So you’ve found your dream home. It’s ticking all the boxes and a sense of anticipation is rising. Then you see it – the small print at the bottom of the ad with the auction date. I know for me, the word ‘auction’
triggers a sense of panic, similar to impromptu public speaking or betting my entire savings on a Melbourne Cup runner. So when our ‘dream home’ was listed for auction last week, I had lots to learn.
Two of my greatest fears were getting carried away and bidding beyond my means in the heat of the moment, and another was the finality of bidding, signing a contract and paying a deposit, with no ‘cooling off period’
and no opportunity to change my mind.
Some Vendors will consider an offer prior to an auction which is one way of alleviating the stress. An Agent is obliged to pass on any offer made to the Vendor. In my case, the property was sought after by over a dozen purchasers, so offers were not considered.
Prior to auction, I took the following steps to ensure that the property was indeed our ‘dream home’:
• The Agent provided my Conveyancer with a copy of the Contract for Sale to check;
• I obtained a Building Inspection Report of the property to check for any unobserved defects;
• I obtained a Pest Inspection Report to check for termites and damage;
• I arranged for a trusted local real estate agent to come along and help us bid on the day.
Taking these steps provided a sense of confidence. My Conveyancer was able to query the inclusions in the contract, negotiate a 5% deposit on auction day and organise an extended settlement period to allow us to sell our existing home.
It is so important to take these preliminary steps prior to auction. Having worked as a Secretary in Commercial Litigation at WT for many years, I’m well aware of the risks and shortcuts some people take and the dire consequences that may follow.
Auction day had a carnival atmosphere. Those of us bidding had sweaty palms and dry mouths as we gathered in the backyard – everyone trying to stand toward the back to get the best view. Spectators scanned the crowd,
trying to work out who would be the winner. The Auctioneer had a theatrical manner, waving his arms as he enthused about the natural light, spacious yard, great location and fabulous indoor/outdoor living. My heart raced and my hands shook and I tried to imagine all the other bidders in their underwear to calm my nerves.
Then we were off. We started the bidding strongly, starting high and jumping confidently up by $10K each time. There were two of us in the race. At one stage all was quiet and the Auctioneer began the ‘going once, going twice…’ but then another outsider jumped in with a bold bid. Then another new contender came from nowhere and jumped to the lead. The beating of my heart slowed and I knew this wasn’t our ‘dream home’ afterall. The bids were reaching figures
I hadn’t even contemplated – over $100K above the starting price. I walked away with leaden legs, and headed to the pub with my friend for a bittersweet champagne.
The next morning I awoke feeling a sense of relief. We’d done our best and thankfully hadn’t overcommitted financially. I read in the Sunday Telegraph that it had been the strongest auction day around Sydney and our
former ‘dream home’ had attracted the highest price ever for a non-waterfront property in this suburb.
If you are buying a property at auction be sure to do your homework. Remember there is no backing out once the
hammer falls and you sign on the dotted line. Our experienced and friendly Conveyancing Team are available to advise and guide you through this potentially stressful process. I would have been lost without them