Reading the crowd is key to bidding like a pro

Knowing how to read a crowd is often the trick to securing a property that’s going under the hammer. Here are some of the people you find at any auction, to help ensure that come the next one, you’re the winning bidder.

The nervous newbie

Auctioneers can spot potential homebuyers new to the property market a mile off. Sometimes their anxious faces give the game away. Other times, it’s how and when they bid. They come prepared – new homebuyers will have their bidding strategy mapped out, with their minimum and maximum bids written down to guide them during the auction.

New or first-time bidders will often bid first, showing their cards too early. This tips off other bidders that they’re interested in the property and also reveals their price range. Competitor bidders can use this information to outbid these buyers and secure the best deal.

Fast and furious

Enthusiastic bidders bid fast and furiously, keen to communicate to the rest of the crowd that they are serious players. This can frighten off some bidders, but more often than not, fast bidders risk reaching the limit of their budget too early, leaving little room to move in the final stages of auction.

Where’s Wally

It takes focus and experience to spot the person in the crowd who doesn’t want to be seen. I call these the “where’s Wally” types. These bidders typically fly under the radar, observing quietly.

They keep a low profile so as not to attract attention and incite competitive bidding. They’ll often bid with a small amount at the beginning, then nothing until the final stages. Or, bid at the very end (when others have already revealed their price range) with a number others can’t compete with.

Curious neighbours

Auctions are loud and fast-paced affairs that often capture the attention of passers-by. Neighbours and locals will often pop down to an auction, keen to see what properties in their area are selling for. You can tell that these individuals are not there to bid by their relaxed body language and curious expressions. Whether they’re looking to sell themselves or invest in the area in future, it makes for some free market research close to home.

Experienced expert

Experienced bidders are calm and careful bidders, mindful of different personalities around them at auction. They’ll always have a firm budget and a strategy in mind. Often you’ll spot them at the back, on the phone to clients, keeping them updated throughout the process. This is the person you want bidding on your behalf. Assured, confident and adept at flying under the radar.

Article supplied by Oren Flamm of Hodges Caulfield.

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