Illawarra's annual gavel battle charity night: photos

Mercury Series - Making A Difference

What does it take to make a great auctioneer?

Some of the answers were found for a good cause recently when the Illawarra Real Estate Institute hosted a novice auctioneer competition at the Lagoon Seafood Restaurant.

The night has become an annual event for 15 years and the 2014 event raised more than $16,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

The competition was won by 21-year-old Zachary Biddulph, of McGrath Real Estate Thirroul. It was Mr Biddulph’s first attempt at auctioneering and he gave the challenge a red-hot go after seeking advice from the Thirroul agency’s auctioneer, Clarence White.

‘‘It was so good having Clarence, who is about to complete in the Australasian auctioneering competition in New Zealand,’’ Mr Biddulph said.

‘‘Having him mentor me was great.’’

Mr Biddulph has only been in the real estate game for a few months and was encouraged to enter by his workmates.

‘‘This was the first time for me but growing up I did a bit of debating and public speaking,’’ he said.

‘‘I have never done any auctioning before but it was good. I am working at McGraths for Troy McNeice and he is a good mentor with lots of experience.

''Before I got into real estate,  I was at uni doing media and communications but majoring in advertising and marketing.’’

Mr Biddulph is a customer service manager and wants to eventually become a senior agent in his home suburb.

He loves Thirroul and is passionate about the property market in the area and showing other people what it has to offer.

He said entering, and winning, the competition was a great learning experience.

‘‘I was definitely a little nervous,’’ he said.

‘‘But it was just a really good experience and an opportunity to help out a charity that does great things for the community.’’

When asked why he thought he won,  Mr Biddulph said being positive was important to being a good auctioneer.

‘‘Confidence and making people feel welcome is a key,’’ he said.

‘‘One of my biggest things was to try and make everyone feel comfortable. I wanted to create an atmosphere where no-one felt nervous or uncomfortable. 

‘‘Eye contact, clarity and speaking clearly are  also important. Auctioneering is about making people aware all the time what is going on and keeping up with the bids. And you need a bit of personality and a bit of drive.’’

Illawarra Real Estate Institute chairman Trever Molenaar said entry was not restricted to people who wanted to become auctioneers.

‘‘There are some who just want to break out of their comfort zone,’’ he said.

He said the event was a success because of the support it received from the real estate industry and sponsors such as RAMS Home Loans Illawarra.

Mr Molenaar said there were not too many occasions when so many people from the real estate industry came together.

‘‘For the last couple of years,  we have supported  the Illawarra division of the Prostate Cancer Foundation.’’  

Funds raised help Illawarra men with prostate cancer,  and their families.

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