Some sellers will consider selling their property prior to auction for an acceptable offer while others will not. The agent will be able to give you guidance on whether or not the owner is accepting offers prior and in what form these offers will need to be made. In most cases any offers made prior to auction will need to be in the form of an offer on an Unconditional Contract of Sale.
The seller and the agent are not obliged to inform other interested buyers that the property is going to be sold prior to auction but in most cases will do so.
It is important to let the agent know that you’re interested in a property going to auction as soon as possible. Inform them of what you may consider paying so that they know to contact you if a sale prior to auction becomes likely.