James spent time in LA over the years fostering relationships with brokers in the prestige real estate market.
The move to launch JPA Group came after he had developed strong networks with a few “top-ranked luxury brokers in America”.
“That gave me the confidence to say, as real estate is becoming a global game, the auction process which isn’t that big in America is now becoming more enticing. And in China as well. The aim is to invite more international buyers to become comfortable with the auction process, especially within the investment sector in Australia.”
James has 10 years under his belt in real estate and including five years at McGrath where he built experience in auctioneering and luxury properties.
He said the biggest hurdle with launching auctions in the US is the lack of regulation around auctions.
“There is no auction law. We have had to come up with our own strict terms and conditions. When someone is bidding on the home, they have to abide by the conditions.”
Regardless of this, auctions are becoming more popular in the high-end market. James works closely with Sotheby’s agent Tanya Stawski who has sold houses for Hollywood A-listers.
“The top tier market loves the entertainment of auctions. It’s the real luxury brokers that are interested in the auction process. The middle ground of $1-2 million houses isn’t strong enough for auctions, that’s the real bread and butter market for agents that is going well for them.”
However, it’s not just the international real estate scene that will be in the sights of JPA Group, with James explaining that the launch of the business is an opportunity to implement new systems and processes in the auction market across Australia.
“We are keen to make a shift in the traditional services provided to agents and homeowners taking their properties to auction.
“For instance, we’re keen to improve how auctioneers work with both agents and owners during the sales process and also will be offering an incentive-based auctioneer fees as an option for vendors to consider instead of the regular auctioneer fee.
“One of the common things I find with vendors is that if the property didn’t sell, the vendor thinks, ‘The auctioneer turned up for 10 minutes, the house didn’t sell and now they have rushed off to their next auction. What am I paying the auctioneer fee for?’ It is a really big decision when they are selling their biggest asset and sometimes auctioneers need to be there for some hand-holding.”
The JPA Group has three auctioneers working under James that he has trained and his office is based in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.