Giving your Buyers Agent a Letter of Authority or Power of Attorney to bid at auction

Typically Buyers Agents will offer their services to bid on a client’s behalf at auction.

There is a multitude of rationales why a client would use these services from simply being unable to physically attend the auction, inexperience with auction bidding and wanting to remove emotion from the decision, to a bidding strategy where anonymity is beneficial i.e. the client may already own 3 apartments in a complex, and wishes to purchase the 4th and final apartment.

Depending on the clients requirements there are three potential avenues that enable a Buyer’s agent to bid at auction:

Letter of Authority – A letter of authority must be produced when the Buyer’s agent registers for the auction on behalf of the client, and the letter is required to contain the client’s name, address and identifying number of their proof of identity.

There are additional details that can be stipulated in the letter of authority dependent on the client’s needs e.g. providing the Buyers agent authority to sign the contract on a successful auction.

Buyer’s Agency Agreement – An agency agreement can be used in place of a letter of authority, barring agreements that do not contain the required details above.

Power of Attorney – When a buyer’s agent acts under a power of attorney they are able to register for the auction in their own name i.e. the client retains anonymity. Should the agent be successful at auction on behalf of the client (highest bidder), then they must immediately notify the auctioneer that they are acting on behalf of the client and provide the clients name.

A client can limit the authority a power of attorney conveys to their buyers agent (e.g. maximum bid limit), and the agent is required to act in agreement with any conditions and limitations, otherwise risk facing personal liability.

Please seek professional advice in regards to engaging a Buyer’s Agent services for Auction bidding and not rely on the commentary I have made.

Relevant links:

[Queensland] Appoint a buyer’s agent : Department of Justice and Attorney-General

[New South Wales] Property, Stock and Business Agents Regulation 2003

About the Author: David is an avid web, finance and property geek who decided to combine these interests and found BAG in his spare time. If you have thoughts, issues or questions you can find him at LinkedIn, Google+ or alternatively drop him an email david at buyersagentguide.com.au

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