Taking the Stress out of Selling at Auction

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Can selling at auction be stressful?

selling at auctionYou bet. You’ve decided that selling at auction is the way to go and that’s great. You’ve staged your home for sale and just put off the emotional stress for another 4-5 weeks.
Then as the great day itself looms these and many other questions can be floating around your mind:

  • What value should I places on my reserve price?
  • Have I attracted the “right” buyers?
  • Will they come?
  • What if they don’t bid enough?
  • What if bidding stops at the reserve and I want to change my mind?

How would you like to take away ALL that stress?

Yes – I mean ALL of it!

How would you like to sit back and relax on your couch come auction day and let it all unfold before you just like you’re watching a replay of your favourite team win the footy, or the cricket. You get the idea.

Here’s How – Do it all a week earlier.

What do you mean?
Simply that. In the week leading up to your auction day go through all the emotions you’ll ever have to face.

  • Pit yourself against the agent putting pressure on you.
  • Stare down the bidders.
  • Cry over you selling price
  • Rejoice at your windfall

Tear your own hair out if you like. But get it all out of your system in the week BEFORE selling at auction.

What can I do practically?

Work hard in the month leading up to sale.

Do your research in the weeks leading up to sale.

  • Attend other auctions of comparable properties. Be realistic. Look for properties as similar in configuration to yours. i.e. Same bath and bedroom numbers if possible.
  • Bid in your own mind first and try to “pick” the sale price. Then go and see what actual bidders are willing to put their hand up for. Let that guide you to some extent. You may even get quite “good” and predicting the auction outcomes.
  • Aside from getting the end result, which you get in the paper or online, you’ll get to see the actual bidder. You can observe whether bidding actually does “take off” once the property is announces as going ”on the market”. See how many different groups are actually bedding at the point end of the sale. Might any of them be “your” buyer. Would they bid that much for your house? Would you?

Use data not emotion.

Be wary of listening to family, friends or neighbours telling you “you’ll easily get ….”. They’re not likely to be bidding on the day with real cash.

It doesn’t matter what number you “need” to :

  • Retire
  • Send Johnny to private school
  • Settle on that house you bought last month

The market doesn’t know. If they did, they would not care. In the end they’ll only pay what they “reckon” it’s worth. They’ve been dropping hints all month buiying up all the other homes. Look at the data!

Communicate with your agent

Keep a dialogue open with your agent throughout the auction campaign. Let them know how you’re “feeling” about price so they can factor this in. I’ve learned from personal experience that they’re not mind readers, nor are they good at taking hints – so stop dropping them!

Be clear in you expectations. You may be barking up the wrong tree. Don’t wait until the day of auction to find out what the market is telling you. Your agent will be in communication with potential purchasers. They will be able to give you honest feedback as to what level the buyers are considering. Bear in mind that all buyers will be cagey (and some agents I dare say!)

Be realistic when selling at Auction.

We all want the “magic” price. But how likely is this?

You may end up with a “run-away” auction. But it’s more likely your home will end up falling under the hammer for fair market value.

Understand that the reserve you set is you “walk away price”. Your agent will explain it all to you, but remember that the price you set might be all you end up getting. Be happy with it. This is the key! You cannot go back afterwards and say “sorry I want more”.

Feel free to “hope” for more. You may get it. You home may just be “special” I know mine feels that way to me. But let the emotion go once you’ve made up your mind.


You’ve now gone through all the mental anguish you need to worry about when selling at action and can let the day simply unfold before you. The worst case is that you pass the property in and enter into negotiations with the highest bidder. You don’t need to sell right now. It would be nice if the buyer came up to your reserve. And they may. But take a deep breath. The pressure is not on YOU. You’ve done that already.

I’ve taken a deep breath and come up with my “magic” walk-away price and set it as auction reserve.
My agent suggested (quite often) that I might want to consider a lower price as this has resulted in great sales just recently in my area. But I reminded them that I’d rather be thought of as a fool than to actually be one. That is to say – I’d rather look like a dill on the day and pass the property in. I can then sell in private for a figure I’m comfortable with, rather than look like a winner on the day and go home crying at my own foolishness and regret.
The choice is yours. Just make it early in the week and then let it go.

Until next time,

selling at auction





selling at auction


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