Real Estate

Real estate agents offer coffee, free food and champagne in bid to boost auctions

Written by The ReReport
As seen in the Source link, written by on 2019-03-12 20:40:01

Willoughby home auction

Michael Stelmaszcik gives out free coffees at a recent Willougby auction. Picture: Darren Leigh Roberts

Sydney home auctions have turned into a bonanza of giveaways as real estate agents offer free coffee, arts and crafts bags for kids and even champagne in the hope of attracting bigger crowds to their sales.

The agents are hoping the larger crowds will counter some of the impact of the current property downturn and create the high pressure sales environment vital for auction success.

Turning auctions into a crowded spectacle has also helped lure in potential buyers who were not originally intending to register for the auction — some of who have gone on to buy the homes.

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“Sometimes people come past, they don’t know what’s going on, but there’s coffee so they stop. Then they (enter) the auction,” barista Michael Stelmaszcik said.

Mr Stelmaszcik operates the Coffee Kombi one of the many coffee trucks now being regularly stationed outside home auctions and said agents liked to set them up roughly an hour or so before the auction started while the property was open for inspection.

Willoughby home auction

Crowds line up for free coffee at an auction.

The coffee has been effective in perking up slumbering attendance at auctions.

Last week more than 200 people streamed to the auction of a Willoughby home at 10 Wallace St, where a coffee van was parked outside offering passers by their preferred coffee.

More than 20 buyers registered for the auction and the big turnout helped the home sell for $1.622 million — $200,000 above the sellers’ expectations.

Such large crowds were common during the recent housing boom that lasted from 2014 to 2017, but have become increasingly rare in recent months following a nearly 30 per cent annual drop in the number of buyers reported to be actively looking for property.

Agents have also been dishing out free champagne for buyers who offer the first bid at auction.

Forsyth Real Estate agent Rick D’Amico has supplied coffee to attendees at multiple auctions and told the Sunday Telegraph it was a good way to create buzz. “It brings out the community,” he said.

Auction Services director Rocky Bartolotto said agents who scheduled late afternoon auctions often replaced the coffee giveaways with a sausage sizzle.

“It’s an attempt to create some hype,” he said, adding that auctions were most effective when attendance was up and there was a large crowd of potential bidders who all wanted the home.

Auctioneer Damien Cooley said champagne giveaways were another strategy that was becoming popular at auctions in the current climate of conservative bidding.

“(Agents) usually offer the champagne to whoever opens the bidding,” Mr Cooley said.

“It was something we used to see a lot at auctions a few years ago, before the boom, but we’re seeing it come up a lot more again … it’s a weaker market.”

Figures from the latest Cooley Index showed the average Sydney auction attracted three registered bidders over February. This was level with the same time last year but was below the five registering for the average February auction in 2017.

Last week, just 54 per cent of the homes that went under the hammer across Sydney sold, with this weekend’s 469 scheduled auctions expected to have a similar success rate.