An Irish woman's social, political and domestic commentary
Monday, August 08, 2005  


An update on this. I met the brother (and sister) yesterday and asked them about the proposed regulation. They are vehemently in favour of regulation. They are members of the IAVI which insists on a high standard of education and CPD (continuing professional development). They invest a lot in knowing the law and promoting good ethics amongst their members. They are sick of having to deal with the situation whereby anyone can get a licence and set up as an Auctioneer without any proper training or education. They also point out that the only legislation in place was proposed by the IAVI back in 1946. Regulate away they say, and that will soon put the 'boot of the car' crowd out of business. How will this sit with the pro-competition crowd.

On the issue of guides they say there are two issues. Firstly the vendor may have a reserve in mind (i.e. a price below which they will not sell) and just blatantly lies to the auctioneer about the reserve until the day of the auction when the refuse to sell at the highest bid. They advice any would be auction goers to always press an auctioneer for information regarding the reserve price, not the guide price.

I think on the issue of guides, there is an element of being fearful of putting a guide too high as this might turn away lots of prospective buyers. I think it works like this. Let's say a house might sell for 250 on a good day. If they guide it at 250 then anyone whose hoping to buy at 230 might not bother to go and see the house even tho' when viewing it they might fall in love with it and decide its worth paying up to 250 for it. Soooooo, they'll set the guide at 230. Generally, they find that guides are reasonable in case of private treaty. It's when houses go to auction that things get completely out of hand and people go mad. That's why only really desirable houses will go to auction. If its just a normal house, people will want a bit more time to think about it.

At the end of the day.. (sorry), they point out that they are engaged by the vendor to get the highest price possible (the straight commission fee providing the incentive). The buyers might hate them, but the buyers ain't paying them....

posted by Sarah | 11:05 6 comments
You are making the case _against_ regulation rather than for it.

The problem with high guide prices is predominantly an issue with IAVI and IPAV, not with boot-of-the-car operators.

It's easy to see what the benefit of greater regulation would be for the large estate agents and IAVI/IPAV agents (it would make it much harder for new players to get into the marketplace, basically).

It's less easy to see what the benefit would be for consumers. It certainly wouldn't have any effect on guide prices.

The only way to really do anything about guide prices in the short-term is through solicitors - solicitors should be advising consumers about what is going on -.

In the long-term, independent valuations and surveys could be introduced, as is being done in the UK, but this is a tricky way of dealing. Another possibility is to make it easier to obtain information about recent sales on a road or in an area. This depends on getting land registration sorted out, which is a whole other area.

All in my opinion of course!
Another update. Something had been puzzling me about existing regulations. Every year the family have to go to court to get their auctioneers licence and produce tax clearance certificates and character references from the cops etc. Yet you often hear commentators complain that to quote Eddie Hobbs, all you need is a pulse to be an auctioneer. It transpires that the ReMax crowd all operate under one person's licence. It is ridiculous that the IAVI lot operate at such high standards yet have to compete with the 'boot of the car crowd'.
On the guides, I think there is very little that can be done. I still think its like the CAO. There is no point (!) blaming the CAO for high points so why blame auctioneers when people go mad and pay big money for a house?
the opposite holds true in the UK of course - the guide price tends to be the upper limit not the lower as it is in Ireland. I don't know what difference it makes mind you.
as you say it's not the estate agents' fault if supply of decent housing is so restricted that people are paying way over the guidance. All you can hope is that they are reasonably professional for their 1%. Given they don't do anything of much importance or value why regulate it at all beyond checking they are not practicing crime? You will guarantee to see the commission creep back up to 5%.
Auctioneering isn't a professional and auctioneers aren't professionals.

It's a sales job.

Of course they should behave professionally but let's face it a monkey could do it.

If monkeys had opposable thumbs and could speak.
Monkeys and Auctioneering.
Monkeys almost certainly COULDN'T build a successful auctioneering business in property as they have no interest in living in houses and so on.

But in an industry like fruit I really think that monkeys could make a contribution.

Monkeys might also work well in a childminding capacity especially if the child had nits.

Any nits yet Sarah?
Ah Leon. You know, the toddler got some hives this morning. Must have eaten something. When M. arrived home from work he revealed that he had some too - under his arm. Must have eaten the same thing. So this evening at dinner I sat opposite him while he had the odd scratch. I thought. I'm eating dinner with a chimp. Sigh.
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