Understanding auction-speak

Understanding Property Auction TermsAuctions are an exciting time, but they’re also an adventure most buyers don’t experience regularly. At a time where auctions are rampant amongst many inner suburbs across all states, it’s important that potential purchasers are aware of the language being used by auctioneers and what hidden messages may be behind their words.



Some of the common terminology used at auctions today:


“I will only accept rises of $20,000 or larger” typically means that there is a long way to go before reaching the property’s reserve.


“First call…Second call” If this is called before meeting a reserve then the auctioneer is often trying to induce more bids after a slow period. If said after reaching the reserve, it’s go time- bid now or forever hold your peace.


“Ladies and gentleman, please wait here for a moment while I refer the bid” often means that bidding has slowed and the reserve is a long way off. The auctioneer will try to explain the situation and ask the vendor to lower their reserve.

“We are playing for keeps” typically signals the reserve has been met and the house will sell to the highest bidder.


“Vendor bid” is used as an offer from the vendor. Vendor bids are used at the start of an auction if no other offers are presented, or after a slow down to rebuild interest.


I’m confident the property will sell at auction today” usually means one of two things. Either the reserve has been met, or a lucrative offer has been presented before the auction with the potential buyers in attendance.


“Last chance” The house will be passed in if the reserve hasn’t been met, or will sell if it has.


“I will accept raises of $1000” bidding has slowed and the reserve has been met or isn’t far off.


“There’s real value here” Interest is low and the auctioneer needs to induce bids.


“This property will be sold today”, a regularly used ploy to try and create bids when a reserve has not been met; however, it could also mean that the reserve has been and that the house is on the market.



For more information on auction representation, please visit our auction page or contact one of our buyers advocates for a complementary meeting on how we can help you. 

By Samantha Vlcek.