Kurrajong auctioneer Leon Axford has reached the top of his game, qualifying to represent NSW in the Australasian Auctioneering Championships.
Mr Axford is one of two auctioneers in the state who will represent the Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW) at the Championships which - COVID permitting - will take place in Sydney from October 17-19.
It will be the first time in 30 years that the competition has occurred in this city, and Mr Axford will be up against the best auctioneers from around Australia and New Zealand.
He finished runner-up in the Championships in Melbourne in 2019, but this year, "the plan is to go one better and bring home the title to NSW and the Hawkesbury," Mr Axford said.
"There have only been two winners from NSW in the Australasian Competition, John McGrath in 1999 and Scott Kennedy Green in 2006."
Mr Axford is Director of Axford Auctions and calls auctions for estate agents around Sydney.
He called his first auction in 2012 and last year called his three-thousandth, when he sold his own home in Thornleigh before moving with his young family to the Hawkesbury.
He said he had been getting in some practice while in lockdown.
"My wife is the determiner of what is good material. I run things by her, and if she thinks it's clever or funny, it gets the tick of approval."
Is humour important in an auction?
"We're not comedians, but we use it to relax the crowd," Mr Axford said.
"There are three reasons people come to home auctions: they want to know how much it goes for, they want to know who their new neighbours are going to be, or they want to be entertained. I can do the last one and the first two take care of themselves."
Apart from home auctions, Mr Axford has used his skills to call the Gold Muzzle Auctions at the Richmond Race Club.
"That was pretty cool. They had experts there who knew the lineage of the puppies and they would talk about the dogs and I ran the numbers," he said.
With homes, he's auctioned off a range, from "apartments in Granville for $250,000, all the way up to an estate in Turramurra that was $6.5 million".
He said it was likely the Championships would take place without a crowd this year, like the State finals had last month.
"No spectators meant very little energy in the room, so you have to manufacture all the energy yourself. It was a bit of a challenge but it's a skill you learn," he said.
"With all these online auctions now [due to the pandemic] it's not the easiest, but we've seen some great results."
He said he would "love to see more auctions in the Hawkesbury".
"There's not a huge amount of auctions here now regrettably, but I think that should change as more city people are moving into the area. They are attuned to the process and it can give the owners a better result."