Our key tip:
Don’t delay – if want to buy at auction check the catalogue as soon as you get it, view the property on the first available day and contact us quickly
1. General Auction Information
You can usually find out information about where and when the Auction will be held online. Details of specific property lots can be found:
- In the Auction House’s online catalogue
- In the Auction House’s printed catalogue
This information is usually available 5-6 weeks before the Auction; so don’t leave it until the last minute.
2. Property Auction Lot Details
The website and catalogue will provide a complete list of properties, in the order of sale.
3. Guide Prices
These can be viewed either online or in the catalogue. They are not in any way a valuation, merely an indication of the minimum price at which the Vendor may be prepared to sell. If you ask the auctioneers how they arrived at the guide price, they will probably say to you, “it is the range within which it is likely that the reserve will be set by this vendor”
4. Information Updates
Prior to the Auction, there may be occasions where changes are made to the sale particulars that have been published. This information will be found on the addendum issued by the Auction House. As this information supersedes the previously available information and will form part of the contract for sale, it is vital that you look out for such addenda right up until the time that the auction starts.
5. Register Your Interest
Once you have viewed all of the available property information and guide prices, you should register your interest in each specific property with the Auction House by e-mail or telephone. Do make sure that you have the correct lot number.
6. Viewing the Property
The Auction House will usually schedule block viewing dates for properties contained within the auction. There are usually a limited number of these viewings, perhaps four or five, so best get in early on, so that you can go for a second viewing; maybe with your builder, if it’s needed.
7. Always View the Legal Documentation Early
The Vendor’s solicitor will prepare legal documentation specific to each property lot. There is usually a charge of £60-90 to receive a hard copy of this information.
If you are buying with cash, it’s not, in theory, necessary to have a survey; however, unless you are a property professional or in the building or an allied trade, it’s vital. If there is any kind of finance that is going to be secured against the property/title, the lender concerned will insist on a valuation at the very least before an offer of advance is made. Do not confuse a valuation, with a survey; they are totally different concepts.
At Auction, if your bid is successful, and the reserve price met, on the fall of the gavel you’ve bought! Well, in fact you have exchanged contracts and own the property in equity, but until formal completion; not in law. What this means is that the vendor is bound to sell to you and you are bound to buy, at the price stated, unless some fraud is discovered. At this point, as purchaser, you will be required to provide a 10% deposit and you should insure the building, with an appropriate policy. At this point, you must have finance in place, which normally means that the lender will have instructed, and received back a satisfactory valuation, and issued you a formal offer of advance on which you can complete the transaction. Many properties sold at auction are there for a reason; many are tired, run down, or uninhabitable for one reason or another.
Mainstream Mortgage lenders, both residential and Buy to Let, would class a property as unmortgageable, if say, it did not have a kitchen or bathroom. Quite often, auction properties are much more dilapidated than this; therefore mainstream mortgage or buy to let finance does not generally work well at auctions. Nevertheless, auction finance is available through specialist brokers. These specialist brokers have the knowledge and experience to get the deal done. They use specialist bridging finance, development mortgages and other types of mortgage, dependant on the complexity of works required. The type of finance used in this market is alien territory to most purchasers, as it is a world apart from their residential type mortgage.
10. Making An Offer Prior To Auction
Some vendors will consider selling prior to auction. You can put an offer forward via the Auction House and, if it is accepted and you exchange before the auction commences, the property will be withdrawn from sale.
11. Before the auction takes place
Properties can be and are withdrawn from sale before the auction takes place. Consequently, if you intend on bidding on multiple properties, you may lose some money, in terms of valuation and other professional fees.
12. Money Laundering Documents
In order to bid at a property auction, you must take the following documents with you to the auction; or you will not be able to bid.
- Your Current UK Passport and/or both parts of your UK Driving Licence
- Details of the solicitors that will be acting on your behalf
- Debit card/credit card/cheque book from a UK registered bank
13. Unsold Property Lots
In the event that you bid on a property and it does not sell, maybe because the reserve was not met, you could speak to the auctioneer and ask them to put forward your new best offer to the vendor.
Completion normally takes place within 28 days, or inline with the contract agreed. Shortly after the successful bid at auction, the auction house should send the signed auction contract, and legal pack, to the seller’s solicitor. They will then prepare the transfer (TR1) and draft a completion statement.