A Tale of an Auction – final chapter – the Auction or whatever can go wrong will go wrong.
Another similar apartment in our complex, at the rear, came onto the market right about now.
It sold – below the current market value.
This was not a good sign for us, even though ours was larger and brighter and better. Sir Guy was also showing concern, in fact concern had been clearly fixed upon his once youthful face since the sagas preceding – mainly the advertising by stealth ( ours ) and the putting up of the board on a competing agents property!
This street, our street, used to be an alley before we moved there and it became a street. A proper street.
“ But you live in an alley!” My Mother’s words came back to haunt again and again. Hey I happen to like this alley!
With the onset of Spring, flowering trees and newly budding shrubs and creepers in neighbouring yards and on back fences, began to bloom, spilling violet canopies over every nook and rickety fence, exuding blossomy smells which wafted across, mingling with the coffee and exotic spices from nearby restaurants. This added colour and interest from people strolling by, who paused to admire. So, what happens? A mere few days before our appointed Auction, men in overalls appeared. They duly set about attacking those rickety fences, pulling them down with a vengeance, thus destroying the colour and ambience. All the fragrant blooms lay dead and wilting in the hot, Carlton sun. What an opportune time to decide to build a new fence. We would be long gone before any creepers with purple flowers covered those new paling’s. Now there was a bland canvas. All the colour was gone. Now our Auction would be held in the midst of an oncoming home renovation. I think the neighbour who had hated a complex of 32 apartments being built behind her decided to wreak havoc. I will give those overalled demolisher’s credit however as they managed to leave some shrubbery intact.
With hours to go, our agent called, worried. Another For Sale sign had gone up on another unit in close proximity, using an agent in direct competition, probably that one around the corner – that one FROM THE AREA. A word from Sir Guy convinced them to remove their sign – at least until our Auction was over. He did work hard for us.
Auction day dawned bright and clear. We rose early to prepare for the final inspection. In this activity, we knew we were doing everything right. Family members arrived to view proceedings. The air thickened with anticipation and excitement. All present agreed the apartment looked perfect. This time there would be no disappearing – we remained, to mingle, observe, listen – and watch carefully – as strangers entered, wandering… it was to be educational!
I was stunned and amazed at some of these “ Buyers “’.
Who was that man there, wearing shorts, thongs and t-shirt – and why was he on his hands and knees closely inspecting our video recorder. Granted, it was a unique model by Sanyo who marketed it as a Fisher which we had kept in pristine condition to watch old family oriented vhs tapes – but it just didn’t look right, that man there… hold on a minute…
who is that casually dressed male who just walked in before making his way directly down the stairs to the underground car park? Didn’t even stop to check out the fine electrical equipment on display. What was his interest in the car park only? This last inspection did not have good vibes. I noticed a woman looking closely into bathroom and bedrooms in a positive manner. Would she be the one? She wasn’t.
Outside,at ground zero, there was little to write home about. I was not alone in my interpretations of the small crowd gathered there, beside the new fence. A crowd composed of obvious onlookers, passersby, neighbours who hated us – and our relatives! The body language was wrong, uneasy, hostile even.
Which were the interested buyers? No-one looked vaguely interested. In fact they looked downright arrogant, angry even. I began to take on a strained look. Where was Greg? I found him in the bedroom, lying on the bed with that same strained look. He refused to come out and remained there for the duration!
How Sir Guy of Lancelot, from Round Table Real Estate, worked that crowd. I was told afterwards that they stood like statues, arms crossed, silent, no words spoken – like a bunch of zombies from a Stephen King novel – without the blood and gore. Sir Guy sweated literally sweated blood, trying to get the bidding up – from anybody. It began at a price far below what we had paid “ off the plan “ almost 2 years previously. Bidding struggled to get above the mark, before becoming stuck on a price much below our reserve. What a nightmare.
Whoever said auctions were the way to go? The apartment was passed in. The only positive was the weather, which remained fine with no threatened rain as forecast.
The eventual buyer came out of the blue shortly afterwards. I am positive she happened upon a glossy brochure taped to a vacant expanse of glass in a fringe suburb of outer Melbourne. Definitely from OUTSIDE THE AREA.
In a photo we took, standing beside the board, with the big, red SOLD sign on it, we are smiling – sort of – with a strained expression!
HINTS – based on our experience.
1. Take care in your choice of agent, if they are NOT FROM THE AREA.
2. Don’t hold open for inspections. Heed the word “ inspection “
3. Don’t auction before reading Neil Jenman’s book. “ Don’t sign anything “
4. Don’t buy before you sell.
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