How to bid at auction

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Queensland legislation requires all people bidding at an auction to provide their names, addresses and proof of identity prior to the auction beginning.

This information must be provided for your bid to be accepted during the auction.

These details will be recorded in a bidders register and provide you with a bidder number. This number should be displayed clearly when you make a bid during the course of the auction.

During the excitement of an auction, it is important for people to remember that you do not have to bid just because you have registered, but you must be registered if you intend to bid.

Auctions are becoming a more popular method of sale in Queensland but many potential buyers may still be unsure of what to expect on auction day, and more importantly, how to be successful on the day.

Firstly, make sure the auctioneer can see you. You should hold up your bidder number and call out your bid in a clear, audible voice.

You can call out an exact amount – for example $350,000 – or indicate the amount you wish to increase the previous bid by the increment suggested by the auctioneer – for example, “Another $10,000”.

If the auctioneer calls the incorrect amount or misinterprets your bid, call out to the auctioneer and clarify the bid with them immediately.

Also, contrary to some people’s opinion, it is not the best strategy to withhold your bidding until the very last moment hoping to outsmart your competition. The best strategy is actually to be on the front-foot, be competitive, and show the other bidders than you mean business.

Legally, auctioneers are unable to provide advice to prospective buyers on whether a reserve price has been set or what that reserve price is before the auction.

At the start of the auction, however, the auctioneer will announce if the property is to be sold with or without a reserve price but they will not divulge what the reserve price is, if there is one.

When bidding at an auction, remember that if you are the successful bidder you are required to sign the contract of sale and pay a deposit on the spot. There is no cooling off period when you buy at auction.

Indeed, there is a reason why many auctioneers often call out “We’re playing for keeps” when bidding for the property has passed the reserve price. Once the hammer falls, and you are the successful bidder, the property is yours.