First time bidding at Auctions

Auctions are hardly the ideal method of purchase for first home

As a means of transacting property, I think it is safe to say that the traditionally competitive environment of an auction is not always the preferred option for first time buyers.

Nevertheless, it is difficult to deny that auctions can be an effective tool for buying real estate, particularly when national auction volumes hit robust levels on a consistent basis, as they have done in recent months.

Savvy buyers will know to keep their auction techniques well-honed.

The following sets out my top tips for buyers to put them in the best position to buy at auctions.



It is important to research the market around your property of interest as there are a number of key factors to look out for that can affect a property’s long-term value. 

To start with, try to view several properties in the area to ascertain the buying environment within the local market.

Aim to get a good understanding of what stock is available and what properties have recently sold (and for how much).

It is also important to consider amenities such as public transport, educational facilities and shopping centres, as well as geographical factors such as surrounding noise and the aspect of the property.

Check the body corporate if a unit, land size and age if a house.

Get a feel for auctions

It is wise to observe other auctions in the area before going in to bid on a property.

Doing so will not only allow you to get a feel for how auctions are conducted; it will also help you to get exposure to different auctioneers, one of whom may be the auctioneer on the day that you decide to bid.

Make your interest known

If you come across a property that you’re interested in buying at auction, make sure to let the selling agent know of your intentions.

Some buyers try to be secretive about their intentions and end up being disappointed when the property sells prior to auction.

Ask the agent to provide a sale contract for your solicitor to review, go back to the property for second and third inspections, take measurements and, if necessary, get a building inspector or builder to examine the property.

Get pre-approved finance

If you are planning to bid at a public auction, it is important to make sure that you have your finance formally approved before auction day.

A 10 per cent deposit is usually required for auction buys, unless arranged otherwise.

You will also need to have a personal cheque, bank cheque or deposit bond (if acceptable) to pay and exchange on the day.

Know your limits

Buyers at auction generally fall into two main categories – those who are bank-limited (approved up to a certain amount of money) and those who are self-limited (those who have a self-imposed limit that they will stick to).26030291 - growing home sales

Often, success or failure at auctions comes down to the last one to two per cent of bids, so try to maintain a degree of flexibility as to how high you’ll go.

The last $5,000 to $10,000 is where most buyers fall short.

In saying that, it’s equally important to stay level-headed and avoid bidding far beyond what you perceive the property to be worth.

At the end of the day, there will always be more properties, and you stand a better chance of making money in the long-term if you buy at the right price.

Have a game plan

Be prepared with a game plan for bidding – that is, know when you’d like to begin bidding, what the sale price is likely to be, and what your price limit is.

Strong bids can be used to intimidate other bidders and shut down the auction process sooner rather than later.

As such, it often benefits to make strong and decisive bids.plan check list

For example, if the majority of bidders were raising their offers by $1,000 increments, you might look to increase your bid by $5,000.

It is also important to remain in good eyesight of the auctioneer to ensure that they can see you during the auction.

Remember, once the gavel goes down, the property is sold and the auctioneer cannot accept additional bids – so make yourself visible.

Three commonly used bidding strategies:

1. Come in and bid strong from the outset removing some of the competition immediately and getting yourself into the bidding and box seat early.

2. Come in late right towards the end (can be risky)

3. Bid in odd increments to try and slow the bidding down.


You must have a driver’s license or passport on-hand to register as a rent inspection real estate sell sale property buy

Generally, the terms you are bidding under will be displayed on your bidding card, and most auctioneers will supply you with a bidder’s guide.

At a residential auction, the terms of auction must be on display. 

Your bidding card is important as the auctioneer will need to cite it in order to accept your offer.

If you have a lucky or favourite number that you’d like to bid with, you may be able to do so, provided you get permission from the agent first.

It is also important to arrive at the auction well in advance to register and be ready to bid when proceedings commence.

You can register during an auction – however, it is advised to do so beforehand.

Also, remember that registering doesn’t mean you’re obligated to bid.

Be in it to win itauction buy property bid sell house sale

The adage “you need to be in it to win it” rings true when it comes to auctions.

Don’t sit on the sidelines and miss out on your dream home or prime investment because you are too scared or tentative with your bids.

Positive body language and strong, firm bidding are essential to coming up trumps on auction day.

Generally, if a prospective buyer looks or acts weakly, a stronger bidder will secure the property – so try to be confident and decisive.


Once you have secured a property at auction, contracts will be signed immediately and a deposit will need to be paid.

Standard settlement periods are 42 days, however, this period can be varied to 60 or 90 days, depending on the vendor’s circumstances.

As soon as these dates have been arranged, it is wise to start planning your move or getting the property ready for tenancy.

Stay calm

It is important to remember that you have three opportunities to buy your property – before, on or and after auction day.

Keep this in mind throughout the auction process to ensure that you don’t pay a price well above your limits either self or bank imposed. 35478370_l

The worst case scenario is that you will have to move to keep looking in the market, but don’t make a premature or irrational decision because you let stress get the better of you.

Taking a friend or family member along can be a good idea.

Having a seasoned property buyer, investor bid for you another strategy.

Finally it could be good to have someone bidding for you on the phone so your not showing any first time nerves.

If you win the bidding at auction it can be call for celebration and one of the most exciting times in peoples lives securing the great Australian dream of home ownership.

Enjoy the moment !

Want more of this type of information?

Will Hampson


Will is the director of 'My Auctioneer' and a professional auctioneer to agents across Sydney, surrounding NSW and the ACT with over twenty years of experience having commenced his career in 1995. In 2014 Will Hampson was awarded the Australian Real Estate Awards Auctioneer of the year. Visit

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