Saturday, September 06, 2014

Going, going, gone

A couple of Saturdays ago a former workmate of R's house was auctioned in an outer eastern suburb.  She and her husband have lived in the house for thirty four years. It is a nice cream 1950s brick veneer and very well built. They had of course modernised it over the years, but the bones of the original are still there.

R's ex workmate is a delightful person. That he keeps in touch with her says something. They are going for lunch later this month. I very much like her too. She invited us to attend the auction.

Her conscience troubled her and she mentioned to the agent selling her house about the discrepancy between what it was be advertised for, the suggested price, and what they actually wanted for the house.

$600,000 to $660,000 was in the agent's advertising and mentioned at the auction. They wanted $720,000. No matter what laws are imposed, it seems impossible to stop real estate agents giving a falsely low price to buyers, and a falsely high price to sellers.

It was an odd auction. There were many distractions, including the 765 bus being unable to get up the street because of a car badly parked by an auction attendee.

The overseas Chinese born battled it out long and hard and R's friend later told us it was a long settlement period as they had to get their money out of China. We felt a bit sorry for the naive Aussie born potential buyers who dropped out early in the auction circus.

A couple of days after the auction, I was telling my Thai born workmate about it and he too attended an auction close to his home in East Malvern, formerly Chadstone. He said it went for well above the agent's suggested price and two Chinese couples and an Indian couple battled it out. The Indian couple won and set a record for the location.

There is enacted legislation to deal with under quoting by real estate agents, but I know of only one prosecution. It is rife.

So how much did R's ex workmate get for house with a value suggested by the real estate agent of $600,000 to $660,000? Remember they wanted $720,000. It sold for $825,000. They have down sized and bought a smaller and cheaper place, so the difference is cash in their hand. They are over the moon.

In the not too distant future, our Brother Friends will auction their house in Box Hill South before they move to Thailand. It will be interesting to see the result.

Given the above, and our own house buying and selling experiences, I fell it is safe to say real estate agents are crooks.

Always better to add a photo to a post to make it more appealing. As an inducement to attend R's ex workmate's auction, he said, I'll buy you breakfast. And he did before the auction, here in the pleasant enough Brentwood Square shopping centre. The lady who served us who I think was the owner of the business was an older well dressed and made up European born. I said to R after we ordered and were seated at our outdoor table, I'll bet she calls us darlings. She brought our food out and I was tense with anticipation.

She said nothing as she presented our modest breakfast, but then as she left HOORAY. "Sank you darlinks. Do come again". I am used to that in inner Melbourne but not in the outer eastern 'burbs.

However, pilled track suit pants rather dominated in the generally older and not particularly poor Brentwood Square demographic.

  


20 comments:

  1. Andrew, prices of house are lower than in Europe. But Europe is more expensive than US or Austalia.

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    1. Gosia, I don't know that Australia is cheaper than Europe now. Our dollar is extremely high at the moment, making it cheap to travel overseas for us, but difficult for visitors to Australia.

      With the exception of Hungary, we found prices for food and clothing similar to our own prices and perhaps the clothing was better quality. If anything, England seemed a bit cheaper than here. Fuel and train travel is expensive, but the trains are far superior to ours.

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  2. I can remember when my mother's home was auctioned. A very chilly, foggy morning and the bidders duked it out going up in $1000 increments. It was sold eventually to a man who had lost at three previous auctions in the suburb for nearly $200,000 over the real estate estimates. And grossly overpriced for a very tired ex-guvvie. It has now been bulldozed and a McMansion (ugly) replaced it.

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    1. Wow EC, that is a lot of money more than the agent estimates. I love the term ex-guvvie. We call them housing commission.

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  3. Auctions seem to be a very popular way of selling houses in Victoria...it is really off putting as a potential buyer. Many of my friends who have been looking to buy have found the process stressful and, inevitably, disappointing.

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    1. AdRad, buying and selling is said to be one of the most stressful things you can do in life and having done it a few times, I agree. People do need to be very realistic about the process and that is not easy. I feel really sorry for young people now who want to buy their first. It must be quite soul destroying for some.

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  4. House prices are crazy at the moment in Sydney I guess it's because of the low interest rates, but there is talk of a interest rate rise next year so maybe they will fall a bit then.
    Merle.............

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    1. Merle, god forbid that interest rates will go to 17%, as they did when we had a large mortgage. There would be deserted homes everywhere.

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  5. Family members filling out crowds, fake expected prices in the advertising and vendor's bids can only happen in auctions. So real estate agents and sellers love auctions, buyers do not.

    If there is a fixed contract, with all the details laid out, potential buyers can feel as if they are being treated honestly. If they love the house and the contract, they can go ahead with the sale. If they don't, they can walk away.

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    1. Hels, having done both, the fixed contract is a much more pleasant way to buy or sell. I think house auctions are partly responsible for driving up house prices. Years ago, Sydney did not have house auctions, or they were rare. Not so now.

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  6. I don't have a hope in hell of buying a house without winning Lotto first, but if that ever happens, I'll be avoiding auctions for sure.

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    1. River, while your place is not large, I think you are quite fortunate to have stability and security.

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  7. Hello Andrew,

    As we are in the process of selling our Brighton flat, this post rings so very true and so very close to home.

    We refer to Brighton estate agents as the 'pointy shoe' brigade since this seems to be the universal choice of footwear. In addition they are all called Nick, Oliver or Toby which can lead to confusion. Women have back room jobs, never allowed to be out and about, and are invariably called Annie or Fran.

    We have never been to a house auction but have attended many furniture auctions in our time. One can get terribly carried away and staying cool headed is a must if one us to achieve a bargain. House prices with you seem very high, certainly on a par with Brighton, whereas here in Hungary apartments and houses are much more affordable.

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    1. JayLa, I am pleased to say that we do have quite a number of female agents, always in well tailored jacket and skirt suits with the perfect black heels, not too high not too low. As for the pointy shoe gender, they can be further divided into those with shoes polished so hard they are like mirrors, or those who are fine from the head down to the ankles. While they still wear pointy shoes, they are unpolished and scuffed. This was a surprising observation to me, but noted over a number of years.

      It may amuse you to know that we had a term for Gold Coast, an area in Queenland, property developers and entrepreneurs. They were known as the white shoe brigade, a case of a few words telling many pictures.

      I only know inner London and Newcastle property prices, and yes, our property is quite expensive, although inner London prices are extreme.

      I thought prices in Budapest were high enough, but I do realise we were only educated about the very best, such as your own and the one Jane marched us all into.

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  8. My Nanna's house, almost 10 years ago, went for 200K more than the real estate agents quoted price. Daft idiots. They did nothing for their fee either. Don't get me started.

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  9. Fen, I can't think of a better word, so I think crooks stands well enough to describe them.

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  10. Gosh R's friends must have been thrilled Andrew.. Eeeew pilled tracky daks, lord save me :)

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    1. They were Grace, but soon after the auction R received an email asking about our cruise as they were going to a travel expo on river cruises. She is a shocking spender. Track suit pants can only be worn by cute young men who know how to wear them to flatter themselves. They are banned in the Highrise. While I remain in proper clothing at all times, until I at times slip into my dressing gown, R does wear some very casual 'comfy' clothing at home, but not track suit pants.

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  11. Hi Andrew I have been engrossed with non-screen life recently and now don't know where to start to catch up with you. LandRats are allowed to lie by 9%. how silly is that? If you telephone the REIV the first thing heard is a recorded message that "if you are calling to complain about a RE agent then this is not the place for that".
    Tomorrow I am meeting the idiot landrat (what Fen said above) on a property I hope to buy. I have seen the future and know we OAPensioners have to grow our own food, so my dream is this 1.5 acres on a rise with a lovely view of prime grazing land. fingers crossed for success.

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    1. Ann, that will be terrific if you do. Much excitement! Yes, RE is their body, not there to help consumers.

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