With a bit of pre-game prep, you should be in good stead for auction day. But how exactly will things play out? Get the lowdown on your auction's main players and proceedings.

The playing field and bidders

Leverage your home ground advantage! Chat to your real estate agent about the best location to host your auction. Front yard, back garden, inside or off-site – you have plenty of options, but choosing somewhere that shows your house in its best light is always a winning choice. You’re also going to want bidders to be as comfortable as possible. So if the weather forecast isn’t great, think about taking things indoors.

Our winning tip

It’s all about winning appearances in the selling game. So if you want to make a great impression right off the bat, get the tips to get your property looking its best for auction day.

Your team

One of the most important players in your auction is you, so make sure you’re on top of the day's schedule and your to-dos.

First and foremost, get your agent’s opinion on whether you should be visible or behind the scenes. This is all about knowing yourself. If you’re easily excitable, you could negatively affect bidding with an obvious reaction. On the other hand, if you’d like to be out there and your agent has faith in your poker face, observing from the forward line could work.

Being flanked by family and friends on the day can also prove useful. You’ll want to be as comfortable and stress-free as possible – and loved ones can really help foster that vibe. They’ll also make up a few extra bodies in the crowd and add a greater sense of atmosphere, interest and competition to proceedings.

Our winning tip

If you’re hidden away during proceedings, get a tech-savvy family member/friend to livestream the auction to you – you’ll have the best seat in the house.

Your coach's box

Think of your agent and auctioneer as key figures in your coach's box who know the game inside out.

On the day, they'll carry out proceedings and negotiations, keep you calm and be the professional face of both you and your property. Your agent will also work their way around the crowd during bidding, talking to key players and managing the auction's flow. Make sure you're familiar with their tactics – like breaking off and talking to a buyer to ride out a bidding lull – so you're always aware of what's going on.

Above all, your agent's there to support you on the day. Every decision or thought-process should be communicated and explained to you, so don't hesitate to ask them any burning questions.

Our winning tip

Get your agent to ask keen bidders how they're planning to pay the deposit, or find out how many contracts have been requested before the auction. This will give you a great idea of how many serious players are in the crowd.

Play-by-play for auction day

No two auctions play out the same way, but there’s a general flow of events you can expect when the siren sounds for the start of your auction.

1. Final inspection

If you’ve chosen to have the auction at your property, bidders will be allowed to check it out one last time. Your agent will also gather the crowd and carry out any bidding registrations (if required by your state).

2. Formalities and legalities

At least half an hour before bidding officially kicks off, your agent/auctioneer will need to display certain documents and information to the bidders. These can relate to general auction rules, rules specific to your auction and any important information about your property. Expect announcements outlining:

  • whether vendor or co-owner bids will be made
  • late bids (those made after a property has been sold to the successful bidder) being prohibited
  • any specific conditions that are in your property’s contract of sale
  • any illegal conduct, such as dummy bids or overly disruptive behaviour.

3. Kick off

At this point, the auction’s ready to go and your auctioneer will ask for an opening bid to get the bidding ball rolling. They’ll also set the bidding increments (how much a new bid must rise above the previous bid).

4. Closing

Once you hit your reserve price, your property’s officially 'on the market' and ready to be sold to the highest bidder. If your reserve isn’t met, you can decide then and there with your agent if you’re willing to sell at a lower price. For this reason, make sure you’re in a spot that allows for quick, easy and confidential communication.

5. "Going once…"

We all know the rest from here. Your auctioneer will clarify the final bid beyond a shadow of a doubt before dropping the hammer and declaring your property sold.

6. After the sale

With a successful auction in your wake, it’s time to sort out some financials. Auctions have no cooling off period, so a deposit from the winning bidder – usually 10% of the sale price – is required straight after auction (the rest is paid at settlement in 30, 60 or 90 days, or another agreed upon period). Have your solicitor ready to review and disclose any major terms before you both sign the contract.

Our winning tip

Go out and celebrate, regardless of the outcome. Dinner, drinks, ice cream – whatever your tipple, getting through an auction is a great team effort, so be sure to treat yourself and stay positive.

Important information

The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, NAB recommends that you consider whether it’s appropriate for your circumstances. NAB recommends you seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.

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