The Block proves competition’s tough

SOME WIN, SOME LOSE: Contestants of The Block 2014. Set in Melbourne, the show may have proved that the housing market in that city is cooling.THE Block Glasshouse auction last Sunday night illustrated the highs and lows of renovating to sell.

Two contestant couples had a stunning result, selling hundreds of thousands of dollars above reserve, while the other three struggled to reach the reserve, eventually selling for just a tad over.

For the latter, it was a lot of hard work and a long time away from family and jobs for little result.

But as Scotty Cam said on the night – from The Block’s perspective – the show was a competition to win $100,000.

Anything more the couples took home above that was a bonus.

Three couples, though, were very disappointed – and understandably so.

I wonder if the reserves set on all of the apartments were a little optimistic. Watching each auction, it certainly appeared so.

Perhaps the take home is that the Melbourne property market is coming off the boil.

It will be interesting to see the location of the next Block in 2015.

Newy would be just perfect!

Are silent sales good?

IF you were selling your car, how would you go about marketing it? Would you give it to a dealer or sell it yourself?

Either way, would your marketing strategy aim to hit the widest target market, or would you adopt a narrow marketing strategy to save on costs?

It’s an interesting question vendors of property face every time they decide to sell.

If they are a supporter of a wider marketing campaign, encompassing database, web and print, their agent could actively steer towards a multi-platform strategy.

But if they are not, they could advocate what is called a “silent listing”.

What that means is that they only want to market towards their database clients and they may not even advocate signage.

This can be a good strategy if you have reasons for hiding that you are selling. Celebrities are a good example of people who go for silent sales. Also, people who are fearful of neighbours or the general public finding out their personal business.

This can sometimes be in times of stress, such as divorce or bankruptcy.

But generally, are silent listings a good idea?

One thing to consider is whether or not the agent’s database is as large as they claim, or if it is up to date with genuine, ready-to-buy, qualified buyers.

Managing large databases and keeping them current takes manpower, so it pays to ask the question: how current is your database and what strategies do you have in place to ensure buyers are still active?

Databases are constantly evolving so take careful note of their answer.

People buy, opt to drop out of the market for a while or even choose other locations to focus on. Hence agents need to be contacting prospective database clients at least weekly to ensure the database remains current.

Do the numbers. If the agency employs five agents and claims to have 2000 active database clients, that is 400 calls each a week.

How do they achieve that, given much of their week involves showing property for sale or chasing up details for sales that have already occurred and new listings?

So while a silent sale can sound like a good idea, the question always has to be: will a narrow marketing strategy achieve as good a result as a multi-platform approach?

The adage – “you can’t sell a secret” – is still relevant.