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Brisbane has harshly judged the auction process before but buyers seem to be learning its benefits

By Holly Darwon

With a cracking blue Brisbane sky hanging overhead on Saturday I saddled up for a full day of auctions.

The first cab off the rank was a neatly presented home in Wavell Heights on Brisbane’s Northside.

What made this auction noteworthy was the bidding strategy and the epic battle that kicked off from the opening bid.

“$500,000” was the call from real estate stalwart Dwight Ferguson of Ray White Ascot. I thought $50k bids sounded appropriate and requested $550k from the crowd.

“$750,000!” came the reply from one eager bidder at the rear of the crowd “Seven hundred and fifty thousand?” I queried. “yes”they responded. Beauty!

Now obviously this is all moving at the speed of Cup Day at Flemington, but internally there is a soft calm and I was interested to see how the other bidders would recover from this attempted knock out blow.

After a deep breath the market recovered.

“$755,000” came the reply from a new bidder. He was standing with a group, they looked like a family and they were neatly presented like they were headed to church.

“$760,000” from another new bidder, this was their only bid.

I looked toward the rear of the crowd, our hitman was now out.

“Is it on the market?!” Came a bullish question from a lady standing about a metre away, almost right next to me who had not yet bid.

She was with two other ladies of similar age and they were gathered around a graceful senior citizen who was sitting in a chair. I assumed this was their mum and these girls were ready to rumble.

“No we are not” I replied “Would it make a difference if we were?” I questioned. I wanted to test her courage in front of the large crowd.

“$770,000” our neat couple were back in front.

“We’re on the market Haesley” called out Kylee Dallimore from Ray White Albion.

“Well madam you’ve heard the instructions, do you want to bid now?” I jabbed at my boisterous combatants who at this stage had still not bid.

“$775,000” they jumped.

For the next five or ten minutes these two families, the neat family and the ladies with mum, thumped each other back and forth in this quiet Northside avenue.

“How could you do this and bid against an old lady?!” jeered the family on the stage. I giggled, this fight seemed to have no holds barred.

As the bidding squeezed to a head in the high $840,000s the neat family jumped to $850,000 to try and shake their punch happy combatants.

“$850,500” came the reply after a quick debrief.

“$855,000” they shot back quickly. With their breath held they waited for a response. Both sides poker faces had been broken many thousands of dollars ago.

With a look of bidding fatigue and a group consensus “It’s yours, congratulations” came the call from my four new female friends.

“Once, twice, third time. sold!”

The crowd cheered, the bidders shook hands and the families both inside and outside the house wept while embracing.

With 12 registered bidders, five participating and an array of different bidding strategies I left that auction very happy with the Brisbane market.

I loved the interaction and courage of those buyers. They had arrived with a plan, with budgets and didn’t get overwhelmed.

They pushed back at me, asked for time and moved at their pace. As a city, even as a state, we have harshly judged auctions as a method of sale to buy through unless the sale is due to tragic circumstances and there is a scent of bargain in the air.

Buyers seem to be learning that transparency and a willing seller is the easiest and most transparent way to buy property. With our southern neighbours auctioning and clearing nearly double the Brisbane average there is definitely room for improvement but auctions like the one at Wavell Heights are welcome green shoots that acceptance and comfort is on the rise.

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