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Some believe that realtors and auctioneers make bad bedfellows, but Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty chairman Lew Geffen says identifying homes that sell best under the hammer can be lucrative. A winning R90m bid on a luxury villa in Clifton’s Nettleton Ridge in November 2016 broke residential auction price records by more than R30m. Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty jointly marketed the home with The High Street Auction Company, achieving the highest successful local auction bid for a residential property. The new owner is South African Clare Wiese.
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Says Geffen: “Our intense joint marketing drive achieved in just a couple of weeks what the previous owner was unable to do in months – get the house sold. We don’t usually work with auction houses, but on trophy homes or unique properties that are under bank instruction to sell, you can make magic in minutes if you have the marketing reach.” According to Joff van Reenen, director and lead auctioneer for The High Street Auction Company that sold the villa, about 20% of their referrals come from realtors. Says Van Reenen: “This sale demonstrates how well the auction model works for unique homes. We look for the exceptional properties. But perhaps most importantly in terms of sales, auctions quickly separate the men from the boys. If you’re not a serious bidder with cash or a preapproved bond, you won’t be on the auction floor, so our success rate tends to be high.”