What to Expect at Auction

Auctions in Ireland are something of a spectator sport and attendance of 30 to 50 people is entirely normal, the upcoming Allsops SPACE Estate Agents auction on the 15th April 2011 at The Shelbourne Hotel is likely to attract several times that number of attendees. Buyers should not be intimidated by this; a crowd of 50 attendees will rarely produce more than three or four bidders. So out of a possible several hundred expected attendees on the 15th April, there are likely to be less than 50 genuine bidders.

It is usually more advantageous for an intending bidder to sit or stand to the rear of the room or hall but bidders should ensure that they are within sight of the auctioneer. Most auctioneers will have one or two colleagues beside them watching for any bids that they miss. It is worth noting here that it is the bidder’s responsibility to make himself seen and heard by the auctioneer.

Before the auction kicks off, the vendor’s solicitor will read through the essentials of the title and through the special conditions of sale attaching to the property. They will deal with any queries on title at this stage but buyers should be aware that this is merely a formality to comply with the rules for auctions. No intending bidder should be hearing about the title for the first time five minutes before bidding starts.

While the bidding process may vary from one auction to another, they tend to follow the same pattern. The auctioneer must coax the first bidder and this can take about 5 to 10 minutes. To the uninitiated, there appears to be little interest in the property. Buyers should not be fooled though, silence at this stage is strategic. This is also a vulnerable point for buyers. By engaging too early or too vehemently, they are showing their hand.

*Remember, the key is to find a motivated seller at auction, not to become a motivated buyer!*


While every auctioneer will deny the practice of what is commonly referred to as dummy bids or ‘taking bids from the wall’, anecdotally, it used to be very prevalent. It would be naive not to acknowledge its existence at this stage and buyers are urged to be observant and pay attention to other bidders, in particular, to the first bidder.

In the next post I will go through bidding strategies. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us directly in info@buyersbroker.ie or 01 4428 035 for full auction particulars and advice.

~Carol Tallon
Author of the Irish Property Buyers Handbook 2011 (published through Liffey Press, available May 2011)

As Featured In:

Buyers Broker International