Auctioneer’s milestone

    John Keating marked his 50-year anniversary as an auctioneer with the sale of an 89-hectare farm at Romsey for $2.85M.

    Woodend veteran real estate agent John Keating last week marked his 50-year anniversary as an auctioneer with the sale of an 89-hectare farm at Romsey for $2.85M.

    John’s first auction on June 15, 1973 was for the sale of a 34-hectare farm in the Kerrie Valley. The auction was conducted in the Kerrie Hall and sold for $74,500, a big price at that time. The reserve price was $60,000.

    Last week’s auction of the 193 Knox Road property was not quite as lively as what John had hoped for and the property was passed in without a bid. The auction had a published reserve price of $2,850,000 and a successful sale was negotiated immediately after the auction, subject to the purchasers obtaining finance.

    In a career that has included over 2000 auctions John has conducted many memorable auctions including Campaspe House at Woodend in 1988 for the Pratt Group, sold at $1,125,000 and which was the first million-dollar auction outside of Melbourne or Portsea.

    Setting more records, the sale of ‘Sefton’ at Mount Macedon in April 2005 for the Fosters Group for $8,175,000 was at the time the highest residential auction price ‘under the hammer’ in Victoria. The reserve price was $4,625,000.

    John has always been a strong advocate for improving the transparency and integrity of the auction process as a sale method and 20 years ago he led the campaign to have dummy bidding outlawed in Victoria.

    More recently he has lobbied for further reform of auction rules to require agents to publish their vendor’s reserve prices in all auction advertising, to stamp out of the practice of under quoting.

    “Most times a good agent will have a fairly accurate idea of what the value of a property might be but valuing is not an exact science” John said.

    “Occasionally purchaser’s emotions can drive the sale price well above expectations. But to deliberately underquote the value of a property in order to attract false interest ultimately erodes confidence in purchasers and sellers of real estate.”

    As a strong believer in the auction system John says that for the right property, a properly organised, marketed and ethically conducted auction that has maximum transparency is undeniably the best, fairest and most efficient way for purchasers to buy, and vendors to sell real estate.

    Keatings Real Estate has a long history in the Macedon Ranges having been established by John Keating Senior in 1949. On John’s passing in 1966, Vera ‘Molly’ Keating capably took the reins of the family business. Keatings Real Estate was later purchased by the current John Keating in 1975 and is still operating in the same location.