Actor Sam Neill has sold his Double Bay home and made a little bit of history in the process. The four-bedroom Pearce St property was sold for an undisclosed price believed to be above $3.6 million through a virtual platform called Openn Negotiation, without an auctioneer – the first home in the eastern suburbs to sell this way.
Agent for Neill’s Federation bungalow, Paul Ephron of Ballard Property Double Bay, said there were six bidders registered for the Wednesday night auction with the property selling to an ex-pat living in Hong Kong who plans to eventually live in the home.
Neill, star of Jurassic Park and set to reprise the character of Dr Alan Grant in the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion, bought the property in 1996 for $839,000 with his former wife Noriko Watanabe. He now splits his time between his New Zealand vineyard, Canberra and Sydney with his partner, ABC political correspondent Laura Tingle.
Openn Negotiation, an Australian company that was started by three West Australian businessmen in 2016 and has operated on the east coast for the past 18 months, has seen a massive increase in activity during the coronavirus lockdown.
Unlike most online auctions that operate by live streaming an actual event, Openn Negotiation displays live bids made without having to rely on the sometime-problematic glitching of live streaming.
“We saw a 700 per cent increase in agents getting in touch last month alone and we’re expecting that number to be even bigger this month,” co founder and CEO Pete Gibbons said. “People are seeing it as a better, more transparent way to transact and while Covid may be exposing us to more people, after it passes I think this will become the new normal in terms of transacting online.”
– With additional reporting from Jonathan Chancellor