Auction competitions yield tangible results

Auctioneering competitions, such as the one held internally by Victorian group Stockdale & Leggo late last week, can help drive more auctions even in areas more attuned to private sales, one novice auctioneer has told Real Estate Business.

“Your only obstacle is yourself,” said competition participant and novice auctioneer, Mary Argiris, in relation to agents who might be thinking about learning to become an auctioneer.

Ms Argiris, from the group's Epping office, said agents interested in becoming auctioneers must have a passion and desire in order to succeed. The northern Melbourne-based agent, whose territory is primarily private sale oriented, said an intense training program and the competition offered by Stockdale & Leggo had given her the confidence to conduct auctions.

Ms Argiris, who has seven years experience as a sales agent, has conducted two auctions to date, with the most recent one in Thomastown fetching $20,000 above reserve.

Her success at this auction had already yielded strong interest from other vendors and buyers, something she admits can be hard to garner in an area dominated by mature vendors and first home buyers more attuned to private sales.

Being able to conduct auctions now gave her an extra tool to use at listings presentations, and she found more vendors were willing to consider an auction once they understood the benefits it could deliver, which included the removal of the cooling-off period, she said.

“It’s important that our group keeps quality auctioneers coming through our ranks,” Darren Barlow, general manager at Stockdale & Leggo, said in relation to the group's auctioneering competition.

The competition, which was held at the group’s Melbourne corporate office, featured four novice and five senior competitors in two separate competitions.

The four novice entrants were Costa Calaitzis, from the Mt Waverley office; Andy Reid from Cranbourne; Ms Argiris; and Claude Alain Staub from Tecoma.

The seniors’ battle featured Peter Varellas from Carlton; Chris Gillham from Frankston; George Draskas from Mt Waverley; Rob Llanos from Werribee; and Peter Travlos from Taylors Lakes.

James Wardrop, Stockdale & Leggo’s training manager, said it was “great to see the quality of our lesser experienced novice auctioneers really starting to shine through.”

Ms Argiris said the hardest part of conducting an auction is handling the bidding process, as well as performing in front of people.

“It’s daunting for [new] people, for both males and females alike,” she said.

She didn’t know why there were such a low number of female auctioneers – industry estimates have the number at less than two per cent. But she couldn’t see why females couldn’t succeed, and she would love to see more women entering the industry.

The event was judged by Peter White from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV), and the winners will be announced at the group’s annual awards ceremony, which is scheduled for November.

Peter Thomas, the group’s CEO, said “the standard of the competitors was very high.”

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