Home Company Blog
Buying a Home: Private Sale vs. Auction
By: Khalid Sarwari
June 12, 2024

When it comes to buying a home in Victoria, Australia, understanding the differences between purchasing through a private sale and at an auction is crucial. Each method has its own set of rules governed by state legislation, influencing how you approach the buying process. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the nuances of private sales and auctions:

Private Sale:

In a private sale, the property is listed with a set price, and negotiations typically occur directly between the buyer and the seller or their respective agents. Here are some key points to consider:

Negotiation Flexibility: Private sales offer more flexibility in negotiation. Buyers can make conditional offers (subject to finance, building inspections, etc.) and have the opportunity to negotiate on price and settlement terms.

Less Competitive Pressure: Unlike auctions, private sales generally involve less competitive pressure from other buyers. This can sometimes allow for a more relaxed purchasing process.

Cooling-Off Period: After signing the contract of sale for a private sale, buyers are entitled to a cooling-off period of three business days. During this time, they can withdraw from the contract for any reason, though a penalty may apply.

Property Inspections: Buyers are encouraged to conduct thorough property inspections and due diligence before making an offer. This includes obtaining building and pest inspections, reviewing the vendor statement (Section 32), and ensuring all necessary checks are completed.

Subject to Finance Clause: Buyers often include a subject to finance clause in their offer, allowing them time to secure a loan approval before proceeding with the purchase.


Auctions involve bidding for a property in a public setting, with the property going to the highest bidder once the reserve price is met. Here’s what you need to know about buying at auction in Victoria:

Competitive Bidding: Auctions can be highly competitive, with multiple buyers bidding against each other. The property is sold to the highest bidder once the reserve price set by the seller is reached.

No Cooling-Off Period: Unlike private sales, auctions do not typically have a cooling-off period. Once the hammer falls and you are the highest bidder, you are legally bound to purchase the property.

Due Diligence Before Auction: Buyers must conduct all necessary inspections and obtain legal advice before bidding at an auction. The vendor statement (Section 32) must be available for inspection at least three business days before the auction.

Finance Arrangements: Buyers should have pre-approved finance in place before bidding at auction, as there is no subject to finance clause. The deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) is payable immediately upon winning the auction.

Auctioneer’s Statements: The auctioneer will announce important information during the auction, such as when the property is on the market (meaning the reserve price has been met) and when bidding is about to close.

Understanding Victorian Laws:

In Victoria, both private sales and auctions are regulated by specific laws to protect the rights of buyers and sellers. It’s essential to be aware of these laws and seek legal advice if needed before entering into any property transaction. Here are some additional considerations:

Vendor Statement (Section 32): This document provides essential information about the property, including title details, zoning information, and any known issues affecting the property.

Contract of Sale: Whether buying through private sale or auction, the contract of sale outlines the terms and conditions of the property transaction. It’s important to review this document carefully and seek legal advice if necessary.

Consumer Affairs Victoria: This government agency provides resources and information regarding property transactions, including rights and responsibilities of buyers and sellers.

In conclusion, choosing between buying a home through a private sale or auction in Victoria depends on your individual circumstances and preferences. Both methods offer distinct advantages and considerations, influenced by factors such as competition, negotiation flexibility, and legal obligations. By understanding Victorian laws and seeking professional advice when needed, you can navigate the buying process confidently and make informed decisions that align with your property goals.

*The information on this page is for general knowledge only. Please consult with one of our agents for detailed and more personalised guidance. 


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Written by
Khalid Sarwari
Khalid Sarwari brings a much sought-after highly ethical and determined approach to his clients real estate needs. His diverse...
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