Agent exploits astonishing luck for clever campaign

An auction for an otherwise ordinary home has been turned into an extraordinary event – all thanks to one office’s shrewd marketing idea.

A remarkable series of coincidences has allowed Jellis Craig Armadale to create a campaign that is ideally suited to the Chinese buyers who are prominent in Camberwell, where the listing is based.

The three-bedroom brick veneer home is at 888 Riversdale Road, Camberwell. Chinese regard the number eight as lucky, so the auction has been scheduled for 8 August, or the eighth of the eighth.

Damien Davis, who is managing the sale, said Camberwell and surrounding suburbs are increasingly popular with Chinese immigrants and Australian-born Chinese.

“We thought it was just an ideal opportunity to get as many eights into the program as we could,” he told REB.

“The number eight is a lucky number for the Chinese and they will deliberately do bids with eight in them and ask for bids with eight in them.”

Mr Davis said that Jellis Craig has Chinese liaison officers who liaise with Mandarin-speaking buyers, and who are also active on WeChat, the popular Chinese messaging app.

The Camberwell property is being advertised on AC Property, a portal that lists Australian properties in Chinese. Mandarin-speaking staff will also attend the auction to help people bid.

“When we know we're going to have a property that's going to be popular with the Chinese community, we'll have staff there at the open for inspection and specifically on auction day,” Mr Davis said.

“Sometimes we have a whiteboard where the bids are. But we also have staff who will go to anyone in the crowd who's struggling. We'll usually know in advance who's going to have difficulty, because we've talked to them during the campaign.”

Mr Davis said the property meets three key criteria for traditional Chinese – it is feng shui compliant, and is not situated on the low side of the street or opposite a T-junction.

“I think the eighth of the eighth is going to be a really popular weekend with the Chinese community,” he said.

“If we’re ever going to find out if Chinese are interested, we're going to on that day.”

[Related: Jellis Craig sidesteps into China]

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