Rug-buying ruse by Dunedin house hunter

Dunedin man Benjimie-James Liano thought he was about to sell his $30 rug - instead, a $680,000 offer was made on his Maori Hill home. Photo: Christine O'Connor
Dunedin man Benjimie-James Liano thought he was about to sell his $30 rug - instead, a $680,000 offer was made on his Maori Hill home. Photo: Christine O'Connor
They came for a $30 rug - but instead made a $680,000 offer on the house.

Dunedin man Benjimie-James Liano hoped to make a bit of money and clear space in his house when he listed some household items, including a carpet rug, on an online auction website.

In a blurb about the rug, Mr Liano mentioned part of the reason for the sale was that his family was considering selling their house.

After listing the rug online, a man who said he was interested in it contacted Mr Liano and asked to come and inspect it.

But when the potential buyer arrived with his daughter they were far more interested in the property.

Not long after leaving the house, the pair reappeared in a park at the back of the property with three other people.

The man then peered over the back fence and eventually climbed a tree to take photos of the backyard.

''I chatted to my partner who said 'take some pics of them', just in case they were going to rob us, but I had his contact details so I thought we should be OK.''

What made the situation even stranger, was the man who called was not the Asian man who came to the house.

About 30 minutes later, the man sent a text making a $680,000 offer on the house which was eventually turned down.

''I applauded his buying determination, but given the lengths he went to to get to this point only highlights the current market,'' Mr Liano said.

While the story was amusing and no harm was done, there were people in more vulnerable positions who could be taken advantage of, he said.

The rug is still for sale.

Real Estate Institute New Zealand regional spokeswoman Liz Nidd said she had not heard of similar situations but it was no surprise buyers were looking for alternatives. ''There is such a shortage of property available and it continues to shrink each week, so possibly people are taking things into their own hands a little more.''

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