PHONEY BIDDING

Mystery bidders who never seem to buy.

I attended an in-room auction last Saturday run by Ray White Surfers Paradise to see a property that was in my neighbourhood.

I noticed that, as the bidding started for each property, an agent ran to the front corner of the room and started bidding with a phone held up to his ear.

This got me thinking……if I was encouraged to pre-register my intention to bid, was the mystery phone bidder required to do the same?

I only watched the first few properties go up for sale but each time bids seemed to come via a phone from the front of the room.

They had also set up a land line in the same front right hand corner of the room, placed in the centre of a small table covered by a table cloth, very formally presented for all to see. At times there was an agent on the land line and another beside him using his mobile. They were putting on a great show.

I got thinking further….. Why is the phone bidder never the successful buyer?

The 1st property was sold to a lady in the room after at least 1 or 2 bids from the mystery phone bidder.

The 2nd property was passed in to another mystery phone bidder for $500,000 after the highest bid in the room was $440,000. The people in the room were aghast when the $500,000 bid was announced; surely this is the killer bid from some high powered person too busy to attend the auction, $60,000 above the previous bid, (this will buy it for sure we all thought), but alas it was passed in at $500,000, (at least that is what the newspapers may report).

I don’t recall the full details of the 3rd property, but I do recall that the front of the room (with the the mystery high powered phone) always had some action happening. The property was passed in after it was obvious there was not much interest.

The 4th auction was the property I had come to see. Bidding from the room quickly progressed to about $320,000 where things started to slow.

This is where the phone bidder started getting in on the action again…

$330,000 from the phone bidder, $340,000 from a bidder in the room, $350,000 from the phone bidder again.

The young couple in the room were starting to show the strain – $351,000 they told the auctioneer which he refused, saying he would only take $5,000 rises from here (when they asked why, the auctioneer gave some lame story accusing them of attempting to slow down the bidding)… $355,000 they announced and within seconds $360,000 came from the phone bidder. [Unlike the young couple, the phone bidder was behaving].

After trying hard to get the young couple to increase their bid (they refused), the property was passed in to the phone bidder at $360,000.

That was enough for me, I left.

The next morning a SOLD sticker was on the sign for the property that was passed in at $360,000.

“I bet the couple in the room bought it and the phone bidder somehow missed out again,” said the cynical voice in my head.

I guess I will find out when the new owner moves in. In the meantime I might visit the next Ray White auction day and see if this mystery phone bidder finally gets lucky and buys a property.

“I doubt it”…..…oh, there goes that voice again.

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I am sure the phoney bidders are all genuine and that Ray White Surfers Paradise would never deceive the public.

I am sure, also, that if you go along to their next auction, you will see lots of properties sold to phoney bidders; sorry, I mean bidders on the phone.

Neil Jenman.

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