Merlins first Property Auction

Merlin Auctions, best known for their bumper car auctions, held their first property auction at The Burlington Hotel yesterday. The auctioneers offered 10 lots (1 was withdrawn prior to auction), eight residential and two commercial properties nationwide.

The auction was a modest affair and not as well attended as we might have expected. Approximately 50 attendees, many media and property professionals rather than potential bidders, gathered.

The auction got off to a disappointing start. The auctioneer, Mr Bruce Murphy did little to enthuse the crowd and it was reminiscent of the GMAC auction flop in Cork earlier this year. To be fair to Merlins, they know the auction formula, they use it weekly to sell thousands of cars. For some reason they moved away from that formula when it came to property. A different auctioneer on the podium could, I suspect, have yielded a very different result…

Just two of the nine properties that went under the hammer reached their reserve price and sold in the room. We understand that a further two properties were sold after the auction while negotiations are ongoing for several others.

The most notable lot, a three-bed house in Dublin 3’s East Wall had a maximum reserve of €65,000 (valued €385,000 in 2008) and failed to achieve bids in excess of €64,000. This property sold for €65,000 immediately after the auction.

Unfortunately for Merlins and other auctioneers entering this arena, Allsop Space have really nailed the BMV multi-lot auction market. As the buyers’ champion, we genuinely welcome new players and Merlin have all the right ingredients but only if they embrace the new market and give buyers what they want – good quality properties, at the right price, offered in a transparent way. That means no more ‘retiring into talks with the highest bidder’ – that way is the old way for auctioneers to bleed buyers. No more. Bidding at auction is how the market speaks, do not ignore the market, listen to it, respect it. The highest bid constitutes current market value and we urge buyers not to pay a cent more in private post-auction negotiation than they would in the auction room, otherwise they are effectively bidding against themselves!

The property team at Merlins are to be congratulated on their first property auction and we would love to see them learn from this one and come back in March with more lots that are priced for the market and genuinely ready for sale.

Buyers who are thinking of bidding at auction can contact us for independent, expert advice on 01 4428 035 or email

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