Agent sells ‘unlivable’ house $560,000 above reserve

An experienced agent has worked his database of buyer’s agents to turn a dangerously derelict home into Melbourne’s best auction result.

Nick Johnstone from Nick Johnstone Real Estate sold a 919-square-metre block of land in Brighton for $3.16 million by pitting his Chinese buyer agent contacts against his network of local developers, achieving Melbourne’s best auction result last weekend.

The property, which contained a derelict three-bedroom house, had a reserve of $2.6 million.

“There was a really old, decrepit weatherboard house that was unlivable,” Mr Johnstone told REB.

“We didn't even open the house up during inspection because it was a bit dangerous and the whole thing could collapse.”

Mr Johnstone said his agency called more than 1,000 people from its database, primarily developers and international contacts.

“We actually ended up selling it to one of our overseas clients from mainland China and that just came as a direct result of our database marketing,” he said.

“The competition at the auction was between developers and this international buyer.”

Mr Johnstone said he has built up his database with people he’s worked with over the past 10 years, many of them developers and buyer’s agents for Chinese investors.

“As soon as we get a new listing, we send out a blast to our entire database to just tell them about the property and give them a link to the listing, so they can see if it’s something they’re looking for,” he said.

According to Mr Johnstone, his company has been building up its database of Chinese buyer’s agents for years and also has a staff member, Jason Zhu, who is fluent in Mandarin.

“This buyer couldn’t speak any English at all, so Jason had to talk to him in Mandarin; it worked out well,” he said.

“Jason works with us part-time since he’s more on the finance side of the business, but he’s worked with me for about four years and he has a lot of contacts in China and locals who are Chinese, so he’s certainly a good contact to have.”

[Related: Agent entices buyers with harsh truths and $10K reserve]

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