My sister and her family are moving from gentrified East Brighton to the wilds of Cheltenham. They bought a house there on a huge block of land, with a pool in the backyard. They don’t expect to keep the pool (what, in this day and age, and with Waves about 5 minutes’ walk away?) but hopefully we’ll get to have at least one Christmas pool party there.
So they had to sell their little place in East Brighton.
My sister has a lot of experience in marketing, and her husband Adrian had applied his architect’s touch to the renovation. A nice spot in a quiet street in a blue chip suburb, close to the shops and the tram (too far from the train for my liking, but oh well) meant if they played their cards right, it’d be a winner.
So they worked hard. Adrian put lots of finishing touches on the place over the last few weeks. My sister looked closely at the marketing options provided by the real estate agent, and tweaked them, as well as working out an incentive scheme for the agent. If they did well, there’d be a cash bonus. If they did really well, there’d be dinner at the Flower Drum.
I had to chuckle when I saw the ads for the place. Half the furniture had been hidden in the garage to make it look bigger and cleaner; every photo had all the lights blazing away; and despite the pictures being taken during a week of rain, the sky was miraculously blue. It looked terrific — but quite different to the house I knew.
The marketing went ahead. Web (of course), and adverts in selected editions of The Age and the local papers. Three times a week there was frantic cleaning in preparation for the Opens. But by the end, they were fairly happy that their demographic (the people looking for that type of property in that area) had been reached, and there did appear to be genuine interest.
Auction day came last Saturday, and my sister was on tenterhooks. Would people show up? Would they bid? Would it pass in?
I was nearby-ish, having brunch with friends, watching the phone for SMS updates as the auction progressed.
The bids started. The price went up. And up. And up.
At one point one of the bidders stopped bidding and burst into tears.
The price kept climbing.
When all was said and done, it was an outstanding result. Frankly, more than I’d have paid for it. 78% more than it had been bought for — though taking into account the cost of improvements, “only” about 47% profit in about three years.
It shows the value of having the renovation done by an architect and the campaign designed by a marketing expert!
Immediately after the auction, and before signing, the buyer was a little uneasy, and tried to negotiate for a couple of extras to be thrown in. Dishwasher? Yeah okay. That lovely (and expensive) plant in the backyard? No way! (Agent: Sorry, it’s an anniversary present.) What about those bookshelves? Pah, that’s our furniture. We’re taking it with us. (Agent: You know that’s just an Ikea Billy…)
Eventually everyone signed on the dotted line.
The agent was evidently so pleased she put two “Sold” stickers on the board.
And yes, she will get her Flower Drum dinner.