Skip to Content

The Do’s and Don’ts of Bidding At Auction


Keen to attend your first auction but worried what to do? Or perhaps you're ready to buy but not sure how to go about bidding? It's far less scary than you fear, promises Phillip Arnold, auctioneer and managing director of Phillip Arnold Auctions. Here’s his guide to what you need to know:

Don't… worry about scratching your nose

“There’s definitely a myth that if you move, the auctioneer will take a bid off you. It’s not like that,” Phillip says. “It’s not a really fast process and a good auctioneer will make sure everyone has ample opportunity to bid. They’ll only take a bid off you if you clearly put up your hand or the paddle or raise your catalogue. We know what a real bid looks like and you won’t end up buying a property if you scratch your nose.”

Do… your homework.

“Check the legal pack thoroughly and make sure you’ve got your finances set up because you will put 10% down on the day and then have 28 days to complete,” Phillip explains. “Have it all ready in plenty of time so you’re not stressed out or running around on day 27 trying to arrange finance.”

Don't… panic and bid on everything

“Bid on the properties you really want to buy,” Phillip says. “If you put your hand up, you’ve got to be prepared that you might buy it so don’t get carried away. Research the auction’s catalogue first, have in your mind what you want and what price you’re prepared to go to. If you don’t get it, move on. If it goes above the price you planned, get your hand down. There’ll always be other auctions.”

Do… arrive at the beginning.

“I think first-timers should always get there for the start of an auction so they can hear the announcements,” Phillip advises. “That runs through how the process will work on the day. I think it’s important they listen to that even though they may have read it in all the material. Getting there early also helps you get a feel for the room and get a bit more relaxed too.”

Don't… think you have no chance

“It’s a completely open process. You can see who the other people are who are bidding, “Phillip says. “It’s not the case that we only take bids from people we know or anything like that. Everybody in that room has exactly the same chance of getting it. There’s also a myth you won’t be able to understand the auctioneer and it will sound like horse racing commentary, but it doesn’t. It’s very clear.”

Do… relax and ask questions

“If it helps,” Phillip suggests, “go to another auction before the one you want to bid at to get a feel for how they work. A good auction house should make you feel relaxed. You shouldn’t feel intimidated so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Give us a call at Phillip Arnold Auctions beforehand if you need so we can answer questions or talk you through the process.”