The art of being an auctioneer

By Aisyah Suwardi

Like any other profession in the world, being an auctioneer calls for a deep knowledge of the industry.

“Essentially, an auctioneer is a seller,” said Henry Butcher Malaysia associate director (valuation) Low Khee Wah.

“In an auction, you can sell anything from property to machinery and furniture to artwork. Even cattle are auctioned in some countries.

Low Khee Wah

Low Khee Wah

“For auction property in Malaysia, we normally deal with foreclosure or distress sale,” he said.

Being a seller for foreclosure property, Low explained that the objective is to give the best value to customers who in this case are the borrowers.

“So if you attend an auction event, you would see the auctioneer hype up the bidders and encourage them to buy
the property.

“However, it is also our job to smooth over the tense situation that may arise during the auction because we don’t want people to regret buying later.”

This is where his expertise as a registered valuer and real estate agent is brought to bear.

Low said: “As a valuer, I can estimate the property price. Sometimes if there is a huge gap between the auction price and its market value, I will try to stir up excitement so that the property can be sold at a better price.

“In doing so, the sale will help the borrowers settle their debts.”

You have to be certified to be a licensed auctioneer in Malaysia. “Because the licence is granted by the state, you need to apply for a different licence to
practise in different states.

“The required basic qualification is SPM with a credit in Bahasa Malaysia. Then you have to send in a completed form before being called for an interview,” said Low, who is licensed in Selangor and FT.

Henry Butcher has two divisions, for art and asset auctions.

“You’ll be surprised at how many people turn up at our art auctions. The success rate for an art auction is about 90%; if 100 art pieces are put up, 90 gets sold,” said Low.

Those interested in becoming an auctioneer should include this skill as part of their portfolio.

“Of course you can opt to become just an auctioneer. But from experience, having a detailed knowledge of the industry will help you become a better auctioneer,” Low added.

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