Disclosed pre-auction reserve triggers historic Mintaro to be snapped up for $2.85 million plus

Mintaro, the neglected 1882 Monegeetta, Sunbury district mansion, will not be going to auction this weekend because it has been sold after its $2.85 million reserve price was published in its marketing material.

The sale price hasn't been revealed, but the $2.85 million plus purchasers are a Melbourne couple who intend to restore the room mansion and the grounds to their previous glorious splendour. 

"No doubt there will be several hundred people disappointed that they will not be able to view it!" the selling agent John Keating of Keatings Real Estate told me.

Mintaro had been relisted for November 16 auction after last November's $3 million sale failed to proceed to settlement.

For many years now rather than keeping the asking price a secret to be revealed during the actual auction, or offer an estimated price range, Keating's agency typically declares the reserve in its advertising material.

He says problems associated with under-quoting and over-quoting disappear if the vendor's reserve price gets published at the outset.

"Buyers love the transparency," he says.

A declared reserve set at a realistic amount acts like a buyer-enquiry magnet, he maintains. 

Disclosing auction reserves is not common practice, and it is debatable as if buyer interest becomes strong, the published reserve can become antiquated. 

Critics also say most vendors did not know their reserve at the start of an auction campaign, 

Agents have been divided on the merits of telling all before an auction, but buyer advocate Christopher Koren, from Morrell & Koren, has previously indicated he supported the method.

"Just by publishing the reserve it doesn't mean people stop there. If they like the look of it, they will bid it's common sense," Christopher Koren told Fairfax Media. 

But Mal James, from James Buyers Advocates, has expressed previous worries that it denies the seller the flexibility to change their mind.

jchancellor(AT)propertyobserver(DOT)com.au

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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