5 Mins With Australasia's Leading Auctioneer

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5 Mins With Australasia's Leading Auctioneer

If you’ve ever attended one of our auctions, you’ve witnessed Justin Nickerson in action.  Justin is an Auctioneer and the Director at Apollo Auctions.  With a list of industry awards a mile long, it’s any wonder he is formally recognised as the leading auctioneer across Australasia.  Oh and, Justin is the only Australian to win the Australasian Auctioneer of the Year twice in the history of the award too. That’s a big deal.  

Not only is Justin an incredibly successful and a highly regarded auctioneer, working with Justin is a professional and enjoyable experience.  Auctions are both an exciting and nerve racking experience and Justin goes well beyond the realms of expectations for First National and we love working with him so much that we grabbed hold of Justin recently to get an insight into his world as an auctioneer.  

TEAM WILDERMOTH: Thanks for your time Justin, we know you’re a busy man.  First, tell us how you fit in your Auction Schedule, TV appearances, being the Director of Apollo Auctions, a GAVL Spokesperson and general life?

JUSTIN:  I have a very good administration team, Jessie who is my administration Manger has been with me for 4 years, so she's probably the guru or the secret behind making sure I’m in the right place at the right time, she doesn’t let me touch my own diary, because if I do that, I tend to be in two places at once which is never a good thing.  

I also think having a balance to your life is really important, I’m a big advocate of having time away and making sure it's proper time away and I try to do that as much as I can.  

I also try to stay fit, healthy and active, because I also believe a healthy mind translates to a healthy performance.  So, that’s probably the secret, and just in general being busy is a good thing, I’d much rather be busy than the alternative that’s for sure. 

TW:  For all those aspiring Auctioneers out there, tell us how you started your career and how you got to where you are?  

JUSTIN: My career started with a company up in Sandgate where I sold real estate for 4 years. We see this as really integral for auctioneers to get to that next level because it gives you a really big holistic understanding of auctioneering and particularly the strategy and negotiation that goes in behind it.  So, I sold for 4 years then decided that auctioneering was going to be something that I wanted to entertain and pursue. I spent some time growing, learning and following other auctioneers around. I did both selling and auctioneering for little while, which is a difficult thing to do if you want to be really achieving in two fields, it’s quite hard to do that, so then became a full-time auctioneer which I have been doing for almost 8 years.

TW:  We’ve seen dozens of Auctions and the difference in watching one of your auctions is that you really look like you love it! Your energy, quick wit and ability to engage the crowd is remarkable.   What’s your secret?  

JUSTIN: I’m not sure I’ve nailed the secret yet, but we say the key ingredients are, you need to be proficient with numbers, so you clearly need to be able to add up, because if you can’t add up then the whole thing can go to pieces pretty quickly. So having good mathematical ability is probably the foundational point.  But really the key thing is being able to think on your feet, what we do is react to everything that's going on around us, in essence we’re a commentator, we’re just commentating what is flowing in front of us.  What we do with the training, is say to people the key word that you’re looking for is engagement.  If you can engage the crowd and engage the bidders, people are going to walk away with a positive experience and when your representing someone’s brand, as we do, then that’s really important for us. 

TW: When you assess the crowd at an auction, can you spot the person most likely to deliver the winning bid?  

JUSTIN: I’m not sure if I can ever spot the person who is most likely to deliver the winning bid, there’s definitely some tricks and techniques that we have that can help us identify people we think are serious about bidding. But there are sometimes different styles that can come in that too, there’s the dark horse you think might sit back and wait or there’s the people who are really aggressive and go after the property right from the start. So, I’m not sure if I can spot the person most likely to deliver the winning bid, but I definitely think I can spot a person who is likely to bid, whether they end up being the winner or not.  

TW: Can you tell when a bidder has more gas in the tank after it all goes quiet? 

JUSTIN: Sometimes we can tell if a bidders has more gas in the tank, but again it’s a hugely emotional decision in a lot of cases and sometimes that can be a relationship thing as well where there are two parties, where one stops and one wants to keep going, so I think that you can have a pretty good idea when a buyer has hit their limit or is getting pretty close to their limit.   But again, if they’re really strategic about it and they try and misguide you with their instructions or their intentions, then they can catch you by surprise.

Image (Left): 111 Tallebudgera Drive, Palm Beach QLD 4221 - Onsite Auction.
Image (Right):
 Justin Nickerson in action, calling the auction at 111 Tallebudgera Drive, Palm Beach. Auction day saw 18 bidders register and multiple bids, finally closing at a record price in front of a crowd of 100+ onlookers.

TW: What are some of the benefits to auctioning a property as opposed to a private treaty sale?  

JUSTIN: How long do you have?? I think the key ones at the moment are transparency in the transaction, so as a buyer you actually have transparency in seeing who your competition is. But also as a seller you also have transparency in seeing who your buyers are, that transparency can add confidence, and confidence is a good thing when it comes to real estate transactions.  I think at the moment, the cash unconditional contract is super important because that’s a really critical element, because in this circumstance, finance clauses are quite a risky proposition, so for a seller having a cash contract and having a set date reducing days on market are probably the key reasons why in this market place an auction plays such a valuable role.

TW: What are some of the motivating factors for a vendor when deciding that an auction is the way to go? 

JUSTIN: Some of the motivating factors for a vendor should be wanting to limit their days on market, but most of all not wanting to make a pricing mistake.  The problem you sometimes have when you enter the market with a price is, you’re really crossing your fingers and hoping as a strategy.  Auction actually allows you a platform to take the price away from the property, see what unfolds across the next 21 or 28 days and then commit to a price once you’ve actually researched the market before that point.  I think that’s probably the key motivating factor for a vendor in this market place, is that removing that uncertainty on price and simply letting the transaction take care of itself. 

TW: Technology and social media has changed the game in real estate over the last few years, how has this changed specifically for auctions?   

JUSTIN: Technology is starting to play a bigger part, there’s a number of live streaming apps, in particular there’s an app called GAVL that we work pretty closely with who do a lot of live streaming, allowing bidders to register and bid through the app.  This also allows bidders and sellers to actually watch in and see how auctions are unfolding.  I think it will continue to be an evolution, I’m not sure it will ever replace the human element which is pretty important, but I think it will continue to add on and create again that word transparency.  So, if you’re phone bidder these days you can actually watch it through the app which gives you an extra layer of involvement at the auction as opposed to just simply being on the other end of the phone and relying on that person who might be your conduit is telling you. 

TW: Have you got an all-time favorite auction?  

JUSTIN: All-time favourite auction, there’s probably a few. There’s been a couple of really memorable ones on the Gold Coast, we’ve done a couple on Hedges Avenue that have achieved pretty high prices which had a lot of interest and when it’s in that sort of market place, it’s a pretty exciting auction to call.  I think any auction that has a lot of bidding, or that has a narrative where you can have the villain and the hero where there’s a struggle between good and bad, I think are the ones that you most enjoy.  

Learn more about Justin Nickerson and his team at Apollo Auctions:

Justin Nickerson | Director
Mobile: 0423 843 194
Facebook @apolloauctionaus
YouTube @Apollo Auctions

by Rhys Wildermoth

5 Mins With Australasia's Leading Auctioneer April 2019
First National Palm Beach
Cnr of 6th Ave & Cypress Terrace, Palm Beach, QLD 4221

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