Queensland’s auction laws leaving buyers in the dark

Queensland’s auction laws leaving buyers in the dark

Queensland’s unique approach to property auctions is causing confusion and uncertainty among prospective buyers, particularly those new to the market, according to a local buyer’s agent.

Unlike other states such as New South Wales and Victoria, where auction price guides are commonly provided, Queensland law prohibits agents from giving buyers an indicative selling price.

Lauren Jones, a Brisbane-based buyer’s agent from Lauren Jones Buyers Agency, said the lack of transparency creates a significant barrier, especially for newcomers to the property market who rely heavily on such indicators to shape their financial planning and bidding strategies.

“Queensland’s auction laws definitely put buyers at a disadvantage compared to other states where price guides are available. It’s like walking into a store where none of the products have price tags,” she said.

“In places like Sydney or Melbourne, you know the price range and can plan accordingly. Here, you’re guessing, which isn’t just stressful – it can also be financially dangerous.”

Queensland’s regulations aim to prevent underquoting, yet they introduce a significant level of uncertainty and stress among buyers, who must often go to great lengths to deduce a property’s potential selling price.

This involves scrutinising recent sales data of similar properties in the area, a task that can be daunting and imprecise for those not well-versed in real estate dynamics. This, in turn, can deter participation, particularly affecting newcomers.

“Imagine trying to make one of the biggest financial decisions of your life without all the facts. That’s what it feels like for many first-time buyers at Queensland auctions,” she said.

“Without a price guide, each buyer has to become a mini-expert in market values, which is a lot to ask for someone who might only purchase a property once or twice in their lifetime. This lack of transparency can deter potential buyers, reducing competition and potentially affecting the final sale price.”

There is a growing call among real estate professionals to align Queensland’s auction laws with those of other states to foster a more transparent and competitive market.

Advocates argue that providing price guides would not only level the playing field but could also help attract more bidders who feel confident in their understanding of the value they’re competing for.

“The benefits of changing the law are clear. With price guides, we’d likely see more active participation at auctions, which is beneficial for both buyers and sellers. Sellers would benefit from increased competition, while buyers could bid more confidently, knowing they are making informed decisions.”

In the meantime, Ms Jones offered some advice to buyers on how to better prepare for auctions under the current laws.

“The best thing buyers can do is conduct thorough market research. Look at recent sales of similar properties in the area to get a sense of what they might sell for. Attending other auctions can also provide valuable insights into the bidding process and price trends.”

Moreover, buyers should consider seeking professional help. “Engaging a buyer’s agent can demystify the process. We can provide insights and guidance based on extensive market experience and help set a realistic budget,” she said.

Ms Jones also stressed the importance of financial preparation.

“Make sure your finances are in order before you even consider attending an auction. Get pre-approved for a loan so you know exactly how much you can afford to spend. This way, you won’t be caught off guard on auction day.”