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Auction Perfection


with Danny Grant

of Ray White Lower North Shore, is one of Australia’s leading auction agents. However, as Danny says, “In my first year in real estate, I was very scared of auctions and it was just easy to go for sale - and after 24 months of having dismal clearance rates I thought, there must be a better way. I really learnt from my failures.”

So Danny took a leap of faith and went for the auction jugular and, even though the market has been unforgiving, Danny’s clearance rate has been around 95 per cent for the last three years.

Danny shares his top ten tips for running a brilliant auction campaign.


Don’t over promise. A motivated vendor is key. Make sure they are comfortable with the auction process and how you work. Is the property in your patch? If it’s in your area, you should be able to price it correctly; you should be able to influence the market in a certain way.


Before I talk about comparable sales, I’ll talk about my pricing strategy. I don’t want to place too much emphasis on getting the price exactly right because another agent will come in and say, “It’s worth ‘x’,” and try and sign it up. So you’ve got to take the emphasis off that. Strategy is more important.


I can’t remember the last property I’ve taken on that hasn’t had some work or some styling element done to it. It makes it a lot easier to sell homes. Selling’s all about transferring feelings. If you’re marketing a home that’s presented beautifully, it’s an easy sell.


Give buyers reasons to come and see your property first. Use multiple media avenues using quality images. Take out full page ads. Use videos. Use the local paper. Make sure you’ve got a floor plan on there, make sure you’ve got a price guide on there, make it easy for the buyer.


I’ll send out an “Information to Agent” report to my vendors and ask them to list what things have they done to the property. I’ll then produce an A5 folded booklet that I will give to buyers that includes my clearance rates, a floor plan, the things that the owner loves about living in the neighbourhood, improvements made on that home, and important local information.


Build up the emotional bank account with your vendor from day one. Make no mistakes through your campaign. Make sure your marketing is done absolutely correctly and that you haven’t missed calling them back. Call your vendor every day. At the end of the week do a written report as well, so that’s emailed off or taken personally to a meeting.


Stay calm throughout the whole process. Maintain distance and don’t be too clever with buyers. When you’re following them up, don’t follow them up too much. But it’s important for them to know that you’re interested and remember that you are there to negotiate with the buyers; you’re not there just to work the vendor down in price.


Read the sale contract. It’s amazing how many sales I’ll run where the vendor’s bought a property and thought that their block was 700 square metres but I’ve read the contract and it’s actually 660 square metres. The contract is where the genuine block size is – you need to get those things right.


Conduct the meeting on the Thursday or Friday before the auction so it’s just late enough to know exactly what buyers you have. Go through the marketing response and statistics, the positive and negative feedback through the campaign, price feedback, expected bidders and the owner's role on the day and set the reserve.


I send out auction invites to the street and send out a pre-registration email to buyers. I’ll have somebody taking registrations and somebody that can actually scribe and take the bids for the auctioneer. I’ll call the media if I think it’s going to be a good auction - so this is something that’s been very good for my profile. On display at the Open Houses we have a vendor and purchaser gift. So this just sends a signal that, “Okay, we probably think it’s going to sell,” and I’ll set these gifts up above a “Sold” sticker so that will be out on display. So buyers will immediately walk through and go, “Oh, they think something’s going to happen here today.” We also have a bottle of Moët for the first bidder. It always causes a little bit of laugh when the auctioneer introduces and says, “It’s not for our vendors, it’s not for our purchasers, but for the first bidder,” and then he’ll say that, “If you’re thinking that’s a little bit of agent trickery to get you to bid and bid early, you’d be absolutely correct.” And it actually does work quite well.

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