blind bids

PHOTO: In a booming market, some agents are asking for blind bids. Photo: iStock

Three days before the auction for a house in Sydney’s eastern suburbs that IT worker Tony had set his heart on, he was startled to receive a call from the agent.

“We’ve received an offer for the property,” the agent told him. “So if you’re interested, please make your best and highest offer.”

Tony, 32, who’s asked that his full name not be used as he’s still trying to buy, was surprised, as he’d tried to make an offer before but had been told he couldn’t as the house was definitely going to auction.

“But the agent told me things had changed, and if I wanted the house, I’d have to make a better offer,” he said. “I asked him what the offer was that I’d have to beat, and he said he couldn’t tell me. I’d just have to make the very best offer I could.

“That seemed to me absolutely crazy. I was going in blind, bidding against, effectively, myself. I had no idea if I’d be offering far more than I needed to. It was just greed; there was no transparency to the process at all.”

It’s the latest case in a growing trend of agents asking for “blind” bids before an auction, while refusing to divulge the size of other bids, in a practice that’s not illegal but which has been likened to being forced to “throw a dart at a dartboard”.

With house prices booming, some agents are asking for best offers before auction. Photo: vale_t