Selling at Auction: simple strategies to improve your chances of a sale

With auction clearance rates disappointingly low, sellers have to work hard to achieve a good price at auction. Follow these simple strategies to improve your chances of a sale.

Shop around for an agent

Talk to at least three real estate agents and compare their commissions, other fees, marketing plans and track records of selling in your suburb (ask them to provide evidence). When interviewing potential auctioneers, ask them for a breakdown of how they intend to advertise your house and their personal preferences regarding the auction process.

Read the fine print

Don't sign an agency agreement until you understand what it means for you in terms of cost and what the agent is committing to do for you. Once you sign the agreement it is legally binding and the auctioneer has no obligation to let you out of the agreement if you are unhappy with the service provided.

Push for promotion

Work out an appropriate advertising budget to ensure your property is widely advertised. Allow your agent to arrange as many inspections as possible - remember not all buyers are available for a weekend open house.

Set a realistic reserve

You have the right to set the reserve price, below which the auctioneer is not permitted to sell. Keep watch in your local area for sales of similar properties and take note of the sale prices to get an idea of how much your property could be worth. With interest rates up and clearance rates down (see box), you may need to be prepared to lower your expectations about how much your home will sell for.

Create street appeal

If a property doesn't look good from the outside, many buyers won't even bother looking inside. Small improvements like a tidy garden and cobweb-free exterior can make all the difference.

Freshen up

Cleaning your home for open house doesn't just mean a once over with the vacuum, it means a thorough spring clean. Pay extra attention to bathrooms and kitchens, as well as taking care of any minor repairs like broken taps or chipped paint. De-clutter your home of personal items and excess furniture - the trick is to give your home enough visual appeal for a buyer to imagine themselves living there.

Have a back up

Decide on a plan if the auction is unsuccessful. If negotiations with the highest bidder don't turn out, you may need to consider a second marketing campaign focused on a private sale either with the same or another agent

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