How to come out on top when you buy a property at auction

On the face of it buying a property at auction looks simple - the property is sold to the highest bidder. But as many stressed out property buyers will tell you, its more complicated than it looks. If you want to be the successful bidder and secure your ideal home or investment property, you need
Meredith Williams

On the face of it buying a property at auction looks simple – the property is sold to the highest bidder.

But as many stressed out property buyers will tell you, it’s more complicated than it looks.

If you want to be the successful bidder and secure your ideal home or investment property, you need to do some preparation before the auction and then employ some smart strategies on the day.

Here’s what you need to know:

Before the auction

Know your borrowing limits

You don’t want to be at an auction wondering how high you can afford to bid and potentially letting a property slip through your fingers, says uno mortgage advisor, Akin Akinsanmi.

We have some neat tools like our online borrowing power calculator, that with just a few bits of info you can see what you’re indicatively able to be able to borrow in a few minutes. 

Or, if you’re ready to just jump right in, let us help you find a great deal online.

Generally though, it is also a good idea to also talk to a mortgage broker as they can advise you on some strategies of how to get in the best position possible. Recently, one of our brokers was able to advise a customer how they could quickly and easily increase their borrowing power by cancelling credit cards or reducing the limits on these cards.

Get pre-approval from your lender

Before you start shopping, it’s best to get a pre-approval (or conditional approval) from a lender. The best way to do this is to speak to a uno mortgage broker who can find you the right lender and a deal that suits your needs.

With a pre- approval you can proceed with some confidence knowing your upper limit, but it’s also important to note that this is not the same as a formal approval. This next step will require a valuation and you will be asked to submit more documents that your lender will need to satisfy the terms of the loan agreement.

Taking the pre-approval step is as easy as contacting one of our brokers who can give an indication of your borrowing capacity over the phone, and then get the process started for you.

You can contact us, or even request a call back from one of our brokers HERE.

Set your own limits

Buyers agent Veronica Morgan says many bidders make the mistake of confusing their borrowing limit with the limit of what they’re prepared to buy a property for – and they are two different things.

Before you go to the auction, you should decide what the property is worth to you and what it’s worth in the context of the overall market. That way you won’t be making decisions driven by emotion in the heat of the moment and overpaying for a property or becoming frozen with indecision.

Auction Day Strategies

Keep an eye other bidders

Watch people register to bid, so you know how many other bidders there are and who to watch when the auction is on, says Morgan, author of Auction Ready: how to buy property at auction even though you’re scared s#!tless.

Make a bigger bid

You don’t have to bid in the amounts suggested by the auctioneer. If the auction is just getting underway and the auctioneer calls for, say, a $20,000 bid increase, but you know that first bid will be a long way below the sale price, why not make a bigger bid, which could deter other bidders and put you in a stronger position.

Stay calm

The job of the auctioneer is to maximise the sale price, and many are very good at it. Don’t be rushed – take a deep breath and stay calm.

And try not to give away too much with your body language. For instance, you don’t want to signal that you’re near your limit by letting your shoulder slump and potentially giving another buyer the impetus to make just one more bid.

Good luck, but remember, even if you have your heart set on this home, there will always be others.

Photo credit: Kate Griffin/www.griffinrocks.com.au
Meredith Williams
* Three year fixed rate, owner occupier, P&I loan with a maximum LVR of 95% and a loan amount >$150,000. Lender rates and products may change. We cannot suggest you remain in or switch to any loan until we complete our assessment. Fees and charges apply. ^ WARNING: This comparison rate is true only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. The comparison rate is calculated on the basis of a loan of $150,000 over a term of 25 years. ± All loan applications are subject to uno assessment and lender approval. uno does not guarantee that it will be able to find a customer a better loan than the one they currently have or to save them money.