Auctioneers are much more cunning than you may think – they are trained to get the highest bid from the crowd in front of them, and they will employ several techniques to ensure they achieve this.
TV presenter, Sydney-based property expert, and founder of Good Deeds Property Buyers, Veronica Morgan, says it’s important to skill up as a bidder before going into auction, to avoid going beyond your budget and falling for these tricks.
Morgan highlights five things auctioneers do to make you bid more at auction:
1. Playing nice
Auctioneers are charming – you really feel as though they’re on your side. But the truth is, they are working for the vendor who wants the highest bid possible for their abode.
“When they come to you before the auction and they’re really nice to you, they’re actually warming you up and they’re sort of getting a bit of a bond going with you,” Morgan explains.
“Then you are more likely to respond and actually give them an opening bid.”
2. Using the tempo of their voice
If you’ve ever been to an auction, chances are you’ve been blown away by how loudly the auctioneer projects his/her voice.
Not only is this to make sure everyone can hear the numbers being bid, but it’s also a clever auctioneer’s technique to get the bid they want.
“They are going to use that tempo to generate a sense of urgency, a sense of ‘you’ve got to get in there or you’re going to miss out’,” says Morgan.
“When it slows down, they look you in the eye and in a way they are hypnotising you. They do that very, very deliberately – they are trying to get more money out of you.”
3. Raising the gavel
The gavel is the auctioneer’s prop – it signals the final closing bid.
Morgan says the auctioneers will often get more money out of the bidders if they create a false sense of urgency with the gavel by raising it at the ready to close the deal.
“They raise it and you think that they’re going to start calling ‘going once, going twice, going three times, sold’, because if you think you’re going to miss out, you’re going to suddenly put your hand in the air,” she says.
This way, the numbers continue to go up with more bids being called out.
4. Doing their homework
Everyone at an auction comes to it under different circumstances. It could be that they are an investor, they are a young family looking to upgrade, or they are a first-home buyer.
Morgan says that really good auctioneers have done a lot of homework, and will be up-to-date and understand the situation of every single bidder for the property they are selling.
“So when it gets down to the pointy end and there are only two bidders left, they actually know which one of you has the most money,” she says.
That’s why it’s important to also do your own homework by tracking a home’s value before you go to auction.
Anchoring is when the auctioneer will start at the lower bid or the asking price at which the house was advertised for. This brings more bidders into the game.
However, they then, of course, continue to raise the price slowly, so you still feel you can bid.
This often ends up far beyond what you could originally afford. They got you bidding though, didn’t they? And maybe even a bit higher than what you had originally anticipated.