Was it overpriced?God, no. It was fair value.
What did you think it would go for?$1.35 million.
What was surprising about it?
It was beyond horrible. It was one of the worst, worst things I ever had to sell. There was stuff from floor to ceiling in every room. You could hardly move; it was a classic hoarder’s house. You worried it was going to cave in on you when you walked in.
The lady that owned it was was a 94-year old. She had been there since the 80s. They’d had to move her out, but she was living in it in that condition.
I did meet her. The vendor was a carer – she had a power of attorney. The trustee wanted her to meet the agent. She was German. She was lucid. She was in a wheelchair, she didn’t speak great English. They were speaking a lot together in German.
I was bit taken aback. It was really bad. I was more thinking it was quite sad that a person lived in that, in that condition. It didn’t even had kitchen.
There were books piled high and papers. To let something go like that. to see the bathroom in that sort of condition – the floors, the ceiling. You could smell the dampness.
[James]The cleaning… included a rat nest.
[Rod]We cleaned it all and got rid of everything. You couldn’t even see the back fence. We chopped the trees back so you could see the courtyard. It was three skip bins full of rubbish.
It presented okay as a shell.
Did you consider holding the auction on site?
I did, actually. A lot of locals wanted me to do that, but we’ve got a beautiful office in Double Bay. It would have been nice on site. In hindsight, would it have been better? Next time, maybe.
Has the falling market weeded out speculative investors?
We had people looking to buy, to do up the property and sell, but they thought the market’s not there. I had plenty of offers in the low 1 [million]s. That’s speculating. They think they can make money.
Because it was part of trust it had to go to auction. It was basically land value. My reserve was $1,275,000.
It was a beauty. We didn’t expect it to that go for much. But we had an architect and a builder fighting out the auction. They didn’t want to lose it, these two guys. They pushed it up.
But the architect paid the money because he was building his dream home.
How did it play out?
It started really slowly. No-one party put their hand up. Then I got $10,000 out of the architect. The builder put his hand up. It hit reserve very quickly.
[James]We started at $1.2 million. From $1,250,000 to $1,450,000 the two bidders fought it out in $10,000s and $20,000s, not allowing any other bidder in.
Do you reckon we’ll see another result like this: a) next week b) next year c) next cycle d) never?
[Rod]a) It could be next week. If you’ve got a fantastic location, there’s always a chance someone will pay a premium if they see value for themselves.