Selling before auction has been a marked Sydney trend

Selling before auction has been a marked Sydney trend
Selling before auction has been a marked Sydney trend

Selling before auction has been a marked trend this autumn as a consequence of the new listings landscape across Sydney.

In fact, on many Saturdays this year, the number of sold before auction outcomes has exceeded the number of property that have sold under the hammer on the day.

It makes good practice to for both vendors and buyers, and their agents, to give consideration to doing the deal ahead of auction.

The trend is an emerging response to the fact that there are fewer buyers in the market, and the lack of their urgency, but it is not necessarily a reflection of desolate buyer interest.

It also reflects the anxiousness of agents and vendors prepared to take the likely best offer when it's presented rather than the risk of the auction falling flat and facing an extended period on market.

The pre-auction sale trend also turns up in the heat of the boom when long suffering, would-be buyers put in bullish offers that likely exceeded anything from rivals at auction.

But most auctioneers now report that there's typically been one or possibly two registered bidders at auctions. 

As always, it is important for the vendor and agent to monitor and discuss any pre-auction interest to ensure the likely best outcome is achieved.

The agent ought be be in regular contact with the vendor on the depth of buyer interest, and in these tougher credit times, on the state of the buyer financial preparedness.

There's no point giving too much credence to an offer if the buyers hasn't been through the rigours of getting bank approval. 

Of course, the smart buyer is going to try to find out the vendor's motivation for selling and how much competitive interest there is in the property.

It is possible an agent can engineer a Dutch auction in the days before the auction, where potential purchasers end up making blind bids prior to the property going to auction. But these are not that common in the current market.

Time can be another key factor that makes vendors rethink going all the way through to auction.

Some vendors may have already found another property, and will be keen to sell quickly.

A typical four-week auction marketing campaign - and sometimes they are five weeks given the lending landscape - can seem an eternity.

Buyers who demonstrate to the vendor and the agent that they’re interested, i.e. attending several of the open inspections and doing a building and pest inspection report, are signals that set them apart from the rest.

Putting a decent offer in writing then forces the vendor to focus on the offer. It is doubtful buyers are going to accomplish a pre-auction deal with a lowball offer.

And making it more enticing might include offering a short settlement period; a bigger deposit and waiving the cooling-off period that comes with private treaty deals.

Sydney currently has 30,000 listings, according to CoreLogic, although the bumper list reflects more unsold stock than fresh offerings.

Fresh offerings are down 18% on the same time last year.

Private treaty listings are needing to be discounted by around eight percent to secure a sale, with its typically taking 40 days.

This time last year there were 27,000 listings, taking 31 days to find a buyer at a six percent discount.

Auctions therefore remain a viable proposition for many vendors despite the prevailing gloomier than necessary headlines.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

Sydney Auctions Pre-auction

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