Sold! The Block’s Nicole Jacobs talks strategies for buying at auction

Finance Journalist · 29 August 2019
Whether you’re a first home buyer, looking to upscale, downsize, invest, or simply move elsewhere, buying a home can be an exciting but challenging experience, especially if you’re unsure of where to start.

The Block’s Nicole Jacobs, has shared her knowledge and advice on navigating the home-buying process in her book, SOLD! How to buy and sell your home with real confidence.

Jacobs, who has worked in the property industry for 18 years, has been part of the team from The Block as a buyer’s advocate (otherwise known as a buyer’s agent) since 2014.

Her book is intended to be a step-by-step guide for buying a home, from thinking through your motivations for buying property through to the practical elements of researching the market and completing your due diligence.

In the seventh chapter of her book, Jacobs discusses the ins and outs of auctions, and how buyers can put their best foot forward when bidding in a private or public setting.

Here is an excerpt from chapter seven, exclusive to Canstar and republished with permission:

Chapter 7 – The Rules of Engagement: Auctions

Many people believe the person who has access to the most money will win at an auction. If only life was that simple. Auctions rely almost as much on strategy as they do on cash. You need to have your plan mapped out before the day.

Here is your checklist for buying at auction:

Before the auction

  • Be sure to let the agent know if you are interested – there is no sense playing games – so they can let you know of pre-auction offers by other buyers.
  • Have relevant inspections and reports done.
  • Ask to have any conditions or terms, such as paying a partial deposit on the day, written into the contract.
  • Consider whether you want to make the owner a pre-auction offer.
  • Before the day, get your deposit ready to go and make sure your bank or financial institution providing the loan can settle in the time that you are going to put on the contract – that is, 45 days or 60 days.
  • Get yourself in the right frame of mind for the auction – choose to wear something that makes you feel confident, have your support person ready to go, listen to some pump-up music, be very clear in your head what your end point is – in the hours beforehand.
auction bidding
Source: streetlucifer (Shutterstock)

At the auction

  • Before the auction commences, pick a position of strength where you can see everyone else and the auctioneer.
  • As the auctioneer begins, he or she will make an announcement that details the property, the laws that apply to the auction and any rules.
  • If you are nervous, enter the bidding early to show the auctioneer you are interested. They will always come back to you even if you stop or slow down.
  • Bid in full numbers: $2,500,000 not $2.5 million, and never finish on a round number
  • Ask any questions you may have about the way the auction is proceeding – what the bid increments are, for example – if you feel as though you have missed something.
  • If the bidding has slowed you can ask, if unsure, if the property is on the market. If it looks like the property will be passed in, aim to be the highest bidder and in the driver’s seat when it comes to post-auction negotiations.
  • Watch the crowd for body language
  • If you hear the words ‘we are on the market’, or ‘the keys are in their hands’, you know the property is about to be sold, so make sure you are part of the action if you are still within your budget.
  • If you are the highest bidder at the auction and it is on the market, it will be knocked down to you.
  • Be ready to sign the contract, write a cheque or transfer the deposit, then celebrate.

This is an edited extract from SOLD! by Nicole Jacobs published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $29.99 and is available in stores nationally.

Headshot image source: Rachel Devine

Cover image source: Mohd KhairilX (Shutterstock)

Nicole JacobsAbout Nicole Jacobs

Nicole Jacobs is a property adviser and buyer’s advocate, and is the founder of a boutique real estate company. She appears as property expert on Channel Nine’s renovation program, The Block, helping contestants understand what buyers are looking for.


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