What is soft close?
Each lot shows the days, hours, and minutes remaining before its unique close time. If soft close begins at 6PM, then only the first lot in the auction is scheduled to close at 6. Each lot has its own close time, scheduled 30 seconds one after the other.
For example, at 1PM you post a max bid of $20 on a lot that has no previous bids. Other bidders will only see that the bid is $2, since $2 is the minimum opening bid at Hawley Auctions. At 2PM you notice that the bid has gone up to $15 with you still winning. That means that someone else has bid $14 and the system automatically outbid them with your $15. Then at 3PM somebody else bids $20. This causes the bid to increase to $20. You are still winning because your $20 bid came in before theirs. But $20 is your max, so at this point any higher bid will outbid yours.
Let's say closing time for your lot is 7:15PM. At 7:12 (3 minutes before that lot's close time) another bidder posts a bid of $21. If you're not watching (maybe you're letting the cat in), you won't know about it and the other bidder will win the item when it closes at 7:15.
But what if they post their $21 bid only *1* minute before that lot's close time. Because this is a soft close, the timing of their bid has now extended that lot's close time by an additional 2 minutes, give you time to notice that you've been outbid and post a higher bid. Of course, if your $22 bid comes in during the new last 2 minutes before the new close time, the time will extend again on just this lot.
If you are determined to win a certain lot, it pays to remember when your most desired lot closes. And to watch the soft close in real time by using HiBid's Live Catalog feature. The Live Catalog opens 30 minutes before the start of Soft Close. When the Live Catalog opens, you'll see it blinking at the bottom right corner of the main info box that introduces each auction's catalog. Like this:
WI REG. AUCTIONEER: A. G. Hawley #256 & Johnny Hawley #2072
2669 County Rd. P, Mt. Horeb, WI 53572
Taking Quality Consignments & Estates
enter 2669 County Road P Mt. Horeb
Soft close is a way for the auction software to prevent "sniper software" from swooping in at the last nanosecond to outbid the highest bidder and close the lot, with no recourse for normal bidders. You can raise your bid (or your max bid if you have entered one) at the last second if you want. When you do, the closing time for that lot will automatically extend another 2 minutes, giving other bidders a chance to raise their bids as well.