They came. They bid. But will they win at the auction?

Colliers REview Singapore blog - CM they came they bid will they win at auction more properties go on the block

Property auctions have made media headlines in recent years particularly in the residential segment, as more properties go on the block.

Colliers' property auction sessions – held once every month – have been fairly well-attended, especially when certain properties become available such as those in prime locations such as Sentosa, near Orchard Road / Tanglin districts, in the city fringe or in Good Class Bungalow areas.
In May 2018, Colliers sold several of such properties via auction: A three-bedroom unit at Botanic Gardens Mansion went for S$2.65 million; a one-bedder at Spottiswoode 18 was sold for S$850,000; and a three-bedroom apartment at Tanglin View fetched a cool S$1.55 million.
Some investors attend auctions in the hope of buying a property for a song or to soak in the excitement – many of them would be disappointed. While property auctions in Singapore tend to be fairly placid affairs without too much fanfare or frenzied bidding, there are still good value deals to be had.


Why sell via an auction?
Typically, a property is put up for auction in the form of a mortgagee’s sale – when the unit is offered for sale by a bank after the owner defaults on loan payments – or when the owner has chosen to sell in that manner.
Companies may also opt to sell via auction when they divest their property assets. It is an efficient and transparent method of sale, offering the vendor the opportunity to achieve optimal pricing for the property within a set time frame.
While it is a relatively straightforward sale process, auctioneering is a highly-specialised field, requiring keen judgement and a deep understanding of the market.
A skilled auctioneer will be able to analyse real estate trends and provide strategic advice on the reserve price of the property and how it can be marketed effectively. Working with a team, the auctioneer also assists bidders on auction floor procedures and contract signing.


Finding property bargains? Here's what you need to know.
Bargain hunters often think that they can snag a property at rock-bottom prices at auctions, but that is not always the case.
The vendors are usually guided by the open market value for the properties, and will not sell them on the cheap. It goes without saying that all sellers hope to garner the maximum possible selling price for their property guided by the valuation of their asset.
However, some sellers may be more open to giving discounts in the following scenarios:
  • They have been unable to find a buyer for their property at their targeted price for months;
  • If the seller needed to divest the property urgently; or
  • The condition of the property will require the prospective buyer to invest substantially on renovation works.


How to buy a property via auction

Before going down to a property auction session and making a bid, be sure to do your homework.

  1. Contact the agent to view the property before the auction.
  2. Seek legal advice and check if you are eligible to purchase the property.
  3. Consult your banker on loan financing, if required.
  4. Check if there are changes to the conditions of sale before auction begins
  5. Do not leave the auction room once the session starts! You may miss out on your desired property.
  6. Raise your hand to indicate your interest in bidding for the property.
  7. If the bid is successful, you should inform your banker and lawyer so that they can follow up on relevant processes related with the transaction.
  8. The buyer has to pay a 5 or 10% deposit on the successful bid price and sign the sales and purchase agreement immediately. The rest of the payment will be made upon deal completion.


In the market to buy property or looking to sell yours at an auction? Contact Colliers' real estate investment experts for a smooth auction experience.


You may also like: Is private residential investment still an opportunity?



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Related Experts
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Steven Tan

Senior Director


Steven has over 25 years in the real estate business and progressed through various roles in this industry from property management to valuation and auction then into investment sales to leading the  non-institutional capital markets – added to his original role as head of the auction team in Colliers Singapore.

Steven is known to preserve a close relationship with his clientele who are High Net-worth individuals - known in the local as Tow Kay (big boss in local dialect), investors from all walks of life and business partners big and small, making him the leading choice to head the non-institutional capital markets.

Steven was lauded for brokering the first freehold industrial sale in the year 2020 for 190 Macpherson Road at $88m. His other notable and worth-mentioning deals include the collective sale of 2-24 Phoenix Road at $42.6M which was sold above its reserved price and another industrial building (food factory) at 200 Pandan Loop at $56.8M.

Steven also qualified as a licensed appraiser with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, a member of Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers (MSISV) and member of Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor (MRICS).


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Desmond Lim

Associate Director


Desmond has close to 15 years of experience in commercial real estate. He first embarked on his real estate career in office services representing office tenants and advised on relocation projects. He subsequently moved to industrial services department and advised occupiers and managed leasing and sale projects comprising high-tech and business park facilities, private and government industrial buildings and strata-titled developments. He was in the Economic Development Board’s (EDB) panel of commercial real estate service provider and had actively engaged the government officials and worked with key stakeholders of new foreign investments in Singapore on their real estate projects.

From 2018, he assumes the Auctioneer’s role with the Sales and Auction team in the Capital Markets Department. He also works with the financial institutions, liquidators, receivers and high court on the disposal of distressed properties. He also advises private investment funds, developers and high net worth individuals on real estate acquisition and divestment plans. He has received long service award in 2010.

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Watch: Buying properties via auctions