A Tale of an Auction – Open for inspection – The Advertising Campaign theirs and ours.


“ Open for inspection “.

Think about it. Your home – is open – for inspection.

For anybody. To inspect. They do not necessarily wish to buy it. In fact, in our experience this particular time, the majority of those ‘inspecting’ had no intention of buying. I know, because I was there – observing.

It is an experience to be endured. We  lived it for 4 weeks. Twice weekly we made the short walk to nearby Lygon Street, to be absent for an hour, whilst Sir Guy of Lancelot showed prospective buyers through the apartment. An apartment that sparkled. I was very pleased at the presentation I achieved for all the eager potential and excited buyers. Fresh flowers bloomed in every room, the coffee perked and bubbled quietly in the corner, creating a delicious aroma. Candles created atmosphere, highlighting the joys of a spa bath. In the background, Harry Connick Jnr crooned, alternated with classical music hinting at sunrises and the coming of Spring. Those songs today take me back immediately to that time, as if I was whisked there by time machine, back into the past. I remember calling Sir Guy from our coffee place, to please remember to blow out that damn candle!

The advertising campaign took flight.

Greg’s DIY marketing campaign:

Not content to sit back and leave everything in the hands of a professional agency, which was “NOT FROM THE AREA”, Greg had his own plans on boosting our profile and visibility. The professionals placed well constructed advertisements in major newspapers and local papers, created in-house brochures, glossy and clear and placed photos in their own window.

Greg’s plan involved something entirely different and most unfortunate. For our hard working and innocently unaware agent.

He began to sneak out , under cover of darkness, 3 or 4 am sometimes, furtively placing our high quality, glossy color brochures or fliers, on every vacant shop front, from Lygon Street to the City, through suburbs on the outer fringe, in high pedestrian corridors, along Chapel Street, South Yarra to Hawthorn. They were glue sticked on to the glass.

It is comforting to know that our police patrols are out and about, cruising the mean streets and looking for suspicious characters, lurking around vacant buildings in the dark, whilst the rest of we normal people are sleeping – or in my case, sitting up all night worrying! It would have been illuminating to have a police scanner available on those nights. e.g “ Check out dodgy character with armful of glossy brochures and glue stick “.

I felt mildly uncomfortable with these nocturnal activities, but he was on a mission for the common good. I decided not to mention this to anyone, least of all our unsuspecting Sir Guy. Alas, he quickly found out.

The calls began next day, from irate building owners and their agents, demanding that the offending brochures be removed immediately. Our poor Sir Guy, completely oblivious, had to fend off the increasing calls until finally having to leave the office, in another area, to drive himself around and check up on what exactly the angry ones were talking about.

He thought his competitors were doing this to harrass us! The slight discomfort I felt now became slight embarrassment.

Afterwards, he told us he had a laugh about it. Probably with co-workers – at the pub – yeah – hilarious! With them all sympathising on what he had taken on with us! Another lesson in real estate had been learned.

Never put one agent’s advertising on another agent’s window ( see The Board).

A few days previously, before we were found out, Greg had proudly showed me, in daylight, the trail of advertising he had posted all over Melbourne. I pointed out, with dismay and growing alarm, the FOR LEASE signs on these targeted empty shops, with the leasing agents details. “ I didn’t notice “ he said. “ It was dark at the time!” The uneasiness grew.

Fortunately, he did not have to repeat his furtive, night time activities. Most of the offending brochures vanished, as if by magic. By the next morning sunrise, there was no sign. The windows were clear.

Whether this technique boosted interest in our property remains unknown. I understand that the eventual buyer came from an outer suburb, a suburb with a line of gleaming windows just ripe for graffiti of a paper trail nature… we will never know for sure. The way things were going, anything would help. The lack of serious buyers was alarming. Where were they?

Their marketing campaign:

By this stage, there was a definite sense of unease. Something wasn’t right. Yes, there had been quite a few people through, including a neighbour I sent in specifically to give me feedback on the way everything looked – and check if the candle was out! She reported back positively. In general however, the hordes we expected, weren’t appearing. Those who wanted to downsize, those appreciating the inner-city lifestyle, the yuppies, the latte lovers, the chardonnay sippers, those who wanted easy access to the City, the coffee smellers, the restaurant lovers – they were absent.

Our high expectations were being pounded. Gloom descended.

We did not regret our choice of an agent “NOT FROM THE AREA”. He was hard working, professional – and drove a nice car!

I was convinced that our positive attitude would result in the best outcome but as Auction Day approached, Greg took on a strained look and refused to discuss his feelings. It became more difficult to stay positive. We struggled to maintain a united front, as back to back, like Conan and Zena warrior princess ( we liked sword and sorcery movies ) we prepared for the onslaught.

The Auction.

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