Alan Owens is more likely to be found at the end of a real estate auctioneer’s gavel, rather than under the goal posts, but he has a winning game plan. After winning LJ Hooker’s New Zealand Auction Idol, the rookie auctioneer jumped the ditch and took on his Australian counterparts in a trans-Tasman battle.
“They gave us an Australian property that was under New South Wales legislation, so I had to adapt my speech to their rules,” Alan says. “All bidders must be registered and they have to show their registration number, so I had to make sure I asked for that.
“They emailed us a flyer on the property and we had to put a script together about it, which is more in-depth than we would normally do for a live auction.”
The Pakuranga real estate professional qualified for LJ Hooker’s international final in Phuket, Thailand. Hardcore training that would challenge any sportsman paid dividends and Alan achieved victory — winning the LJ Hooker’s Auctioneer Idol world title. There were no gold medals but, more appropriately, a crystal gavel that bedazzles bidders.
People in the mock auction try to trip up the competing auctioneers and Alan knew preparation was critical. He received information about a Queensland property, and astutely used the internet to research the area and his opposition.
He prepared a script and rehearsed intensely before leaving these shores — often practising in an empty petrol station or a quiet car park in the early hours of the morning.
“We were in Phuket and it was lovely sunshine. I wanted to be out in it, but I knew I had to keep practising. I found an armchair by the pool and I spent about two to three hours a day practising.”
Swimmers could be forgiven for thinking Alan was a little unhinged as he visualised holidaymakers as bidders and quietly delivered his presen-tation. One person asked him if he was preparing for a wedding or was learning a script for a movie.
Four judges award a maximum of 2000 points for each auctioneer’s performance, assessing their presentation, voice modulation, dealing with the bids, handling objections and under bidders. Alan was nearly caught out by a curly question about white ant damage to the trusses, but quick thinking had him back on track. He also performed demanding mental arithmetic to keep up with the bidding progress.