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How do online property auctions work?

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In light of Covid-19, the way buyers and sellers transact has changed. Buyers who would normally head out to a Saturday auction will have to adopt a more digital approach to purchasing a home as more and more agents move to sell properties via auctions online. 

While it’s unclear how long it will take for the real estate market to return to how it once was, for the moment, if a seller decides on selling their property via auction, then an online auction process will be the norm. 

The online auction process

Once a buyer intends to bid on your property, the process to actually bidding online is relatively simple. When agents use an online platform, they are most likely to be using either Gavl or Auction Now. Here's how these kinds of platforms work.

Buyers can register their interest by creating an account on the relevant platform. If you intend to bid, you will need to submit identification and credit card details and be approved by the property’s listing agent. 

Once a bidder has been approved by the property’s listing agent, the platform will put a hold on the bidder’s credit card, which could be anywhere between $1,500 and $2,500. 

You can watch an online auction and bid on a property using either your computer or mobile phone, and you can bid directly in the platform or app. 

In both Gavl and Auction Now, the successful bidder can sign contracts online or in the app. Gavl allows you to transfer deposits directly into the agent's trust account.

Here's more information about how Gavl works:


Here's more information about how Auction Now works:


This helpful video above was created by Belle Property Castle Hill and Cooley Auctions.

You can also hear more about online auctions from Soho Property App’s interview with Damien Cooley, the founder of Auction Now below.



What if I just want to watch an auction online? Can I do that?

Yes. If you just want to dip your feet in, and you’re curious about how an online auction unfolds, you can watch a live auction via both the Gavl and Anywhere Auctions website or app. 

All you need to do is enter your name, email address and phone number to create a profile. 

Can you show me an example of a live auction?

Yes, here is an auction that was live streamed on Gavl for 6 Merlin Court, Frankston Victoria


Why does there need to be a hold on my credit card?

A hold on your credit card is only applied when you have registered and been approved to bid. This step has been put in place to ensure bidding on a property is open to genuine buyers only. 

Are there any other platforms that agents are using for conducting auctions online?

Yes, some agencies are using SoldOnline and Openn Negotiation where buyers place bids like they would on eBay. Zoom and Google hangouts are also being used by some agencies to run online auctions where bidders can actually call out to the auctioneer to bid.

Here’s some information about how SoldOnline and Openn Negotiation work. 

How are contracts handled after an auction?

This really depends on the online platform that the listing agent chooses to use. Sometimes the successful bidder will be called by the listing agent to discuss contracts, and some platforms provide in-platform exchange of contracts and bidding authorities digitally. 

Can I bid on a property over the phone?

Some agencies and agents will offer this service. If you are genuinely interested in a property, speak to the listing agent about your bidding and buying options.