There were two houses for sale at an auction last night. Harcourt’s handed out a brochure on how to bid.
Terrible advice like “bid against yourself.” This means an idiot bids and then the same idiot bids again, without an intervening bid.
Other advice was “try a king punch bid.” An example would doubling the last bid to stun the competition. Yeah, everyone would be stunned at the bell-end.
The first “auction” was a bottle of $10 wine, to warm up the bidders. I thought I’d never see someone bid against themselves, but believe it or not, I saw someone did this very thing. The bottle sold for $50. A bad harbinger.
The first real auction was a house on a 400 sq. meter lot. It was sub-par, completely surrounded by neighbours peeking in the windows.
No one would start bidding. After a pregnant pause, eventually the bidding started, quite hesitantly, with the auction struggling to find victims, I mean bidders.
The auctioneer seeing he wasn’t making an progress, even at $1,000 increments, gave up after a lot of talk about how wonderful the house was, how fantastic the neighbourhood was (it’s not), how lucky the winner would be, and the joys of home ownership.
The auctioneer closed the bidding and said it was below the reserve (just slightly below the QV). He said he would talk to the highest bidder, “to see how to proceed”. A team pulled the high bidder aside. I was able to hear the conversation. Basically a high pressure sale pitch, many against one, asking for more money.
So in bad faith, but legal, the auctioneer re-opened up the bidding again at the last high bid. He directed all his comments at the “winner” and second highest bidder. Most of the starting comments was a high pressure sale to the second highest bidder, basically begging for more money. I felt embarrassed for the second highest bidder, who eventually offered $1,000 more, countered by the original “winner”, who offered $1,000 more. That was the end of that auction. I’m not sure if the winner actually got the house.
While the auctioneer was within his legal rights, and acting in the best interest of the seller, it was chapter-and-verse guide to hard sale tactics.
The second auction was another 1960’s sub-par house, with clearly illegal modifications to the house, described in TradeMe as “Toolbox needed.” Lots of peeling wallpaper, the original hideous 1960’s kitchen. The bathroom had been a the worst I’ve seen, feature a hole in the ceiling cut with a box cutter, and clearly illegal lights hanging through the hole. A neighbour said the owner did a DIY job of moving he bathroom from one room to another. There were giant piles of trash inside and outside the home. The fences and exterior stairs were completely rotten.
The first bid was so high, I walked out immediately. After grabbing a coffee, I came back. It went for $20,000 more than highest QV recommendation.
So long story short, not going to an auction again. If all New Zealanders refused to go to property auctions, because they’re a hard sale technique, they’d stop.