Why Real Estate Agents Failed The Industry By Holding Auctions On AFL Grand Final Saturday

The AFL Grand Final is one of Australia’s biggest sporting events. A day where most people spend time relaxing with friends, having a barbeque, and watching the big game, especially if you’re in Melbourne. It’s not a day you usually associate with thinking about real estate (unless you’re me).

That’s why I was incredibly surprised, and a little embarrassed for my industry, to see real estate auctions on AFL Grand Final day.

Do the agents have a strategy behind it, or did they just forget to check their calendars? According to Australian Property Monitors, there were 32 reported auctions on September 28, of those, 25 sold and one was withdrawn, with a clearance rate of 75.8 per cent.

Property commentators reported that the strong clearance rate was fairly consistent with previous weeks. But the figure that stood out to me was the one that was not discussed or analysed — the average median sale price.

See the September stats as provided by Australian Property Monitors:

The median house price on Grand Final day was significantly less than the previous weeks. This clearly suggests that comparable results weren’t achieved – in this case, because potential buyers cared more about the football. Just imagine what the figure would have been if two Victorian teams made it!

Holding an auction on Grand Final day is doing a disservice to the seller, and the entire industry. It also goes against the goal of a property agent – to get the vendor the best possible price for their property. But it’s not just Grand Final day we can learn this valuable lesson from.

Our calendars have quite a few weekends and days that should be avoided at all costs. This can even be specific to certain suburbs, depending on their demographics and who your target buyers are.

For example, you’ll find some agents around Caulfield and St Kilda holding more inspections and auctions on Sundays to cater for the larger Jewish community whose Sabbath falls on the Saturday. They also avoid having auctions on Jewish holidays, which may affect the turnout and the final price.

With the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and the Festive Season fast approaching, my advice is to plan your campaigns carefully and avoid any dates which may keep potential buyers away from the auctions.

It is the duty of a selling agent to ensure the market for each property is as wide as possible, catering to the needs of as many bidders as possible. We operate in a fairly free market with lots of supply and stable demand.

Every time an auction becomes an inconvenience for a potential buyer, you are reducing your pool of demand, because the buyer always has plenty of other properties in mind. Whenever you reduce demand, you reduce your selling price.

It’s far better to anticipate specific days and events with vendors before the campaign starts, and be aware of what events are coming up within your community. Diligent planning around the date of any property auction can have a significant positive impact on the end result.

I might be a little more passionate about real estate than others, but there’s a lot everyone can learn from the mistakes made on AFL Grand Final day this year. If you’re selling your property, make sure your agent doesn’t make any of these mistakes!

Some dates to definitely avoid for your next auction:

1. AFL Grand Final Day
2. NRL Grand Final Day
3. Federal Election Day
4. State elections for respective states
5. St. Kilda Festival (and other events like this that cripple traffic in your area)
6. Religious holidays, depending on the area
7. Long weekends, as many people leave the city

Marcel Dybner is an experienced real estate agent and expert industry commentator. He is currently Business Development Manager for Thomson Real Estate.

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