Anecdotal Auction Attendance Experience

Moderators, If this needs to be move to the Piston then please do move it, but I believe it merits inclusion here as a place where pesons can give a detail of their personal experiences of attencance at recent auctions in the country and any points of note for the benefit of others who may be pursuing an auction method as a means to purchasing a home.

On Friday, 24 September 2010, I attended an auction being held in regard to two properties for sale down here in one of Kerry’s major towns.

I did not feel that the auction was really conducted as a proper auction, though it may have been legal and all that it really was not an auction at all.
The auctioneer, after the solicitor had detailed the conditions of sale etc., began by asking for bids of 200,000. He persisted with asking for bids at this level for a while but then lowered to asking for 190,000. Again much asking for bids happened but no bids were offered. (Approximately 40 persons were in attendance at the auction. This was an auction following the death of the previous owner of the lots that were being put for sale). Time passed. A further drop to 180,000. The auctioneer tried to get bids valiantly but no bids were offered. He continued to press for bids. Still no bids were made. He called out to people at the back if they were to make many bids. (it appeared that family members of the deceased had sat up front near the auctioneer and most of the potential bidders, including myself, had stationed ourselves to the rear). Still no bids though the auctioneer continued to question the audience many times. This went on. Eventually the auctioneer lowered his asking for bids to 170,000 but again no bids. The auctioneer announced that he would take the property off the market. I think that finally he made an attempt to ask for 165,000 but no bids were offered.
(The lot being offered was an approximately 15 year old bunalow on a decently sized rural site).

Ultimately I wasn’t massively interested in the property and did not make a bid.

The big thing here is though that the auctioneer self-suspened the auctioneer without testing the market and by imposing his own market lower limit (of 165,000 euros). What a joke. He could have at least continued to go down and seen what was happening in terms of auction offers but he did not.

I was disgusted by this but remained silent. It was a terrible thing to see and behold.

Isn’t that called a Dutch auction? Except there they drop the price until they find a buyer.


  • the sellers had set a relatively high reserve.
  • the auctioneer could have started at say €10K. Bidding would have started but then may have stalled at say €120K this would have:
  1. not resulted in the property being sold in any case.
  2. potentially “drop the floor” for similar properties in the area that the same agent is trying to shift

In my experience of auctions which is not massive but relatively significant, the auctioneer will not use the reserve as a floor to start bidding - he can withdraw at any stage afterall - the first step in any auction is to get bids from the floor and then hope a dynamic takes hold. This looks either a bit ameteur or there was some hidden agenda. Kerry auctions would of course be a law onto themselves.

Nothing stopping you saying I will give 100k, and see what happens.

In my expereince of auctions, noboddy wants to open bidding. Best thing to do is disrupte the auction, and say sure heres what I will give.

That is a true statement in my opinion but I think that this “law” has spread beyond the boundaries of the county.

I have suspicions. I have no reason to distrust this auctioneer but I do have a lot of bad feelings.

My suspicion is that if any “auction” is conducted in such a way, then it is not really an auction, it is more of a show.
Imagine if the auctioneer knew a friend of his or a business acquaintance who was looking for one of these lots or something similar. Then post auction, then the auctioneer could of course offer the property to his friend or business acquaintance for a much lower price, while receiving commission from the sellers on this price, and, while his frien gives him something extra for “himself”.

I believe that this may have been one of the true motivations.

I also believe that the auctioneer did not want to be seen to be setting a floor for prices in the area. This may have broken the “special arrangment” that I believe exists amongst Kerry auctioneers (and I believe also with other auctioneers in their own localities) of never letting information about the proper perception of prices being lower than what auctioneers and sellers want the public to believe get out into the open.

In regard to the sellers having had set a relatively high reserve, I do not believe that, but I do believe that they may have been convinced to set a high reserve by the auctioneers. I spoke after the auction to one of the family members and his feeling was that the lot that I have described in the main detail would have achieve about 90,000.

In regar to the auctioneer starting low and working upwards, that is the more general method and I was disappointed that it did not get conducted this way. Anyway they could always keep the property off the market if they wanted more…

Anyway, it is my belief that this auction was only a show.

I don’t understand any of this . The property had a reserve which was not met and was therefore withdrawn . Whats the problem ?

The problem is that the “reserve” was false.

The problem is that the sellers never gained anything. They are still living in a wonderland and at the end may likely end up loosing if the auctioneer ends up doing a deal behind their backs with one of his mates.

At least by starting low and letting the highest bid at least make a declaration of interest they may have had some knowledge of the reality of the situation out there.

So the vendors are idiots . Again what is the problem ? The auctioneer is evil ? No , they are just plain normal and want to achive the highest price that they can . Even in this market you have people on this site asking ’ whats it worth ’ .

I’m fine with the vendors choosing the auctioneer to do anything that they want but that’s not what I believe was happening here.

I believe that the auctioneer was using the auction to facilitate his own purposes more so that the purposes of the current owners of the property.

Of course, that is for the vendors to see that they get what they want as ultimately the auctioneer works for them and not for me or for any of the other buyers.

I’m not sure that these people, i.e. the vendors/sellers, were idiots. I do believe however that they did consciously allow themselves to be misled down a route by the auctioneer that is likely NOT to achieve for them the best sale price that they might otherwise have achieved. Also I believe that Private Treaty sales are of their nature secretive and secrets have their place but I don’t believe that in achieving the best price this works in a falling market environment. Of course I could be wrong in all of this but if I was the executor of such a sale and the dead person had requested that the sale be made by auction then I would not be happy for the auctioneer to have called an auction and then to have set some reserve choice of either the executor or his own and in effect run a show for entertainment rather than a real sales event.

I thought this might be relevant

Did you deduce all of this just from seeing the property withdrawn or do you have evidence for your beliefs?


Executor auction today in Kilkenny. Results were

33.7 acres of agricultural land withdrawn after failing to hit reserve. Highest bid was €140,000 or €4,179 per acre

14 acres of agricultural land withdrawn after failing to hit reserve. Highest bid was €20,000 or €1,428 per acre. Lack of interest maybe due to access via a private lane only.

3 bed rural bungalow on 0.6 acre site, withdrawn after failing to hit reserve. Highest bid was €50,000. … nny/350655

interesting, thanks for posting

Auction in Baltinglass, Co Wicklow

51 acres of agricultural land, highest bid was €270,000 but withdrawn, didnt meet reserve.

12 acres + farmhouse in need of renovation, highest bid was €185,000 but withdrawn, didnt meet reserve.

Bungalow on 0.9 acres, no bids at all.

excellent work thanks.

Thanks for that DeflationIsGood.

Much appreciate your reporting the news back here to us.

I was at the auction and the details that I have mentioned in my previous posts are an accurate (but I admit) anecdotal account of what happened.

There is no evidence that I can produce.
I haven’t bothered to provide links to information about this auction because I don’t think that there will be links out there.
It seems in my opinion reporters in this country are more instreted in makey upy stories than actually factually reporting events that happen or performing investigation into what is happening behind closed doors.
I’ve titled this thread anecdotal as a way for how Pinsters can share their experiences, for whatever that matters, to those who read this thread.
I think it’s up to readers to be fully aware that the information here is anecdotal and will generally not have evidence to support it unless there is a linkable attribution to an auctioneers site or newspaer report etc.

I think that news like is being anecdotaly described here matters to those who are interested in the background noise that isn’t going to be seen in the vested interest publications of the nation. :angry:

Here’s another update from the South.

Attended an auction today in a Killarney Hotel for about 50 acres of land with a residence (on a shared yard).
Auctioneer opened the auction at 250,000 asking and requesed bids at that level. Dropped in stages of 10K down to a lower level. Was bid 150K from the floor but this offer was refused. After further asking and requestes by the auctioneer an offer was made in the low 200K’s. This was accpted. Bidding then proceed in 10K amounts between two bidders, one at the back of the room and one at the front (who by his attire appeared to be a solicitor). I also understand that the other bidder was a solicitor but I can’t be absolutely sure due to my vantage point during the auction. Bidding then chaned to 5K amounts and in the end the bidder at the front withdrew (shaking of his head) after having placed a bid of 300k that was exceeded by another 5K by the bidder at the rear.

The auctioneer put the auction into recess for about 10 minutes or so while consulting with the solicitor representing the family selling the land/house. They returned and indicated that the last bid of 305K was not meeting the reserve and the auctioneer looked to seek other bids. He was informed by the bidder at the rear that if the property was put on the market that he (the bidder) would make a higher bid. The auctioneer refused to put the property on the market and again requested further bids. Again comments were made by the bidder to indicate his (the bidders) desire that the property be put on the market. The auctioneer and solitor left the room and consulted again for a while.

The auctioneer returned and indicated to the audience that the property would be withdrawn from auction unless further bids were received and that he would have discussion with the highest bidder. The auctioneer then withdrew the property from auction. I saw another man, remaining to meet with the auctioneer and family solicitor. That was about it.

So 6K per acre for a smaller medium sized residential farm in Kerry more or less. That’s the current open market bidding price.

So, in essence another no sale at auction in Kerry.
Surprise, surprise from the Wild West where peoples behaviours and attitudes never cease to amaze.