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Passed in at auction? Here's what you need to do next.

Auction: a wooden gavel sits on top of a wooden table at an auction.

The hammer falls, the auction has ended, and the bidding is all done. You're the highest bidder, but the property is passed in. What now?

What happens next?

As the highest bidder, you have the exclusive first right to negotiate with the seller. The agent will likely invite you inside to discuss the property, but it's important to stay outside. Being inside the seller's territory can put you at a psychological disadvantage. Instead, let the agent go back and forth between you and the seller. This will keep you in control of the negotiation.

Time is on your side.

The agent may have another auction to attend, and the seller has invested time and money in the auction process. They want to see a result. Use this to your advantage and don't be afraid to walk away if you're not happy with the price.

Do your research.

If you've done your research and checked recent sale prices of similar properties in the neighbourhood, you'll have a rough idea of what the house is worth. This, along with the price the property was passed in at, should give you some idea of what the seller is hoping to get.

Consider the seller's motivation.

You may also have done a little due diligence on the seller. If you know why they're selling, you might get a sense of how urgent the sale is. For example, if the seller is moving overseas or has already bought another property, they may be more motivated to sell quickly.

Find the right price.

You know how much you can afford and how much you're prepared to pay. Now you need to find a price that works for both you and the seller. It's not a bad idea to ask the agent how much the seller really wants if they haven't disclosed the reserve. Stick to your guns and don't be afraid to walk away if you're not happy with the price.

Negotiate effectively.

When negotiating, avoid telling the agent your walk-away price. They'll try to get as close to that price as possible. Keep it vague. Also, keep your emotions in check. Real estate agents can smell emotional investment in a property at 20 paces.

Be flexible.

Spending slightly more than you planned probably won't seem like such a big deal in four or five years' time if it helps you secure the home you really want. But don't be afraid to walk away if you're not happy with the price.


If your auction is passed in, don't panic. You still have the exclusive first right to negotiate with the seller. Do your research, understand the seller's motivation, and find the right price. Negotiate effectively and be flexible. With a little patience and perseverance, you'll be able to secure the home you really want.

Additional tips

  • Get pre-approved for a loan before the auction. This will show the seller that you're serious about buying the property and that you have the financial means to do so.

  • Bring a friend or family member with you to the auction. They can help you stay calm and make rational decisions.

  • Don't get caught up in the excitement of the auction. It's easy to get carried away and bid more than you can afford. Stick to your budget and don't be afraid to walk away if the price gets too high.

Want to learn more? Talk to our brokers today!


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