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    • Jonny501
    • By Jonny501 14th Sep 18, 11:35 AM
    • 1Posts
    • 0Thanks
    Jonny501
    Property Auction - tactics by agents legal?
    • #1
    • 14th Sep 18, 11:35 AM
    Property Auction - tactics by agents legal? 14th Sep 18 at 11:35 AM
    I'm putting this out there as I can't seem to find anywhere on the web where this has been discussed.
    I have sold a property recently via an auction, it was a buy to let in another city. During the process I came across some unprofessional tactics, (unprofessional is only my opinion, this might be normal?). The property was on the market for about 1.5 years. Initially with your normal estate agents, I must add I had marketed it at above the going value. However the first time I approached an auction, we agreed a reserve based on their valuation and then they suggested a guide price. This was all fine, however a month later I got an email the day before the auction saying my property had been withdrawn from the auction as there had been little interest.
    This was unexpected news as a week earlier I had received an email from the estate agent which was appointed by this auction agent that they were pleased to inform me there was very high interest with a number of viewings. I queried this and they came back saying no one had put offers, I would have though they maybe waiting for the auction day, but I let it go as I'd waited so long. The next auction approached a month later and the same thing happened, only this time the auction team said they had received an offer, nearly 15k below the guide price. During this 2-3 month experience I received a call twice a week from different people at the auction agents office trying to get me to drop the reserve price. I ended up refusing and cancelling the agreement.

    Recently I sold with a different agent and they did pretty much the same thing, but the calls to drop the reserve price we practically every other day. I was contacted by a local investor, I directed him to the auction agent as the sale was to go through them due to my contract but I was now aware of his offer (which was too low). I got a call on the day of the auction pressuring to drop the reserve, they were constantly trying to get it lower by 5k at a time. I know that this is my decision but I felt all the calls, voicemails, text messages, emails got a little too much.

    As it happened I dropped the reserve on the morning of the auction by 10k expecting this would probably mean I will have the property sold. However that evening there was no sale,so the next day I emailed the agent to say, as there was no sale, I am now considering my options but would like to go back to my original (higher) reserve and also put my notice in to cancel the contract.
    This lead to daily calls, texts and emails from the agent trying to haggle over the reserve, and negotiate lower fees etc etc. The agent also let the name slip of the investor who had contacted myself, saying an offer had come in at the reserve that was set on the night of the auction. It was almost as if they were working with the investor, how did he know what this would have been, and I knew his original offer, sure he could have changed this but someone must have told him. Almost as if he had some sort of inside information. As my contract came to an end I received all sorts of emails, reminding me of the contractual position around if they find a buyer at my reserve, they also tried saying they were unaware my reserve had been raised following that auction night. I thought it was really unprofessional the way they were trying so desperately to get that fee.

    I ended up selling my property but my experience with these auction agents left me thinking people could really be exploited and is there anyone monitoring how they do business?

    Is this normal behaviour? Anyone else had issues with property auction agents?
Page 1
    • G_M
    • By G_M 14th Sep 18, 12:13 PM
    • 45,851 Posts
    • 55,337 Thanks
    G_M
    • #2
    • 14th Sep 18, 12:13 PM
    • #2
    • 14th Sep 18, 12:13 PM
    I don't understand this at all.


    A property placed in an auction will.... go to auction. Whether you are marketing in parallel via estate agents is irrelevant.


    No auction house would withdraw your property from auction "for lack of interest" - they make their money by selling properties at their auctions!
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 14th Sep 18, 12:17 PM
    • 5,474 Posts
    • 5,559 Thanks
    Comms69
    • #3
    • 14th Sep 18, 12:17 PM
    • #3
    • 14th Sep 18, 12:17 PM
    I'm putting this out there as I can't seem to find anywhere on the web where this has been discussed.
    I have sold a property recently via an auction, it was a buy to let in another city. During the process I came across some unprofessional tactics, (unprofessional is only my opinion, this might be normal?). The property was on the market for about 1.5 years. Initially with your normal estate agents, I must add I had marketed it at above the going value. However the first time I approached an auction, we agreed a reserve based on their valuation and then they suggested a guide price. This was all fine, however a month later I got an email the day before the auction saying my property had been withdrawn from the auction as there had been little interest.
    This was unexpected news as a week earlier I had received an email from the estate agent which was appointed by this auction agent that they were pleased to inform me there was very high interest with a number of viewings. I queried this and they came back saying no one had put offers, I would have though they maybe waiting for the auction day, but I let it go as I'd waited so long. The next auction approached a month later and the same thing happened, only this time the auction team said they had received an offer, nearly 15k below the guide price. During this 2-3 month experience I received a call twice a week from different people at the auction agents office trying to get me to drop the reserve price. I ended up refusing and cancelling the agreement.

    Recently I sold with a different agent and they did pretty much the same thing, but the calls to drop the reserve price we practically every other day. I was contacted by a local investor, I directed him to the auction agent as the sale was to go through them due to my contract but I was now aware of his offer (which was too low). I got a call on the day of the auction pressuring to drop the reserve, they were constantly trying to get it lower by 5k at a time. I know that this is my decision but I felt all the calls, voicemails, text messages, emails got a little too much.

    As it happened I dropped the reserve on the morning of the auction by 10k expecting this would probably mean I will have the property sold. However that evening there was no sale,so the next day I emailed the agent to say, as there was no sale, I am now considering my options but would like to go back to my original (higher) reserve and also put my notice in to cancel the contract.
    This lead to daily calls, texts and emails from the agent trying to haggle over the reserve, and negotiate lower fees etc etc. The agent also let the name slip of the investor who had contacted myself, saying an offer had come in at the reserve that was set on the night of the auction. It was almost as if they were working with the investor, how did he know what this would have been, and I knew his original offer, sure he could have changed this but someone must have told him. Almost as if he had some sort of inside information. As my contract came to an end I received all sorts of emails, reminding me of the contractual position around if they find a buyer at my reserve, they also tried saying they were unaware my reserve had been raised following that auction night. I thought it was really unprofessional the way they were trying so desperately to get that fee.

    I ended up selling my property but my experience with these auction agents left me thinking people could really be exploited and is there anyone monitoring how they do business?

    Is this normal behaviour? Anyone else had issues with property auction agents?
    Originally posted by Jonny501


    What? exploited? If they don't think they'll sell with that reserve price they're not going to make any money are they?...


    I didn't think children could own property in this country....
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 14th Sep 18, 1:37 PM
    • 7,174 Posts
    • 7,127 Thanks
    eddddy
    • #4
    • 14th Sep 18, 1:37 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Sep 18, 1:37 PM
    People post in this forum complaining about EAs, but as you've found, most EAs are poodles compared to some of the Rottweiler auctioneers.

    You need to read their contract carefully, decide what you want, and stick to your guns.

    My responses to their hassling tended to be along the lines of "stop playing games with me and get on with selling the property".

    FWIW, in my case - when a property failed to reach reserve - the auctioneer hassled buyers to increase offers after the auction just as hard as he hassled sellers to reduce reserves. So maybe it balances out.
    Last edited by eddddy; 14-09-2018 at 1:55 PM.
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 14th Sep 18, 3:57 PM
    • 11,174 Posts
    • 9,531 Thanks
    lincroft1710
    • #5
    • 14th Sep 18, 3:57 PM
    • #5
    • 14th Sep 18, 3:57 PM

    FWIW, in my case - when a property failed to reach reserve - the auctioneer hassled buyers to increase offers after the auction just as hard as he hassled sellers to reduce reserves. So maybe it balances out.
    Originally posted by eddddy
    Which makes sense because if you can't persuade the vendor to come down you have to persuade prospective buyers to come up or no sale and importantly (for them) no commission.
    • Cakeguts
    • By Cakeguts 14th Sep 18, 4:04 PM
    • 5,216 Posts
    • 7,901 Thanks
    Cakeguts
    • #6
    • 14th Sep 18, 4:04 PM
    • #6
    • 14th Sep 18, 4:04 PM
    Most of this I actually don't understand. The auctioneers will market a property and if they don't think it will reach the reserve they will ask the vendor to lower the reserve.
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 14th Sep 18, 5:30 PM
    • 7,174 Posts
    • 7,127 Thanks
    eddddy
    • #7
    • 14th Sep 18, 5:30 PM
    • #7
    • 14th Sep 18, 5:30 PM
    Most of this I actually don't understand. The auctioneers will market a property and if they don't think it will reach the reserve they will ask the vendor to lower the reserve.
    Originally posted by Cakeguts
    You need to deal with these people to understand their tactics.

    If you allowed yourself to be bullied, the 5 minute post-auction phone call might go like this:

    Auctioneer: "The property didn't make it's 100k reserve in the sale, but if you reduce the reserve to 90k, I'm pretty sure I can get a sale today"

    Seller:"OK, reduce the reserve to 90k"

    Auctioneer: "Excellent, that's a great start. If we can make the reserve 80k, that will save me having to call you back if somebody offers just under 90k"

    Seller "........ ok make the reserve 80k"

    Auctioneer: "That's marvelous. But a much better plan is to make the reserve 70k. At that level, I can get a few people interested, and they'll bid against each other, and I'll probably get them up to 100k"

    etc, etc.

    If you don't let it get to you, it can actually be quite amusing to listen to their increasingly desperate attempts to make you lower the reserve.
    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 15th Sep 18, 6:18 AM
    • 2,988 Posts
    • 2,059 Thanks
    Tom99
    • #8
    • 15th Sep 18, 6:18 AM
    • #8
    • 15th Sep 18, 6:18 AM
    Many years ago I used to work for a well known property auctioneer who used to put three or four of their own employees in the room to bid between themselves up to one bid below the reserve price.
    I think that might have been illegal even in those days.
    • bxboards
    • By bxboards 15th Sep 18, 9:17 AM
    • 1,611 Posts
    • 1,260 Thanks
    bxboards
    • #9
    • 15th Sep 18, 9:17 AM
    • #9
    • 15th Sep 18, 9:17 AM
    Many years ago I used to work for a well known property auctioneer who used to put three or four of their own employees in the room to bid between themselves up to one bid below the reserve price.
    I think that might have been illegal even in those days.
    Originally posted by Tom99
    It still happens now. I was doing a telephone bid, and I was 'outbid' by another telephone buyer, with the person handling my call desperate for me to increase mine ('another 1k will get it for sure!') - I heard it 'sold' to the the other phone bid as we were over the reserve - I wondered why they'd asked me what my maximum would be pre-phone call

    Off course, it never sold in reality.
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 15th Sep 18, 3:14 PM
    • 11,174 Posts
    • 9,531 Thanks
    lincroft1710
    In one of those "Homes Under the Hammer" type programmes a few years ago, the auctioneer said on camera he had been taking "bids off the wall" to get the price up towards the reserve
    • YoungBlueEyes
    • By YoungBlueEyes 15th Sep 18, 8:06 PM
    • 486 Posts
    • 655 Thanks
    YoungBlueEyes
    Taking bids off the wall still happens.

    A wee while ago I was bidding in an auction for a picture I particularly wanted. I pulled out when it hit my limit, which was below the reserve. I went back on Monday with cash in my hand and (after much haggling and sucking of teeth by the fellah) I bought it for half what I was prepared to pay in the auction
    I don't make the same mistake twice. I like to make it 5 or 6 times, you know, just to be sure.

    Look before you leap. No I mean really look. And take a friend so they can look too. Then leap. Maybe.
    • Crashy Time
    • By Crashy Time 15th Sep 18, 8:11 PM
    • 6,808 Posts
    • 2,509 Thanks
    Crashy Time
    Much simpler just to price a property to sell through an EA IMO, much less stress and hassle, a year and a half is a long time to be chasing buyers
    • Computer Beginner
    • By Computer Beginner 16th Sep 18, 11:08 PM
    • 269 Posts
    • 150 Thanks
    Computer Beginner
    My understanding is that 'bidding off the wall' is still legal, but shill bidding is not.

    So why did the OP put the property in an auction anyway? There's usually some issue with auction properties.

    The best way for an auction to be run is with no (or very low) reserve prices. That way you'll get more bids and the property will sell for its true market value.
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