Such a happy day with a great auction result past vendor’s reserve with 4 bidders. There were two groups of bidders who fought till the end.
Most people know me as a buyer advocate but here my role is as a vendor advocate, where I use my industry experience to help sellers select the best real estate agents, investigate the market, structure the sales campaign, review the advertising and marketing, assess external consultants such as home stylists etc and provide independent advice to the sellers throughout the whole campaign.
Many sales campaign go sour or sellers get shortchanged and disadvantaged due to limited exposure to the often opaque and deceptive real estate industry masked by facades and lies. Hence, some smart vendors prefer to engage a vendor advocate to help them through the stressful and emotional draining nature of real estate sales, especially in a correction market. Best of all, this service is free!
Congratulations again Cheryl and Leo for the successful sale!
I found out about Erick’s buyer’s advocate service through a common friend, who is a medical doctor. He recommended Erick to me as he had utilised his service and bought a great home. Erick is professional and knowledgeable, and we are glad that we used his service as it definitely has saved us time and money overall.
Erick takes time to understand the needs of his clients and sources the potential properties using his knowledge of the suburbs/areas, and also through his networks in the real estate industry. He is diligent and goes above and beyond to research the property well before coming back to us with further detailed information. Erick is also an architect by trade and his knowledge has definitely helped us along the way and he would constantly bring things to our attention that we otherwise will most likely oversees. Erick communicates with us well and always check with us to ensure that our questions are answered and our thoughts are being considered. When it comes to negotiation, Erick strategises well and always have our best interest in mind to attempt to get us a good price. He has a great personality and his social skills has definitely played a part in obtaining behind-the-scenes information for us.
Being a first home buyer, the whole property purchase process can be very confronting and confusing. On top of that, currently, the housing market is very competitive and we know how difficult it is finding the right property and getting it at the right price. Therefore, Erick’s service definitely gave us a great advantage and helped making our property purchase a success. Using Erick’s buyer advocate service is surely the right decision for us and we would strongly recommend his service to other first home buyers.
Ian & Hanna
Physiotherapist and Sales Manager
"We have bought our first property ever in Australia. As we know from friends who have bought that it seems a difficult game to secure the property of your dreams and it may actually take you a while to be the successful purchaser, we made the decisions to use the services of a buyers advocate.
We found a site that sparked our interest. It is certainly not a site that would appeal to many people as it has a few challenges to deal with, but as architects ourselves we were looking for a site that would challenge us and it seemed to be the perfect fit.
We met Erick a few weeks earlier and he impressed us with his passion for challenging sites and the eagerness to research the background of a site as well as helping to secure the property . We engaged him and can only recommend him to anyone. He researched the background of the site , the neighbourhood and he was a great partner to discuss the findings of his research. His sense of humour and entertaining spirit took away from the emotional rollercoaster a property purchase brings with it and made the entire experience a lot of fun. In our case it was a sale by expression of interest which was really hard for us , because we didn't know how many competitors we had nor how much they would offer. Erick has been amazing guiding us through this process and sure enough his advise on how much to offer, was the right one. We won for a great price, that just was enough to be ahead of the competition.
We now proudly own a wonderful property and can't wait to get started. Well done, Erick! We can highly recommend him to anyone who is ready to buy their next property. We definitely can't imagine buying a property without his support.”
Marc & Felicity Bernstein
Principal and Founder of Melbourne Design Studios
Multi-award winning studio for contemporary + sustainable architecture
A good investment! It is what my wife and I describe Erick's service.
I have known Erick for almost 10 years, and have used his service as our Buyer Advocate twice. He never failed to give us positive impression of him. In both cases, he delivered outstanding services with a competitive fee structure. He identified what we need as buyers and thoroughly created list of potential properties that meet our needs. He always thinks out of the box for the good of the buyers.
For each of the properties, he gave his professional advice about the house including 'feng shui' queries, demography and environment on the surrounding of the properties, budget, affects of vegetation on properties, and more. His in-depth knowledge and experience provide an outstanding contribution to our buying process. Our weekly property hunt repeated a few times before we finally got the place that we liked. He is always positive and never feels disappointed when we could not find the one we really liked. He kept assuring that the right one will be coming and he would patiently inspect the properties most of the weekends with us. He then took a pro-active approach to lead and help with the purchase processes with great results at the end.
When you purchase a property with Erick, you can be sure that you will be purchasing with confidence. You can leave your stress and worries behind. He will always be there for us even after the property settled. We would confidently recommend anyone to Erick if they need property buying assistance in Melbourne.
Leon & Shelly
IT Specialist & Accounting Executive
We learned about Erick's services through our friends, who gave very positive comments based on their interaction with Erick from purchasing their Melbourne property a few years ago. In September last year, we made a trip to Melbourne and decided that we would like to invest in a property ourselves, near Melbourne University, in preparation for our kids to come and study in a few years time. We did some house hunting in the short-span of 5 days. After getting back to Singapore, Erick helped us out in researching on the shortlisted properties, and provide valuable insights on the properties themselves, and the neighbourhood. Erick also provided valuable analysis of future prospect of the properties, and helped us out greatly throughout the auction process, and won it.
Even after completion of the property transaction, which was pretty much the end of Erick's job as far as a buyer advocate's concerned, he continued to help us out in interviewing and contracting a property manager to run a short stay accommodation service for the property.
So far everything went well. Overall, I think Erick provides a valuable service for people like us who are interested in buying a property in Melbourne for whatever reasons, and yet don't have the resources, time to be there and conduct the house-hunting in-situ and the detailed analysis themselves.
Automotive Parts Manufacturing Business, Taiwan & Singapore
When I started looking into the Melbourne property market, I browsed through various famous property websites and attended a few expos. As a first time and remote buyer, I was confused and drown by the tremendous market information. Later, I talked to a friend about my struggle, he suggested me to seek advice and guidance from a buyer advocate. And so happened that he had a name in his contact list - Erick Ng. That was how I started engaging with the buyer advocate services that Erick provided.
Later on I started communicating with Erick over the phone. We talked about the high level plan, requirements, and procedures to proceed. I was impressed by Erick's professional knowledge in house hunting, that I would split it into two parts - Hard and Soft Knowledge.
Hard Knowledge merely mean the standard procedures - legal, mortgage, paper works, that I believe every agent in the market could easily acquaint via specific courses, certifications, plus some hands-on experience.
But the Soft Knowledge part, by that I mean the throughout understanding of geographic location, demography, environment, plants, trees, soil, structure, etc., which I believe not every so called "professional" is capable to handle.
Erick is a real professional. He was an architect prior to the existing role. He knows lands, roads, structures, materials, etc. Further, he has extensive knowledge about plants and trees. You would agree that these are all about and surrounding our properties. And even more, he speaks my language!
With Erick's assistance, we went through the process smoothly from budget planning to location research, education site tour, target lock down, property market research, negotiation strategy setup, lawyer and mortgage liaison, building and pest inspection check, then it came to the time we got to actually execute the buying strategy. The story I need to tell here is here. We discussed a lot and set up our winning strategy, then Erick was in charged to negotiate with the seller's agent. And believe it or not, we won the deal on our first offer!
At this point of time I am writing this message, my property has been rented out with a pretty good price. To me this was definitely a good investment. And I will definitely refer Erick's buyer advocate services to others, unless he retires.
Thank you Erick. Sooner or later I will need you to work on my next property.
7th Dec 2017
Client: Did you see the property listing on X Street that I sent you? I really like that very much! What do you think?
Erick: No, that is not a good street to buy into.
Client: How about that one at Y Street?
Erick: No, the attributes are not popular for resale value. No.
Client: This off market one you just showed me? It looks really good! Love the high ceiling!
Erick: No, this is to be avoided. Not good for capital growth.
Sometimes I am a Mr. No. No to inferior properties. It is requires market knowledge to buy a good grade property which ticks the important boxes. Our yes is very valuable.
Buyers tend to let emotions get the better of them without thinking intelligently. We sometimes have to stop them from committing property mistakes, then guide them to the right path. This is what we call “tough love”.
We first know of Erick from a friend's introduction. He helped us to purchase our previous property and this is our second engagement with him to use his buyers agent/advocate services.
The myriad of properties on the market is overwhelming. With Erick's professional advice, he had helped us tremendously to filter out properties that are not suitable or potentially problematic much quicker and more accurately than what we could have done by ourselves. Hence, saving us a lot of time and unnecessary stress.
As a matter of fact, due to Erick’s professional experience in the architecture and construction industry in the past, he has garnered an abundance of experience, which has proven to be overwhelmingly insightful on top of his real estate knowledge. Whenever he brought us to inspect properties, he can quickly and accurately tell us the pros and cons of each specific location and the property itself.
I think that the term “buyers agent service” is an unfamiliar concept and industry for the Mainland Chinese. Buyers agents can actually assist buyers to evaluate the value of a property better. In a good suburb, it is not easy to buy a good property as everyone else also want to have a piece of it. Even in the same suburb, the actual value of properties on different streets can be different. Mainland Chinese buyers are generally not familiar with the Australian property market and are easily deceived by some of the manipulative tactics from the real estate agents. But when you have a buyers agent by your side to help you analyse the market more thoroughly, then only you can truly understand the true value and grade of the property you are looking for.
我觉得 "Buyers agent" 对中国人来说是一个挺陌生的行业和名词。Buyers agent 其实能帮助买家更好的对一间房子的价值进行评估。好的区，大家都想买，所以要买到好等级的房子真的不简单。即便是在同一个区里，不同的街道其实价格也是可以相差很远的。中国买家一般对澳洲的市场并不是十分熟悉的情况下很容易会因为房屋中介的一些花言巧语而上当受骗。可当你身边有一个 buyers agent 帮你对市场进行更彻底的分析以后，你才能真正的了解到你所看中的房子的真正价格和等级。
Maggie Li & Hong Ling
Travel Advisory Business Owner & Accountant Business Owner
A friend recommended Erick to me after I had unsuccessfully attempted to get into the property market for well over a year with no luck.
Erick’s vast amount of knowledge and experience ensured that not only did I purchase a great home in the right neighbourhood but that it was done so at a good price. Erick’s thorough research allows him to offer advice on a suburb at a very granular level, right down to a particular block or a street. He kept me up-to-date every step of the way leading up to the auction so that I was both comfortable and knew what to expect.
Erick has quite a diverse skillset and so I learnt a lot from him when attending inspections. He would comment on not only the design of the property but also the quality of material used and the workmanship. He knew exactly what to look out for and most importantly he has great attention to detail which to me was very important.
Erick made a huge difference to my property hunting. In hindsight when comparing the time I spent looking for a property on my own and then with Erick there is no comparison. His experience and expertise not only reduced the risk of buying an inferior property but also decreased the amount of time I had to spend looking. I highly recommend Erick and will use him again when buying my next property.
IT Manager, Melbourne
Client: When my parents come with us for property inspections, can you do me... a favour? Please tell them that you’re my friend, instead of a buyer advocate ok?
Erick: Oh? Do you want me to wear plainclothes and not my suit then?
Client: That’s even better! I’ll hire you as my consultant but you know, they’re typical old school stingy Asian parents, they won’t approve of me paying for professional buying advice. They think we can do it well all on our own. But to be honest, we definitely don’t know enough about Melbourne’s property market like you do.
It’s incredible that this client of mine go all out to save for months just so he has enough savings to factor in my consultant fees, and then go all out to hide it from his parents so they won’t be able to stop him from engaging me. Just incredible.
I have known Erick for many years and I am always impressed with his high standards when it comes to work and life. Erick came from an architecture background, and is a successful property investor himself.
We were so lucky to have an expert in the field to guide us through this whole house-hunting journey. He helped us conduct all the research, filtered through all the properties, and went to house inspections with us. He pointed out lots of aspects for us to consider which would not have came across our minds as a first time home buyer, for instance, he analysed the property orientation, lighting requirements, layout, council regulations and even the trees planted, which may cause concerns in the future etc. He has extensive knowledge in the field and it was really hassle free for us.
At the final buying stage when we need to negotiate an offer before the auction, his excellent communication skill, strategy and bubbly personality when dealing with the real estate agents have really won us a value-added advantage among all the other competitor buyers. Erick's comparable sales report for recent house sold in the area contains accurate information on recommended offer price and the property estimated true value, which successfully got us the win in the end.
We could not be happier with the end result and cannot thank him enough! Top notch service and highly recommended to other buyers as well.
Kelly & Jason
Pharmacist & Professional Photographer
"I have never seen anyone bid at auctions like you do! You're really one of a kind!" exclaimed director/auctioneer Jamil Allouche from Ray White after we won the auction this morning.
"While we are filming footage for our company but I felt like you stole the whole show! You're a star Erick! I should get half of the videography costs from you," joked Jamil.
After signing the contracts with my ecstatic client, Jamil continued, "You really scared the other buyers away. I can tell you that they had another $10-20k to go but they gave up on your games. Your strategy worked and they were scared the shits. You're really..."
"Unforgettable...." I responded by belting out a song.
And Jamil sang," That's what you are..." Then pointed towards me.
Bought one property last week and another one today. Excellent.
“Gentlemen, gentlemen… I have to tell you that I am just a real estate agent,” announced auctioneer Kieran Whaley to the crowd as a matter of concern, “I am not a bouncer, and there are no security guards here to break up a fight if you decide to punch each other, gentlemen.”
The atmosphere was so tensed at the auction between me in suit and a Chinese property developer/ builder group in construction garbs. I started off on a ‘stage’ at the neighbour’s house and later moved right in front of my competition’s face when one of the blokes threw bids against me. Although I learned Kung Fu, I did not use any physical moves on him. So no ambulances needed. However, my body language sent a strong signal to the other bidder that he could not even look into my eyes and eventually surrendered murmuring, “It’s yours, you can have it.”
That spelled victory for me and my client, who was overseas at that time of the auction, and the hammer fell on my last bid. Hurrah!
The neighbour whom I befriended earlier on the day rushed over with congratulations and said she witnessed how my bidding strategies worked. She explained how I bidded aggressively but also trying to stall the price as low as possible at the very same time.
Then, the developer who bought a block a few doors down the road came and congratulated me as well, saying that he could use my service to purchase his next site. He was so enthusiastic about the outcome and was fascinated on the way I executed the auction bidding strategies. He said he has never seen anyone bidded like me before.
He echoed my thought. I too have not seen anyone bidded like me before. Whenever I bid at auctions, people always come to shake my hand, whether I won the auction, or not! And long chats follow.
The longest chat I had, however, was with my client’s architect/ development manager, who was present at the day and was my senior back in Melbourne University’s architectural school. Here a memento shot of us on that special day. Viva architect comrades! We can smile now.
"Erick, I never knew these places existed if you had not shown us. We have visited all our friend's homes here in Melbourne but their places are not as impressive as these," remarked my client when I brought them to their first property education tour, "Now that you've pointed out the differences between the estates and what to look for in a good property, I would have to upgrade my buying criteria."
I was surprised by the comment but I can understand.
Many buyers jumped into looking at properties right away when they want to buy without stepping back and explore all the possibilities first. Many times, I will help to revamp their buying projects by showing them what is superior real estate, and equally important, what is inferior. This way, buyers will learn the subtle differences and intrinsic values by combining insights on suburb evolution, demography, amenities, topography, microclimate, architecture, floor plan, built quality, property investing criteria, town planning changes, local council's approach, infrastructure planning, school zones, local vegetation, streetscapes, redevelopment potentials and elements that will affect resale values, to name a few.
When property buyers are equipped with more knowledge, they will be able to identify a true gem. As we know, good decisions come from experience. We want to make more of those decisions.
Have you ever found a rare home that ticks ALL your boxes? A property in a Grade A location and orientation on an idyllic streetscape close to everything that only appears possibly once a year?
Have you ever tried bidding at an auction against a gung-ho competitor who has lost at 4 other auctions throughout the year and still could not win any auctions, and now having a face-off war with you?
Have you ever tried buying a leased property where the tenants love every single thing about the abode and spent their own money to improve the dwelling as if it is their own?
Not the simplest task. After trawling hundreds of listings online and off-markets, narrowing down from 3 pockets of Melbourne, we found the ONE.
Alas, after an intense, gut-wrenching, sweat-inducing strategised bidding war, we bought it. WE BOUGHT IT! Hence, here’s my happy dance on a cheerful sunny Melbourne day to celebrate on behalf of my beloved clients! Hip hip hooray!
Many of my real estate mates are telling me that if buyers bought off-the-plan apartments settling now have lost between 10-20% of values. Bank valuations are coming in lower than purchase price and resales in many pockets are difficult. Many are in the red flagged danger zones, not that buyers know as it’s not printed in the marketing brochures. Even in suburbs, it’s not spared.
However, all these are already predicted to happen back in 2010. I even posted many news back in those days. But gullible overseas (and some local) investors buy with emotions and hearsay, with limited local knowledge and independent resources. Until people lose money and make mistakes, they’ll never appreciate good advice. Nothing is new here. It’s so easy to manipulate human emotions.
“You’re the best, Erick!”
And a few versions of that is what I always hear from these clients. It always put a smile on my face.
There is so much gratitude in our message exchange daily that the word ‘thank you’ is the most common phrase used. Who would not want to work with such positive, energetic and appreciative people? It’s a dream come true.
This is one of the most memorable property purchases this year. We have experienced in-room auctions, in-situ auctions, private offers and off market inspections with the emphasis of learning about the many facets of property acquisitions from suburb explorations, site studies, comparable sales analysis, neighbourhood investigations, redevelopment potentials, architectural merits, renovation potentials, negotiation strategies, human behavioural review, market segmentation updates and well, botanical identification. As my client sometimes says, “Erick, you’re the plant encyclopaedia!”
To top off it all off, they gave the best compliments for any service-based business can receive - by recommending me to their friends. So currently I am assisting their friends in purchasing their second property in Melbourne. It is a blessing.
Dearest Cheryl and Leo, let me convey our favourite words again:
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
"Erick?" asked the real estate agent Robert Simpson when I entered this immaculately built property. He squinted his eyes and stared at me like I was a long lost brother. I took a step back. Then I returned the gaze.
"Clark Kent?!" I scrunched my eyebrows, wondered.
"Yes! It is you! I knew it!" Robert beamed the biggest smile, "It is easy to recognise you. You're the only Asian buyer's advocate out here."
Then it was like a scene from a movie. Two famous characters reunited. I was 'Tarzan' in a suit, and Robert was 'Clark Kent/ Superman' with his thick glasses. It was almost 9 months since I last hunted for properties in the City of Whitehorse. I have all sorts of nicknames for the real estate agents I meet weekly, and they have some interesting ones for me, too.
At that time, me and my beloved clients Huiting and Jeffrey had explored almost all the gems of a place in Melbourne from Yarraville to Fairfield, Blackburn to Oakleigh South. But there was no ideal match until this one. There was 2 other parties eyeing on this at the same time. To cut the long story short, we successfully done a deal with 'Clark Kent'.
"Thank you again for your help, Erick. We will definitely invite you to our housewarming. Stay tuned," invited dear client yesterday.
A new chapter, awaits.
Collected this delightful gift from Carter Real Estate today for my second Hong Kong client. My overseas clients are very successful people, mostly expats who are Australian citizens or permanent residents residing overseas. They understand identifying and acquiring high-grade properties is not a simple task, hence I was recommended to them by word-of-mouth. It is now the 10th year I have been providing this unique buying service. Thank you everyone for your support!
"May the force be with us," I sent in a blessing just before the auction. The real estate agent confirmed our competitors, including another buyer's advocate.
The right sun-orientation in a Victorian terrace is very crucial. Get it wrong and you will be living in the cold all year round. The robust interest shows that this limited inner city offering ticks the priority boxes.
"Success!" my dearest lawyer client yelled in jubilance. The force is strong within us.
Client: I want to thank you for all the hard work you have done for me in getting the property. I am so happy with the outcome and have learned a lot in the process. It has been great! I showed my parents last night and they also are very happy. I owe you for your services.
Solicitor: Congratulations on an exceptional purchase, Erick!
Building and Pest Inspector: 6 years old property. Solid, nothing major to worry about. Good property in good location.
Property Manager: Great result! High tenant appeal. Can you purchase a property like that for us too?
Mortgage Broker: Well done Erick! That is a phenomenal purchase!
Neighbour: I cannot believe they (the sellers) accepted your price. I would assume it will be at least $200,000 more!
Real Estate Agent: I hate to say this, but your client purchased this property really cheaply. You have done an amazing job for him!
Whilst the neighbour thinks that the property is worth another $200,000 more, it is not the case. This clearly shows that many people have little idea on the value of properties, and the behind-the-scenes workings of real estate selling and buying. Even licensed valuers argue among each other on their valuation findings. My professional research shows that we have purchased the property approximately $50,000 below what it is worth in the current market. But if it was purchased off-the-plan, it would have been $80,000 more. So we did extremely well in acquiring a good quality asset to include in the client's expanding property portfolio.
The key to purchasing high-grade property properly is a combination of market knowledge, insider information, high standard due diligence, negotiation skills, timing, valued connections, be emotionally intelligent and an excellent teamwork amongst consultants and clients.
"Are you a realtor? Are you a selling properties?" I get asked these questions almost daily.
"No," I replied. We are buyer's advocates/agents. We are independent and only look after the interests of the buyer. Being independent is the key word here. If one is paid by a developer or the seller, one will be bias and cannot be impartial to the buyer. Seller's agents or real estate agents, are paid by the sellers hence representing the sellers and look after their interests. Buyer's advocates work for the buyer exclusively to ensure that the buyer gets the best property, for the best price. Transforming an ordinary purchase into exceptional results, is our job. Avoiding mistakes that most buyers make, is our job. Making our clients richer, is our job. Nobody can beat what I do for them. That is the challenge. That is why I love what I do.
Thank you for the years of support from clients and friends.
Client A is my friend. So I bought a property for client A. Then client A recommended me to client B. After I bought for client B, he recommended me to client C. This weekend I'm going to bid at the auction for client C and client B agreed to come help client C without any hesitation.
It is so heartwarming that all these friends are helping each other and I am asked to help them achieve their property buying goals. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Love it!
“Congratulations again guys, let’s go outside and I will help you guys take a picture after I put the sold sticker on,” suggested Talia, the bubbly real estate agent who sold us the property. There are not many such well-located and beautifully maintained townhouses that come up on the market. Yes, it is a scarcity Grade A property that ticks all the boxes. Everyone who has seen this property wants to buy it! Imagine the competition at the auction. More than 100 people at the auction. This was a very special win, because I was bidding against another buyer advocate. Special thanks to my banker client Vicky whom I work very well with and other consultants involved, to achieve this outstanding result!
One rear 3 bedroom single storey villa home, 3 active bidders - a senior Caucasian couple, an Indian family and a Chinese family. Who won?
A expat client flew in from Asia so I took him for an auction education tour. I explained the auction game to the property investor, who was new to Melbourne's ubiquitous auction selling process.
"Make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen. We are working for our vendors, and may the best price win," announced auctioneer John from Biggin and Scott to the crowd, doing his best to solicit more bids for his client - where the asset is owned by a company structure.
My client asked the roles of real estate agents in Melbourne. I explained that here, a real estate agent is essentially a seller's agent, paid by the seller. However in other countries, a real estate agent may be considered a 'middle man', a 中介 in Chinese, where they may represent the seller and the buyer in the same transaction. But not here. It is a conflict of interests to do both in the same transaction. This concept is new to many foreign buyers and new migrants, hence, I was told that many buyers have been deceived and manipulated by some Asian real estate agents here in Melbourne, pretending to represent the buyers.
John proceeded to call for the first bid. And he got one very quickly. The Indian family bidded $1,550,000, which was the lower end of the quote of $1,550,000 - $1,650,000. The agent's bid bait strategy worked, as a good prize was offered for the first bidder, a nice bottle of wine, presented instantly to the first bidder.
There was no hesitation at all from other bidders as soon as the first bid was secured, with bids of $10,000 increments to fight off the competitions. The auction war ended at $1,715,000 and a winner was declared. No prizes for guessing which group won.
The rain poured right after the auction, I jumped into my client's rental 4WD to debrief the process to him again. He was very appreciative of the insights and mentorship I provide.
"Erick, my life now depends on you!" he said, to my amazement.
I know why I feel like a father nowadays. I have huge responsibilities on my shoulders! Bring it on.
I received distressed calls from consultants in the finance and property industry often, to rescue their clients who are about to get into trouble. These consultants care. They know that their clients need help in property buying.
When people are in love, it is hard to stop them loving. This includes properties that they have fallen in love with and you know that they are buying for emotional reasons. As a buyer advocate who protect property buyers, we have developed our own grading system and standards to assess properties. Hence, many properties will not come into our radar unless they possess intrinsic value. And we are not even talking about price.
Love is blind, they say. So are buyers who cannot control their emotions. To be fair, good value property buying is not an simple task. Many buyers are time and resource poor. When faced with the challenge of a rising market where prices are increasing by the $10,000s per week, they succumbed to pressure. When you are under pressure, you do not make the best decisions.
I was sent in by a solicitor to assist a buyer who wanted to buy this 3.5 bedroom house in Caulfield North on an allotment of 397sqm, right in front of a busy road, the tram tracks and just metres from the train tracks. I would only pay $1.3 million for it at the most, and my real estate agent mates agreed. The buyer also agreed, as that is already stretching her budget. The bidding started at $850,000 and the pace was slow. But once it hit $1.2 million, the bidding frenzy started. New bidders jumped in to fight for this 133-year old free-standing Victorian home. I stopped at our agreed ceiling price. When the bid hits $1.5 million, my buyer wanted to reenter the bidding war but was intercepted by me. She was crying. She felt like her lover being snatched by another person. She wanted to join in the fight, but with no more money in the bank. This is unwise. You do not buy something you cannot afford. In the end, the hammer fell at $1.63 million. We adjourned to a café and debriefed. The 3% stamp duty surcharge for non-resident buyers starting today have prompted my buyer to act irrationally. Luckily her best friend was there to put some sense into her. Otherwise, she would be in financial stress, or worse. “Thank you for looking after her, Erick,” said her best friend, “Luckily she has you by her side.”
Another day, another buyer saved.
"Sell up now before Balwyn North turns into a Chinese ghetto," encouraged a real estate agent, "The only buyers are the Chinese."
This seems to be a sentiment similar to Glen Waverley, where a few white families told me that they are selling up and avoiding buying in the Chinese suburbs. Unless, they're developers or speculators.
On the other hand, Asians are flocking to the so-called 'Chinese suburbs' to cash in on the hype and demand. It's no secret that the good schools are the main draw cards.
It is imperative to observe the demographic changes in each suburb over the years, and what prices properties are fetching.
At this auction on Gildan Street, Balwyn North where a site adjacent to a reserve was auctioned by Kay & Burton's Scott Patterson, a power couple introduced themselves to me.
"Erick, I heard about you from XXX. I like to be able to offer assistance and insights to buyers, a role like yourself. Many buyers are uneducated and could have done better with the money they have paid. Can we organised a catch up sometime?" a former director of the big four banks suggested.
“We have a property expert in the crowd who really know his stuffs,” announced auctioneer/director Marshall Rushford via his PA system to a congregation of fourty-odd attendees on a sunny summer Saturday morning. Apart from me, there were 3 other active bidders who wanted to purchase this ‘Diamond-in-the-Rough’.
Every time I identify a rare property I will prepare well in advanced the night before. The rarer properties will attract strong competitions whether in a rising market, or in a declining market. The challenge is to purchase a hot property at the lowest possible. This is where I have to execute my auction strategies before and during the auction. While most property investors will accept a common investment-grade property due to their limited knowledge on a wide discipline of areas, I have a long list of criteria to future-proof the investment.
“Erick, I know the vendor. I’ll do you a special favour. Would you like to purchase the property before the auction?”
“Erick, please come in. I will show you my unit so you can compare with the one you are intending to purchase.”
“Erick, I can tell you the reserve price.”
I am fortunate to have special favours offered to me from different people. I revel in the privileges and authority of being a buyer advocate. The hammer fell just a few thousands below my appraised market value. The underbidder was a neighbour who wanted another one of these spacious units that rarely comes up for sale. Thankfully for me, congratulations and celebrations are in order.
"Do not be intimidated by them, ladies and gentlemen," announced auctioneer Andrew Edwards, working hard for his client - the vendors, to sell as high a price as possible at the auction, "They are professional bidders. They represent the buyers and bid for them!"
Isn't that a lovely introduction?
For this property, we executed the "Angler's Bait & Kill" bidding strategy. The first bid was $1.35 million and the hammer fell at $1.51million... to us! :-D Congratulations to our medical doctor couple on their new home!
First auction today at Kensington. We were called in last minute yesterday to bid at this auction of a 2.75 bedroom townhouse that comes with a special levy by the owners corporation to renovate all the dilapidating balconies and faux cornices. It is only a 16 years old development and it is already falling apart.
We could not talk the buyers out of buying this low grade property but we set a low ceiling price to reflect its inferior position and accommodation. We were outbidded. A blessing in disguise. As now we can steer the buyers away from their inferior selection of properties. Interestingly, one off-market property was found right after the auction. We are the winners although we lost.
During the lunch break on a property tour, my client told me something surprising.
"You know that day you called me? I didn't tell you this but my girlfriend was in the car with me. She said she wanted to consult you about property buying after listening to our conversation," explained my client, "She really revel in the way you speak. Your voice, made her very comfortable. Very soothing."
I have never thought that my voice have such an effect, leading to a property consultation.
Erick: How big is this apartment?
RE Agent: I don't know. I can check for you later.
Erick: How does the balcony drainage work? Where does the water go?
RE Agent: No idea.
Erick: What neighbouring building is that? Will this view be blocked?
RE Agent: Hmm... No idea.
Erick: Why didn't the developer or owners corp fix up the unfinished external paint work?
RE Agent: I don't know.
Erick: Who are the main occupants in this building?
RE Agent: All kinds of people.
Erick: That's useful to know. What is the owner occupier and investor ratio?
RE Agent: What's that?
Erick: Are you trying to sell the property to me?
RE Agent: Yes.
Luckily, I'm in a good mood today.
What happens when we have lucky double eights on a Saturday? A date such as 8/8 will appeal to the Chinese as they are golden numbers.
Interestingly, both of the auctions that I attended last weekend have Caucasian buyers bidding in the “8” increments rather than the Chinese. A hippie bloke with a hoodie sat on the planter box bidded “$888,888” in Carlton. The property eventually sold for $1,047,000.
Meanwhile in North Melbourne, the atmosphere was tensed. An alluring property I shared last week was about to go under the hammer. This is a townhouse that can arouse our senses, whether it is the architecturally sculpted space, materiality or the styling. Definitely the best townhouse on that street, if not in the vicinity. It is obvious. On a wet day, the other townhouses built around the same time already looked tired and weathered but this one stood out looking really good – like it had a dose of anti-aging serum. One can feel the finesse on the facade, with the silky smooth pre-fab tilt panel concrete and the detailing of the joints – things an architecturally-trained eye like mine will pick up quickly. Inside, the premium Carrara marble, silken polished concrete, luminous Victorian Ash and solid Royal American Oak caress our receptors. No expense is spared as it is conceived, designed and constructed by its builder and designer owners. Not your average townhouse developed to be flogged off to the masses. For the lucky buyer, this is a masterpiece that has been built with passion and infused with delight.
Quoted at $1.1 million plus, this 3 2 2 profile property on an allotment of 283sqm attracted a crowd of more than 100 people. Porsches, Mercedes and a host of sports cars lined the streets. Woodards auctioneer Anthony Gattuso did not waste any time lighting up the fire in the crowd with an auspicious bid of $1,188,000 from a Caucasian bidder. From then onwards, the bidding war became fast and ferocious. A total of 8 bidders fought hard to get a piece of the action. Surprise bids came from every direction. Eventually, the hammer fell to the highest bid from a Caucasian family, who ‘killed off’ other competitions with their $1,710,000 bid. After the auction, the ‘wounded’ bidders were seen lingering in groups debriefing in disappointments. Such was the magnetism of this property that even the underbidders didn’t want to leave after their defeat. Amazing.
Auctioneer: ... Make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen. Buying a piece of real estate is the best investment. It will never go down in value. ...
This statement is deceptive. Obviously you can't say real estate will never go down in value. In my property research work, I've seen many properties that have gone down in value. Some buyers even managed to purchase properties cheaper than what the vendor paid for them a few years ago. Mansions, apartments and townhouses in blue chip areas included. When buyers are not careful, they make a lot of mistakes. And they're costly too. They're just too embarrassed to tell anyone. So you hardly hear about them.