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Auction fizzer as 112-year-old house on massive block fails to attract one bid

An agent and the auctioneer discussed next moves after no-one made a bid. Copyright: Orange News Examiner on-the-spot photo.

By Peter Holmes

A two-bedroom house on a 1,619 square metre block in Orange went to auction on Saturday morning at 11 o'clock, attracting a crowd of about 30 people, and no bids.

The circa 1910 house, opposite Thomson's Garden Centre on McLachlan Street, was being sold by The Professionals and had a listed price guide of $900,000.

The young auctioneer did his best to rev up the crowd, but his efforts were in vain.

Each time he asked the registered bidders, of which there only appeared to be a handful, to get the ball rolling, he was met with silence.

"I'll take something low and cheap," he said at one point.

"You know the [price] guide. It's been well-communicated throughout the entirety of the campaign. Sir, out the back, what do you think? I'll take an eight [$800,000], low and cheap."


"Pull me up before I give it away folks - 790, 780, 770. What do you think guys? 760, 750, before I give it away. Sir, out the back, what do you think at those sorts of levels?"

Whatever he was thinking of those sorts of levels, it didn't involve raising his hand to make an opening bid.

"Get me underway here today folks," the auctioneer urged.

"Calling 750 for a start. Low and cheap guys. Fantastic property, I can guarantee you we will sell today, whether you buy it under the auction hammer today or [to the highest bidder] under the sole rights of negotiation, folks. Give yourself a chance here today.

No bids. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

"Fair and reasonable, what do you think sir in front, sir out the back, what do you think?"

Agents attached themselves to the sirs, but whatever they said didn't inspire any movement.

"I need your help guys here today if you want to buy the property ... gotta be a dollar in it here today."

Left without options, the auctioneer took advice and opened with a seller's bid of $870,000.

He then started speaking rapidly in that way auctioneer's do. This was what the rubberneckers had come to see.

"Eight-seventy's-the-call-870's-a-bid-a-bid-a-bid-a-70's-a-bid-a-bid-now," he began, adding: "What do you think sir? The moment's upon you now."

It was an impressive performance, but did nothing to get the bid-a-bids flowing.

He gave the machine gun bid-a-bids another go, to no avail, before reinforcing the point that the property would be sold today.

"Don't miss this opportunity ... guys directly in front, what do you think at $870,000? Sir out the back, at 870? You know the price guide, from the get-go, what do you think sir can we tempt you in?"

Sir was not to be tempted.

The "bid-a-bid-a-bids" were wheeled out one final time.

"Here we go ladies and gentlemen, I'll give you fair warning," the auctioneer said, "we are about to pass the property aside if we don't receive a further bid."

With no nibbles he said "we will be passing the property aside for $870,000; thank you for your attendance, I can't thank you for your bidding though, but best of luck in your negotiations".

The property was pitched as "bursting with potential for a modern makeover".

It would suit someone who wanted a huge backyard, or, more likely, someone wanting to try and subdivide or build townhouses (subject to council approval).

"The single-level layout of this period home has two spacious carpeted bedrooms off the gun-barrel hallway, the master with built in robes and second bedroom with ornate timber and tile fireplace," the sales spiel said.

"The comfortable, carpeted living room, also with high ceilings and decorative fireplace, sits adjacent to an eat-in kitchen in original condition with loads of storage.

"A good-sized bathroom, separate toilet and laundry are towards the rear of this quaint home which invites an imaginative make-over or re-model."


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