When the selling agent tries to “work you over” at an auction

When the selling agent tries to “work you over” at an auction

When the bidding stalls at an auction, the selling agent and their assistants will often go around cajoling bidders to raise their bids. This is known as “working over the buyers”.

They'll tell you, “We’re really close to the reserve. Can you give us another $20,000?” They know you’re emotionally and financially invested in the property and so they try to pressure you to bid or even raise your own bid.  However from my experience in bidding and attending hundreds of auctions, nine out of 10 times it’s just a ploy, as they are nowhere near the reserve and they’re just trying to keep the auction moving in the hope of edging that little bit closer.

In this situation there is only one response you should give. Simply ask the selling agent, “Is the property on the market yet?” Tell them you’re not increasing your bid until the property is on the market and you’re playing for keeps!  If you tell them that they’re less likely to keep annoying you and will spend more time working over someone else.

The other option the agent has is to work over the vendor and if they are having no luck with the buyers that is exactly what they will do.  It’s known as "crunching the vendor".

Generally the easiest person to work on is the vendor because the agent usually has a better relationship with them. The vendor has put their trust in the agent. And the agent has been providing feedback to them for weeks throughout the marketing campaign. They haven’t had the same opportunity to build such rapport and trust with the buyers.

The vendor’s ego is also on the line as they don't want a failed auction in front of family, friends and neighbours any more than the selling agent.  They also have invested several thousand dollars in advertising and marketing and want a result for it.  

Always keep in mind the vendor has one property to sell while you could buy any number of properties that are for sale so there is generally far more pressure on them than you. This is particularly important to remember if you are negotiating on a property that has passed in at auction as if you play it right that is when a great deal can really present itself. 

Categories: Auctions