How to Bid at an Auction

If emotion wasn’t involved, auctions would be unbelievably fun and exciting. Think about it – you’re playing a game of strategy with those around you, trying to be the last one to bid. And at the same time, you’re looking to stay within your own limitations, and score yourself a bargain.

But emotions do play a role in auctions. And nerves + excitement = anxiety.

Thankfully, you can prepare yourself for the occasion, and take nerves out of the equation. To truly enjoy (and win) your next auction, check out our agent’s pro tips for bidding at an auction.


Before You Ever Bid, Watch

One way to calm your nerves is to be experienced with the process of auctions. Going to one with zero intent to buy is a good way to see how they work. You can work out what the winning buyer did well, what other bidders might have done well, and look for any mistakes in between.

But above all else, it will familiarise you with auctions, and there’s no better way to remove auction-day nerves.


Be Ready, and Get Set Before You Go

That old line from primary school running races actually makes a good point. Before you go, have everything you need ready.

The smartest bidders tend to have already:

  • Been approved for their finance
  • Prepared a deposit
  • Engaged a conveyancer
  • Performed all the right building/pest inspections (or had provisions added to the agreement so they can be carried out).

Confidence is Key

If you constantly look like you’re on the fence, other bidders might think you’re about to throw in the towel. That means they’re always a shade more likely to put in one last bid, because they think you’re less likely to raise it.

When you do make a bid, do it with gusto. Confidence tells other bidders that you mean business, and that your ceiling is higher than theirs.


Have a Ceiling

If someone is on the fence, and you think one more bid will edge them out, beware. Their ceiling might still be higher than yours, and they may tempt you into bidding beyond your budget.

Have confidence in what you do, but know the exact number that you won’t go past. Even if it sells for $200 more than your limit, you can trust you did the right thing by not bidding.

One tip to setting a ceiling is to gain some knowledge of the area, and building a rapport with the agent. 


Be Seen

This might seem like silly advice – the auctioneer obviously needs to see you if you’re going to make a bid. But there are a few reasons why this is important:

  • It improves your confidence – If you’re suddenly made anxious by the fact that the auctioneer hasn’t noticed your bids, your strategy is already at risk. But if you’re seen and acknowledged, you’re more likely to stay calm, and stick with your strategy.
  • You’ll scare others – Standing right up the front and proudly raising your arm isn’t just good for the auctioneer, it’s bad for other bidders. The sight of you confidently placing your bids might help disrupt their strategies.


Expect the Unexpected

So everything is going great – you’re clearly the most confident bidder, you’re well beneath your ceiling, and the competition are dropping like flies.

Then in swings the millionaire investor – the one who looks like he’s straight from Shark Tank. All of a sudden you’re the deer in headlights, and he seemingly has no ceiling whatsoever. The property that seemed certain to be yours is definitely going to end up with the guy in the Gucci loafers  and $40,000 watch, right? Well, no. Not if you’re prepared and focused! 

The moral of the story here is that auctions can change tempo in a heartbeat, and you need to be prepared for something weird to happen. 

The key to winning those moments is to remember your strategy and stick with it. 

Don’t show nerves because of what someone else does (or how confident they look) – stick to your plan. Know your ceiling, bid with confidence, and make sure you’re seen by all. If their surprise strategies don’t ruffle your feathers, you’ll probably end up ruffling theirs.


Feeling Ready?

Ready to give it a crack? Check out Upstate’s upcoming residential and commercial auctions.

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