public trustee auctions
Ask the Inspector, blog

Public Trustee Auctions – Renovators’ Dream or Nightmare?

Public Trustee auctions can offer a varied range of properties suitable for renovating. But are they the ideal renovator’s dream or can they be a dud buy, costing your thousands of dollars to fix up? Our tips will ensure you are equipped to bid for the right property, when attending Public Trustee auctions. 

What are Public Trustee Auctions?

There are various reasons why a Public Trustee is involved in the sale of a property. Often the circumstances include mortgagee repossession, deceased estate with no family to inherit the property or no family within the country who wish to get a premium price for the property. Sometimes the properties may have termite issues, or they might have been damaged through a fire or weather event and it’s difficult for the owners to move on. The circumstances can vary, and this results in the Public Trustee being the executor of the estate to sell the property. 

It’s a common assumption Public Trustee properties sell for a bargain price, but the property must be sold for a reserved price. If the property fails to sell at auction for the reserve, it will be listed at the reserve price. 

What to expect from a property sold at a Public Trustee Auction

It can be difficult to know the full condition of a house sold at a Public Trustee auction as the circumstances for the Public Trustee to get involved can vary from property to property. 

While you cannot make an offer on a property before the auction, you can go to open inspections and organise a building and pest inspection at your own expense before the auction. You must also have pre-approved finance as the sale at auction goes unconditional on the day. There is no backing out once you bid at auction. 

The properties at Public Trustee auctions are generally clean but aren’t furnished for sale. What you see is what you get. Often there will be problem areas the previous owners may not have had the time or finances to fix. It’s important to get a building inspection done prior to auction so you know what you may need to fix. You may need to get quotes for repairs and renovations to work out if the purchase is worth your investment. 

Checks to do prior to auction

There are other checks to have done before you go to auction. Check if the property is in a flood zone or bush fire-prone area. Check the easements and where the sewer, water and gas connection points are to the property. You may consider getting a drain camera down the sewer to ensure there are no hidden surprises with the plumbing which could cost you thousands to rectify. A building inspection report can give you peace of mind when you put in your bid. It may be an amazing buying opportunity or it could be a renovators’ nightmare. You won’t know until you get your building inspection done.


If you’re interested in bidding at a Public Trustee auction, contact Action Property Inspections to arrange your pre-purchase building report


About Andrew

Andrew Mackintosh has been answering home inspection questions in the greater Brisbane area since 1995. He has personally carried out over 20,000 building inspections and is a licensed builder and licensed building inspector, Member of Queensland Master Builders Association & Institute of Building Consultants. Being the business owner and the inspector, Andrew is passionate about providing clients with excellent customer service, value for money, honest, unbiased, thorough inspection and reporting in a professional and timely manner to allow clients to make informed decisions when purchasing property.

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