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Half auction, half private sale: new selling method gathers pace

25 March 2014 Steven Cross

After struggling to introduce auctions to his neighbourhood one agent has devised a new method of sale, which he claims combines the flexibility of a private sale and the transparency of an auction.

Raine&Horne Narre Warren South's Alex Bartolo and his wife, Maureen, have spent 10 months devising the new method of sale, which they call ‘AucSale’.

“In 75 per cent of Australia, auctions don’t work,” Mr Bartolo told Real Estate Business.

“Inner Sydney, inner Melbourne and certain suburbs in metro areas, it’s great and you wouldn’t do anything else. But then there’s the rest of Australia, including our area, where auctions don’t work.”

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AucSale works by allowing home buyers to bid for the right to put an offer in writing.

“The highest bidder puts the offer in and the offer is subject to building and pest and finance. It has a cooling off period and they pay a deposit of $1,000," Mr Bartolo explained.

“Unlike auction you don’t need 10 per cent, it’s not unconditional, and you can do the building and pest afterwards. So you get all the conditions and flexibility of a private treaty sale, with the openness and transparency of an auction.”

After successfully selling nine properties through the system, Mr and Mrs Bartolo took out an innovative patent, trademarks and copyright on the method and have made it available for other agents.

“We’ve got two agencies in different suburbs that have signed up as members. Each office pays $99 a month and we’ve got a few more offers lined up too. We've had really good feedback from them, and hopefully we'll see other agents join in,” Mr Bartolo said.

While the system is primarily a way to create urgency in a private sale, Mr Bartolo claimed efficiency is not sacrificed.

“I’ve been asked what happens if the offer falls over in finance, and I just say ‘Well what happens if a private sale falls over?’ It’s the same thing,” he said.

As sales director of Raine&Horne Narre Warren South in Victoria, Mr Bartolo has previously used unorthodox auction methods including ‘reverse auctions’, which have seen varying success over the past decade.

Half auction, half private sale: new selling method gathers pace
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