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  • Writer's pictureMike Brandly, Auctioneer

Seller can’t attend his own auction?

For as long as there have been live auctions, there has been the issue of sellers attending their own auction.

Certainly some sellers desire to watch their property sell at auction, while others do not.

For those who want to watch, our question today is: Can the auctioneer insist the seller not attend?

Auctioneers must remember a central principle in regard to their agency duties; they are working for the seller, and not the other way around. In other words, if the seller wants to attend, the seller has that right.

Are there circumstances where it’s not in the seller’s best interest to attend his or her own auction? Most auctioneers tend to think so. In that respect, it is the auctioneer’s job to maximize the seller’s position and if it’s likely that attendance will diminish the benefits to the seller, it would be the auctioneer’s duty to suggest the seller not attend.

Such issues might include bidders thinking the seller is bidding (with or without authority,) and/or that the seller’s reaction to the bidding might indicate they are paying too much, or too little. Further, sellers talking with bidders/buyers is generally not helpful to the seller’s condition.

But can an auctioneer dictate that the seller can’t attend? Not really — but rather can (and should) advise and then depending upon the seller’s choice, continue to serve as the seller’s auctioneer, or not. The bottom line is: it’s the seller’s auction, not the auctioneer’s auction.

We wrote more about agency duties here: Courts are quick to rule in favor of clients (sellers) when auctioneers violate any of their agency duties.

Seller can’t attend his own auction? Actually, sellers have choices, and indeed can attend if they desire. Auctioneers have choices too.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.

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