Everything You Need to Know Before Attending an Auction in NSW

July 14, 2023

Navigating an auction can be a thrilling yet complex experience, especially if you're unfamiliar with the applicable rules and regulations. This comprehensive guide will delve into the essential aspects of property auction rules in NSW.

1. The Reserve Price

The vendor, selling agent and the auctioneer collaboratively establish a reserve price, which is the minimum amount the vendor is willing to accept. If the bidding does not meet the reserve price, the auctioneer may pause the auction and initiate negotiations with the highest bidder to reach a mutually acceptable price.

2. The Absence of a Cooling-off Period

Contrary to some private treaty sales, residential property auctions in NSW do not offer a cooling-off period. Once the auctioneer's hammer falls, the property sale becomes final, and the contract is binding immediately. This means you must have the contract reviewed and negotiated by your legal representative before attending the auction. 

3. Deposits and Payment

Successful bidders are required to pay a deposit, typically 10% of the purchase price, right after the auction concludes. The deposit can normally be paid via a personal cheque, bank cheque, electronic funds transfer (EFT), or DEFT Auction Pay. If a 5% deposit better aligns with your financial situation, this must be arranged before the auction. Make sure to check with the selling agent before attending the auction on the payment options that will be available.

4. Vendor & Dummy Bids

Vendor bids are allowed in NSW but must be declared explicitly by the auctioneer. These bids, made by the auctioneer on behalf of the vendor, help stimulate interest and maintain momentum during the auction. On the contrary, dummy bids (bids made by individuals with no intention to purchase the property) are considered illegal in NSW.

5. The Bidders Guide

In NSW, real estate agents are obligated to provide all potential bidders with a document, known as the Bidders Guide, before the auction begins. This guide comprehensively explains the auction process, giving crucial insights that help bidders navigate the auction effectively.

6. Registering to Bid

Potential bidders are required to register before they can participate in the auction. After registration, the real estate agent assigns you a bidder's number, which is to be used when making your bids.

7. Authorising a Bid When You Can't Attend

If you're unable to attend an auction but wish to bid on a property, you can authorise someone else to bid on your behalf. This requires signing an Authority to Bid Letter. It's worth noting that a power of attorney is not necessary for auctions in NSW.

Case Study: A Seamless Auction Experience

Consider the experience of one of our clients, Jono, a first-time home buyer. Jono was interested in a property up for auction but felt overwhelmed by the process. We walked him through the nuances of the auction rules, including understanding the reserve price, the importance of registering to bid and arranging the 10% deposit in a format accepted by the selling agent.

This guidance equipped Jono with the confidence and understanding to navigate the auction day successfully, resulting in him placing the winning bid and handling the payment process seamlessly.

Common Questions About Property Auctions in NSW

In our experience, clients often have several questions about property auctions in NSW. Here are answers to some of the most common ones:

What happens if the property passes in? If the highest bid is below the reserve price, the property will 'pass in.' The auctioneer can then negotiate a sale with the highest bidder.

Can I inspect the property before the auction? Yes, property inspection is highly encouraged before the auction. It allows you to assess the property's condition and can play a critical role in determining your maximum bid.

Do I need a solicitor or conveyancer for a property auction? While not mandatory, having a solicitor or conveyancer can be extremely beneficial. They can help you understand the contract of sale, conduct essential property checks, and guide you through the legal complexities of the auction process.

Remember, purchasing a property at an auction represents a significant commitment. It's crucial to understand the rules, research the property and market thoroughly, and seek professional advice if required.

As experienced lawyers and conveyancers, we are here to guide you through every step of the auction process, ensuring your property transaction is as smooth and straightforward as possible. If you need assistance with a property auction in NSW, don't hesitate to reach out.

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