Auction PropertyLearnings

11 Things You Should Know About Buying Property At Auction

Buying property at auction is incredibly exciting.  The choice available, speed and certainty of sale, transparency of the price paid – plus the chance to bag a bargain are why so many people now choose to buy at auction.

To be successful at auction you need to be prepared and ready to act quickly.  It may seem overwhelming to begin with, but with a bit of practice and some homework you will soon be bidding and buying property at auction.

buying property at auction

1.    Auction catalogues are released two to three weeks before an auction sale date and viewings are usually arranged on a block basis.  Typically there will be four viewings before the property is sold.  It is best to get in early – and go back again if you want to!

2.    Try and do as much research as possible before the property viewing.  Visit the area at different times of the day and night, research local area statistics and check online property websites for comparable property prices.  It’s also worth calling local estate agents as they can be a goldmine of information.

3.    If you like the property you need to act quickly.  Mortgages can be obtained on many auction properties – even if they do require work – but having a kitchen sink and toilet is crucial to obtaining finance.  Any finance should be applied for ahead of the sale date and where possible surveys undertaken.

4.    Getting the legal paperwork checked ahead of the sale date can save many headaches further down the line.  Properties can have legal issues which may affect the value of the property and the ability to raise finance.  Many solicitors will check the auction legal pack for a nominal fee prior to bidding and if successful this fee is usually deducted from the final bill.

5.    Cost any works which the property requires and, where possible, try and obtain quotes from tradespeople in advance so you have a clear idea of the budget involved.

6.    Once you have an idea of the end value of the property and the cost of any works, you can calculate the bid price.  Make sure you include all the hidden costs which can add up such as stamp duty, legal fees, finance costs etc.  Try and aim for more uneven bid numbers such as £171,000 rather than £170,000.

7.    On the day of the auction arrive in plenty of time with your photo ID, proof of address and 10% deposit funds – you will need these if you are successful.  Make sure there have been no amendments to the property details and get yourself in position to bid.

8.    There are no right or wrong ways to bid at auction – it is more an art than a science.  The key thing is to be seen and/or heard by the auctioneer.  Place yourself where you can see the auctioneers’ eyeballs and where you feel comfortable.  Remember it is only the auctioneer who can accept your bids and his decision is final. 

9.    Auction fever is a very real phenomenon and people can get carried away.  It is important to stick to your upper limit and once it’s been exceeded leave the room so you’re not tempted to bid more.

10. Once the hammer has fallen the property is sold and you are committed to buying.  You will now pay a 10% deposit, the auctioneer admin fees and exchange contracts.  The sale will usually complete 28 days later.  Make sure you tell your solicitor and lender immediately and, if applicable, organise insurance cover.  Circle the date in your calendar and ensure everybody is working together to complete on time as any delays will incur financial penalties.

11. The beauty of auction is the certainty of sale.  There is no gazumping or gazundering – once you’ve successfully bid – you’ve bought the property! 

Happy bidding and I look forward to seeing you in the auction room soon!

  1. Richard Watters

    Are you sure you need to do all this preparation? I’m sure I saw somebody on Homes Under The Hammer buy a property without viewing it and selling it a few months later for a big profit!
    Seriously, some good advice, although my personal strategy when buying is to hold back when bidding until it’s down to the last buyer, then come in £1,000 higher. Assuming it hasn’t already exceeded my limit, of course. Seems to work more often than not and had a couple of real bargains that way.

    1. Sam

      Big risks attract big profits and big losses – as long as you are prepared for both outcomes then you can bid and buy any way you like 🙂

      Yes, there are a number of different bidding strategies and it’s personal preference whether you wish to bid early or late – if it works for you then that is all that matters!

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