s great – during the auction it’s unconditional and that we’re on their side. If they know those 3 things heading into an auction, you’re in a really good space.

Steve Carroll: So, you do all of this work. You rock up on the day and there’s only one bidder. And it must be heartbreaking for everybody involved.

James Keenan: I actually think one bidder is better than none. And if you’re a hot bidder it’s fantastic. I worked with an agent in the Inner West whose an absolute gun at putting a deal together with one buyer. And there’s one fundamental reason for that. He’s got a fantastic relationship with that buyer. He’s got to know that buyer. So when you get into the auction situation, he’s pre-framed it. He’s probably already had a chat with the buyer, about saying “Look you’re in a wonderful position today. You are one step ahead of everybody else. Don’t muck around. Right today you’ve got a step ahead. Come tomorrow, come Monday, you lose that advantage.” 

We’ll position it, he’ll take the buyer in, have a quick chat, come out, make a bid. Not only at what the vendor will want, he’ll go back and have another chat and potentially pay more. And that’s because the buyer trusts the agent. So the effort that has gone into it beforehand, right, is the key to getting it done, but look one buyer: happy days. There’s a lot of vendors at the moment that would like one buyer.

Steve Carroll: So, someone touched on this earlier on, there’s so much information on the internet now. I mean, we’ve never been in an era where buyers and sellers know so much. Yeah? Has that made the job for auctioneers easier or harder?

Gavin Croft: Consumers, when you buy or sell, they expect more. To your point earlier, Josh, is that a lot of people aren’t full time auctioneers. And they expect high level execution when you’re representing your biggest asset. And if someone hasn’t dedicated their time to that craft, you’re going to run into those issues, which you see in your marketplace. So, I think that people now just demand a certain level. They just do.

Stuart Benson: The more information, the better. As far as I’m concerned, from an auctioneer’s point of view and I’m standing out there, I want those buyers to know what the rental yield is going to be, what the median house price growth has been for the district over the last five years, what the comparable sales are, what the average days on market are, what the likelihood that they miss out on this one is, then getting the next one. I’m a big advocate of the more the better. The more they know about what they’re buying, the easier it is for me to sell it to them.

Alec Brown: You get to reinforce what’s known. Instead of introducing new facts, it’s just reaffirming and getting them across and comfortable in making a decision.

Steve Carroll: And what about pumping up the crowd, Tom? I’ve watched a few of your videos. Imagine the people listening to this particular recording are very young auctioneers, they’re wanting to get into the game. So the question to Tom is, how do you manage the crowd, how do you get the crowd excited?

Tom Panos: Part of it is yourself, but let’s face it. If you’ve got an auction and there’s one neighbour, a vendor there and the vendor’s cousin that’s come to support them to be there for moral support. The reality is, you’re gonna find it more challenging than if you actually have 300 people there. And most of the people sitting in this room are obviously experienced enough to know what I mean by able to have what I call ‘instinctive humour’. So, there’s no question about it. 

One of the things is the ability to make someone laugh without it looking like it was a pre-rehearsed joke. So, the ability to be able to add comic relief to a very stressful intense situation. Everyone is stressed because wherever there is no certainty, there’s anxiety. So, an auctioneer seems to have this ability to make something lighthearted but at the same time, keep it commercial. They’re able to actually make people laugh but at the same time keep them bidding. 

I think that they’re able to do something very important and that is to portray the real estate agent that they’re representing who has done 99 per cent of the work at that time to appear as worthy as they have been to get there.

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