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How to bid, buy and win at auction

Barry Plant auctioneers reveal their winning strategies to buyers

Melbourne’s property market is red hot with auction clearance rates consistently landing in the high 80 per cent range.

Low listing numbers and restored buyer confidence have boosted competition to an all-time high and experts say auctions are the way to go in a thriving market.

But how do you successfully win at the fall of the hammer?

Preparation and zero hesitation are the two key strategies to winning at auction, according to Barry Plant Manningham auctioneer, Todd Lucas.

“If you’re bidding at auction you should know what your maximum bid is before going in, so look at comparable sales, plan and allow for it to go above the top end of the range,” Mr Lucas said.

“And if you are bidding, bid bold, firm and without any hesitation, fast bids will show your competitors that you aren’t nearing your budget, even if you might be.”

Mr Lucas warned against stalling or hesitating with bids.

“It gives other buyers the illusion that you’re close to dropping out,” he said

Across the eastern suburbs, Barry Plant offices have been scoring 100 per cent clearance rates at auctions that are drawing huge crowds and multiple bidders.

A similar approach is recommended by Barry Plant Bayside auctioneer Chris Kavanagh.

“The best strategy is to give the impression that no matter what anyone else bids you are likely to bid over that, even though that may not be the case,” Mr Kavanagh said.

“Don’t hesitate, when you dare to bid, bid confidently and aggressively till you reach your budget.”

Bidding at auction is very similar to poker, a game of bluff, according to Mr Kavanagh.

“You can win an auction in one of two ways, by having the biggest budget or by making other bidders believe you have the biggest budget, just like a game of cards,” he said.

Mr Kavanagh also warned against using your phone or having a conversation mid auction.

“Other than bidding, any other actions can demonstrate you’re not confident or you’re not likely to continue bidding,” he said.

“You don’t want to give any hints to other buyers that you may not have much more gas in the tank.”

Across the bay, Barry Plant Geelong auctioneer Stan Buzza said going hard immediately “showed your strength as a buyer”.

“Many buyers think they have this great strategy, but the reality is you have got to leave it all out on the field,” Mr Buzza said.

“Come out guns blazing and leave your competition in a bit of shock with your increments and speed when bidding.”

In a hot market, Mr Buzza advised “being front and centre and putting your best foot forward.”