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Property Auctions Akin To Poker Playing

Jun 4, 2008
Auctions are fascinating things to watch. All those people trying to look laid back, like they do it all the time and are not phased by prices running up into hundreds of thousands of pounds. You can buy anything at auction from Old Masters paintings to cars, from antiques to bog standard ex-Ikea second hand furniture. You can even buy auction property.

Now these ones are serious! Buying auction property is nerve-racking stuff. Those of us that are inexperienced will be the ones standing stock still, afraid to scratch our noses or glance to one side for fear of leaving with the obligation to pay for a five bedroom property in the centre of Lancashire.

This is where early arrival is essential. You can take a look through the property listing, weigh up all the competitors, decide who you think is serious and who's just there for the fun of it. Yes, the fun of it. These people have no other life but to watch members of society take on projects that know no bounds when it comes to the work ahead.

The strange behaviour that goes on between those competing for auction property puts these bidders in a league of their own. You'll have several to one side who are discussing the bids with someone over the phone and making the appropriate gestures when necessary.

They person on the other end of the line is tucked up at home having a cup of tea and a ginger nut and simply couldn't be bothered to attend. Or they have Tourettes syndrome and didn't want to come home with every auction property on offer.

The bidders in the room of the property auction will be displaying their best bored face but the constant adjustment of their auction brochures gives away a touch of their well hidden nerves. This is similar to poker players. They do not want other people to know they are interested, or believe they are on to a winning streak with the latest property bargain so the nonchalant behaviour is meant to disguise this.

The property auction begins and the man with the hammer brings the first property into play. Those interested parties will hold up their specific cards when they want to bid. Why they appear to be asking for a chicken chow mein and special fried rice is beyond me! However, eventually the hammer will fall and one gullible person has just purchased a four bedroom house with all mod cons.

The mod cons turn out to mean running water - running down the walls. The four bedrooms are a slight exaggeration after an enthusiastic DIYer constructed walls every six feet to make more rooms than originally were. The cracks in the wall turn out to be subsidence rather than dodgy plaster work and the garden has a hobo living at the bottom of it.

All these pitfalls are apparently allowed for by the seasoned attendees at property auctions and are always hailed as a roaring success and bargain of the year by the purchasers. It has to be said that many do make a fair living from buying auction property but it always pays to take advice when you are looking for somewhere yourself. And whatever happens, do not wink at the blonde in the front row unless you want the latest collection of falling down terraces.
About the Author
Property expert Catherine Harvey looks at the technigue of buying auction property and what to watch out for.
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