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Going, Going, Gone. At Auction, It’s A Case of Buyer Beware.


By Barry van Heerden

We all know an auction can be an exciting yet stressful time, but what happens when you are the successful bidder and it appears the property is not what you thought it would be prior to the auction.

When a property is sold at auction, the Purchaser is deemed to have undertaken all of his/her due diligence prior to the auction.  The old saying “Buyer beware” is specifically very true when you buy at auction.

If any special arrangements have been made with either the Vendor or Auctioneer/Agent on behalf of the Vendor prior to the auction day, you need to confirm these by way of added special conditions to the contract.  This ensures that everyone bidding is given the same opportunities and also ensures a smoother transaction later.

If the arrangements are not confirmed by way of special conditions and you are the successful bidder, the Vendor does not have any legal obligation to honour anything that was agreed prior to auction.  In some instances, a Vendor may honour an arrangement from a moral point of view but this is not guaranteed.

When buying at auction the parties are bound only by the terms and conditions in the Contract at the fall of the hammer.  It will be too late to argue the Vendor has “promised” (and this is usually via the agent) to repair for example the solar system.

Parties should be careful in buying at auction and should get proper legal advice before the auction to protect their rights. Our property lawyers will be able to assist potential buyers before an auction with the appropriate advice.

For free, no obligation advice, please contact Attwood Marshall Lawyers today on 1800 621 071 or email us at

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Barry Van Heerden - Special Counsel - Property & Commercial

Barry van Heerden

Special Counsel
Property & Commercial

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The contents of this article are considered accurate as at the date of publication. The information contained in this article does not constitute legal advice and is of a general nature only. Readers should seek legal advice about their specific circumstances. 

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