When an Agent Plays Games, Another Will Play Ball

This week was another exciting week for me and my clients in general, though there was one purchase that stood out among the rest.

I had the pleasure of working with a delightful couple who are expecting their first child in early February.

They were keen to find a home in the Bayside to Cheltenham area with three bedrooms, an ensuite, a good modern kitchen and bathroom, and enough land for their bub to play outside in the next few years. They were hoping for something in the mid $500,000 range.

I had my work cut out for me, but I knew we’d get along throughout the journey. The hardest part was knowing that the clock was ticking. They wanted to settle well before the baby arrived (no pressure!).

Our Search for the Right Property in Cheltenham

We canvassed three bedroom villa units, large two bedroom properties with enough extra living space to create a third bedroom, and three bedroom townhouses. We really did turn over a lot of stones. 

Interestingly, my couple identified a lovely renovated three bedroom, two bathroom double storey property in Cheltenham’s Pagewood Park; a late 1970s subdivision featuring co-joined homes in a secure, neat and tidy development. Facilities include a pool, visitor’s parking and a tennis court.

Admittedly I was concerned about the price tag of such a property. After looking at comparable sales in the development, I saw that the last sale took place months ago, on a less renovated property that went for more than $550,000.

I was fearful that our superior property, which was in a stronger market and had a well-run campaign, would yield a higher result, particularly with low owners’ corporation fees and moderated rates.

Keeping Our Options Open

In an effort to keep our options open and to maintain my clients’ optimistic spirits, I took a day out of the office and accompanied them to five other properties.

“I was particularly keen to ensure they explored Mordialloc so they could consider the potential of the lovely suburb.”

I challenged their target areas of Cheltenham and Highett and planned some inspections in Mordialloc and Parkdale.

I was particularly keen to ensure they explored Mordialloc so they could consider the potential of the lovely suburb. The vibrant town is rife with historical beachfront properties, and its high street by the beach features an array of cafes and restaurants. It even has a ‘BYO food’ wine bar.

What We Found in Mordialloc

We did in fact find a great townhouse on Mordialloc’s Barkly Street, but it only had two bedrooms.

We had to factor in renovation costs for the creation of a third bedroom off the second living area; something that seemed easy but would no doubt attract additional costs.

With a private sale asking price of $530,000 to $580,000, I did my research and offered $555,000. The agent countered at $585,000, which was $5000 above the top of the private sale quote range.

At that point I KNEW I was in for games. And games I got. He didn’t return my calls, he went underground, he suggested it was too early for the vendor to consider our price even though the property had been on the market long enough to have a price decrease…

Making a Decision

Rather than go head-to-head with the agent, I explained that we would make the decision to go for the originally identified auction property in Cheltenham if we didn’t get a fair counter offer from him by Thursday lunchtime.

“At that point I KNEW I was in for games. And games I got.”

Of course, we didn’t. He didn’t make contact with us until Friday at 5.30pm. By that stage, we’d conducted a building inspection, contract review and full appraisal of the auction property and we were committed.

My last conversation with the Mordialloc agent was an interesting one. He argued that my clients would need a substantially higher budget than the price I’d offered him for his townhouse if we were to stand a chance on the purchase of the Cheltenham property (which he’d looked up).

I thought this might actually be the case too – but we had nothing to lose other than the building inspection cost, and my buyers were keen to give it a shot.

The Big Auction

On Saturday I stood outside 20 Everest Drive, while my buyers nervously positioned themselves on the opposite side of the crowd. There were four bidders, including me, but my only bid was the last bid and we still were still under reserve.

I got the right to go inside to negotiate. Justifiably, the reserve was $570,000. After a few rounds of to-ing and fro-ing, we arrived on the terms we had hoped for and secured the property for $560,000.

My buyers were delighted.

Better still, the agent with the Mordialloc property was in the crowd. Maybe he thought I was bluffing… or lying… or playing games?

No games. I was just focused on buying a great property for two fabulous clients.

For more information about Cheltenham, read our suburb profile here.

Points of Interest in Cheltenham, Postcode 3192

Cheltenham Primary School
Cheltenham Secondary College
Kingston City Council

About the Author

Cate Bakos is an independent buyers advocate and qualified property investment advisor and has proudly been a property investor for 17 years. Cate has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry (Hons), Certificate 4 in Property Services (Real Estate), a Certificate 4 in Financial Services (Mortgage Broking). She is also a licensed real estate and a Qualified Property Investment Advisor accredited by Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA).

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