Emotions are running high at property auctions across Canberra, and Real Estate Institute ACT CEO Michelle Tynan is encouraging buyers to remain calm and accept that they may not secure the home of their dreams at auction.
She said a recent incident where an auctioneer and agent were verbally abused by an underbidder after missing out on a sale was a rare occurrence.
However, Ms Tynan said buyers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the current market and the auction process can exacerbate their emotional response when the result is not what they had hoped for.
“People need to take five deep breaths and calm themselves down,” she said.
“If people miss out on the home of their dreams, it’s human nature to want to lash out, but they should be respectful to agents and auctioneers who are just doing their job.
“Unfortunately, not everyone gets the outcome they would like.”
That was the case on 8 May when Stephen Bunday from LJ Hooker Dickson took an Ainslie home to auction.
Mr Bunday said just as auctioneer Kaylene King slammed down the gavel, a bidder shouted out a higher offer, causing confusion.
“It was simultaneous,” he said. “Kaylene had called the sale three times and just as the hammer fell, a bid came from the right.
“We went inside and spoke to the owner who agreed to reopen the auction because it was determined by the auctioneer to be a disputed bid.”
Mr Bunday said the underbidders were offered another chance to bid, but declined.
“I can understand they were gutted and in shock because they had watched the hammer go down and thought they had purchased the property,” he said.
“But when we tried to explain that to reopen the auction was within the legislation, they just lost it and walked away, saying it was disgusting.
“They were really angry and felt like they had been ripped off. The whole thing was so ugly.”
Ms Tynan agreed Mr Bunday and Ms King made the correct decision based on the Terms and Conditions of Auction Sale.
“In this instance, the auctioneer went above and beyond, explaining the terms and conditions prior to auction, and people had agreed to bid under those conditions,” said Ms Tynan.
“When the gavel fell, it was a disputed bid so they no longer had a highest bidder.
“The auctioneer’s decision to reopen the auction and accept the higher bid was final.
“The underbidder refused to bid again so therefore the property was sold to the highest bidder. It was correct – they did the right thing.”
Ms Tynan said the terms and conditions are in place so buyers and sellers can understand how auctions work.
She said if people are serious about buying a property at auction, they should stand front and centre where the auctioneer can see them.
“Don’t stand at the back and hide, waiting until the last minute to bid,” she added.
If buyers are feeling stressed and emotional, Ms Tynan said they can choose to engage a buyers’ agent to do the hard work for them.
She also said attending ‘practice auctions’ before going to the auction of the property people want to buy can help.
“I say to a lot of people who are contemplating entering the market to attend auctions to see what happens because this can prepare them for what lies ahead.”
Ms Tynan said all around Australia buyers are letting their emotions take over, becoming frustrated and sometimes angry, and often bidding well in excess of their approved limit because they are so focused on getting a particular property.
Mr Bunday said real estate agents don’t want to upset anyone. He added the Ainslie auction incident left him and Ms King feeling “lousy”.
“It was really awful when it should have been a happy occasion,” he said.