Your post-auction strategy: What to do if the hammer doesn’t fall

by Martin Cooper on September 16, 2018


Auctions can be a very efficient way to sell. In an ideal world all properties put up for auction would be snapped up under the hammer. That doesn’t always happen.

Sometimes the property doesn’t sell on the day, but the agent starts negotiations with the highest bidder and the sale is concluded. If the highest bidder doesn’t buy at the seller’s reserve price, it’s offered to the other bidders.

Most properties do end up selling within a few weeks of the auction even if they don’t sell on the day. Sometimes there are purchasers who couldn’t bid because they aren’t in a position to go unconditional at an auction. They may still be able to buy subject to finance or other conditions.

If the property doesn’t sell at auction or subsequently to the other bidders or interested parties, it’s time to sit down with the agent for a debrief.

What was the feedback at the open homes? Was the reserve price too high for the market? What was it about your home that stopped bidders putting their hands up?

Maybe it was simply that the right buyer wasn’t in the market at the point you went to auction, says Martin Cooper, managing director of Harcourts Cooper & Co on the North Shore.

“There are new buyers coming into the market every day. Don’t get disheartened. Just keep promoting the property and marketing the property.”

Too many vendors “crisi-fy” the situation if the property hasn’t sold, whereas there are simple steps to take to get a solution, says Cooper. “Selling a property is as much about persistence and patience.”

The price being too high is one of the main reasons that properties don’t sell at auction. If your house is priced too high, says Cooper, all you’re doing is selling all the other properties in the area that are priced more realistically.

Have you taken the advice of your agent? Have you researched the area properly? Just because your neighbour’s property sold for $x doesn’t mean yours will. There could be very subtle differences. The quality of the finish could be different at your neighbour’s house. The market could have moved slightly or it just might be that one buyer really fell in love with the neighbour’s house.

If your agent doesn’t think the price is too high, then what else could be wrong? Was the presentation a problem? Maybe the house needs work and not everyone is able/willing/prepared to do that.

Get out yourself to open homes and view the competition. Be realistic about how your property compares.

Sometimes it’s worth taking a break from the market, dealing with any presentation issues, getting new photos and videos taken, and starting afresh a few months down the line.

If you didn’t use home staging first time around, consider whether this might be helpful, says Cooper.

Don’t be in a hurry to change agents. It may not be the agent’s fault. Sometimes a new agent may think differently about the selling process and market it differently.

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Martin CooperYour post-auction strategy: What to do if the hammer doesn’t fall