A Guide to Buying Property at Auctions
A guide to buying property at auction
Buying at auctions ensures an immediate exchange of contracts with no protracted negotiations or delays. The majority of Auctioneers sell properties throughout the UK, allowing you to find an investment wherever suits you.
If you are thinking of buying a property at one of these auctions, finding out as much as possible about the property and the auction process before you bid is essential.
Information on all properties, legal information and dates of future auctions will be available from the auctioneers.
An up to date catalogue will be available from the auctioneers. Look through the catalogue and identify those lots that may be of interest.
Guide Prices are not necessarily figures at which a property will sell; they are only intended to be an indication of the seller’s minimum expectation. They are subject to change throughout the marketing period so regularly check the guide prices.
These can be obtained on the sites under “guide prices”. If you register as a subscriber you will normally receive guide prices by email.
You should always go and see the property before you purchase. To arrange to view a property you should either follow the instructions on the lot web page or if there are no instructions, contact the office of the particular auctioneer who will arrange an appointment for you. Normally, at least 48 hours prior notice is required.
If you wish to receive special conditions of sale or legal documentation in respect of any lot, contact the office of the individual auctioneer. Documents may be available to download from the website for free, alternatively they will be available from the vendors solicitors, usually at a cost to cover the copying. Solicitor’s details for each lot can be normally be found on the web lot page or in the catalogue.
If you need further legal information please contact the vendor’s solicitor. Legal packs will usually be available for inspection in the auction room, although this cannot be guaranteed. Remember that you buy subject to all documentation and terms of contract whether or not you have read them. It is important that you check with the vendor’s solicitors prior to the sale to ensure that you receive any documents subsequently available.
Addendum/Changes to property information
Occasionally changes need to be made to the lot information or the Special Conditions of Sale. These can be found on the website under “Addendum”. Before you bid it is essential that you check for any changes that may have occurred, even up to the day of the auction.
Sales Prior to the Auction
In some instances a vendor may consider selling his property prior to auction. It is worth registering your interest in a particular lot with the Auction Team as they will keep you up to date, wherever possible, of any possibility of the lot being sold prior to auction. You can make an offer at any time up to the date of the auction, but if your offer is accepted you will have to be in a position to exchange contracts and pay your deposit immediately.
If you successfully bid for a property you will be required to provide a 10% deposit on the day of the auction. You should make sure that you arrange any finance required to complete the sale well in advance of the auction.
Can’t attend the auction?
Proxy/ Telephone/ Internet Bidding
If you are unable to attend the sale, you can bid by telephone by proxy in writing (where you specify your maximum bid and the auctioneer bids on your behalf) or on-line. The individual auctioneers should be contacted to organise this arrangement.
Find out if the property is still available
Potential purchasers should always either to look on the website or ring on the day before the auction, to make sure that the lots in which they are interested are still available.
Understand all terms & conditions
Buying property at auctions is different to buying property privately and potential purchasers are strongly advised to check that they have read and understood all the various legal documents and terms & conditions.
Before the auction
Things to bring with you:
- Your catalogue
- Cheque book with at least one cheque for each lot. Please note that neither cash nor credit or debit cards are accepted.
- Identification – either your driving licence or passport
- (for photo ID)
- Details of the solicitors you intend to use
Unless on the web lot page or stated in the catalogue for a particular lot you do not need to register. Simply pick up an order of sale (see below) and the latest addendum (see
below) and take a seat.
Order of Sale
This is a complete and up to date list of all the lots that will be sold on the day and in what order. Some lots will have been withdrawn or sold prior so you should check this list carefully to ensure that the lot you have come to buy is still included in the sale.
At the Auction
Occasionally changes need to be made to the lot information or the Special Conditions of Sale. Before you bid it is essential that you check the printed addendum and listen for any announcements made detailing any changes that may have occurred as these will form part of the Memorandum of Sale.
Start of auction
The auction will start promptly at the time printed in the catalogue. The auctioneer will make a number of announcements about the auction procedure. A summary of the auctioneer’s pre-sale announcements will be printed in the catalogue and will appear on the website.
The auctioneer will announce each lot and refer to any last minute changes. The current lot number is usually displayed on a screen next to the auctioneer, which will also display the last bid taken for the lot being offered. The auctioneer will invite bids at a particular level and you can make this bid by raising your hand or catalogue. The auction room is likely to be full, so please make your bids clear and ensure you have the Auctioneer’s attention.
All lots will be offered for sale subject to an undisclosed reserve price (unless stated otherwise). The auctioneer will regulate the bidding increments and the property will be ‘knocked down’ to the highest bidder, assuming that the reserve is met or exceeded.
Please note that questions will not be taken by the auctioneer from the floor once the auction is in progress. If you do have any last minute queries, you should speak to a member of the auctioneer’s team. If you have any doubts, do not to bid.
On the fall of the gavel
When the hammer falls, if you are the highest bidder, you have bought the lot and a legal and binding contract has been formed.
What happens if I am the successful bidder?
When a lot is ‘knocked down’ to you, you will be asked to, complete a purchaser’s slip, give a deposit cheque and provide identification.
You will be asked to give your contact details, the name to appear on the memorandum of sale and details of your solicitor.
You will be asked for a deposit cheque for the deposit, normally 10% of the purchase price. Please note that cash deposits are not accepted. Personal cheques, company cheque and bankers drafts are acceptable subject to the Conditions of Sale and to the provisions of clause 4 of the notices to prospective buyers.
You will be asked for photo ID so take either your driving licence or passport.
Exchange of Contract
After completing the purchaser’s slip and handing over your cheque, you will be given a lot card by way of receipt. After approximately 10-15 minutes you should approach the contract desk in the room and hand this card to the staff there who you will ask you to sign the Memorandum of Sale. You will take away the Vendor’s part contract and give this to your solicitor. Send your signed contract to the Vendor’s solicitor and completion will take place as specified on the special conditions of sale.
Do not leave the auction room without taking your signed contract.
Also note that as soon as the sale has been made, the vendor is responsible for insurance on the property.
In the event that the property you wish to buy does not sell, you should register your highest bid with the auctioneer before you leave the auction room.
Results can sometimes be viewed on the website after the auction.
My husband and I love to go to public auctions whenever we can. But, we have never been to a foreclosure auction and we are planning to go this summer. It is probably a bit more complicated, so maybe we will have to take an investor with us and research more before the auction