We are not auctioneers.  What we do is show you the properties on the 100's of websites of those who are.

Notes on what to do before, during and after a property auction



“People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.”

Good preparation is the key to being successful at the auction.  Know your facts, plans and costs.  Be businesslike in your approach and make sure you fully research the property and the area.  Know the costs of implementing your plans, the contracts you will have to sign, plus any legal or financial obligations/restrictions.

You need to know exactly what you are buying and what your maximum bid is.  Any doubts or uncertainty you have on the auction day will reduce your auction day confidence and may eat into any future profits or budgets.

If you do your research well, make a successful bid, and achieve your plans for the property, then you will become hooked!  It is unlikely that your first successful property auction purchase will be your last!


Before the auction day - determine your maximum bid

Determine all your costs associated with buying the property.  You need to know exactly how much you can pay at auction – you do not want any surprises.  Remember to include expenses such as estimated refurbishment costs, stamp duty, auction house fees, solicitor’s fees, loan cost and taxes and moving expenses, if applicable.

Will the property be cost-effective?  This means after you have paid all your auction, purchase, renovation, legal, tax, insurance, costs, interest payments, etc., will the property (plus your profit, if needed) end up being more than the property is worth - more than you can sell it for?  If yes, reduce your maximum bit accordingly.  The same goes if you are buying to let, will the net rental income provide an acceptable return on your investment.

View the lot/property and research the area, even if it is land only.  Our area reports will be helpful, so is the information provided by the auction house.  You should always visit the area and view the property.

Estimate the costs to refurbish/renovate if required.  If necessary, take along to the property viewing a specialist/professional who can provide you with an estimate for the work needed.

Arrange a survey of the property to check it is structurally sound.  You need to know if any structural renovation work is required.  If you will need a mortgage, the mortgage company will need details of the survey.

After you make a successful bid will have to pay a deposit and other fees on the day of the auction.  (The auction house will advise what will be required.)  The balance for completion is usually required within 28 days of the auction. 

If you have not been to an auction before, it is a good idea to attend one or two auctions in advance of the day you actually wish to make a bid.  This will give you time to watch proceedings and become familiar with the way an auction operates.  You will feel more relaxed and confident when the important day arrives for you to take part and bid.

If you cannot be at the auction on the day, it may be possible to instruct the auction house to make bids on your behalf.  Or you or your solicitor could bid by telephone or online.  This type of bidding is know as a proxy bid.  You will need to check with the auction house first and fill out any necessary paperwork before the auction day.

If you need finance to purchase your auction property, there are various ways of raising finance.  The most popular being a mortgage, business loan or a bridging loan.  Ask the auction house which companies they recommend to provide temporary financing for your auction purchase.  Temporary finance bridges the gap until a long-term mortgage/loan is put in place.  Be aware of the lender’s requirements and anything that could prevent the finance being made available.  Some lenders may exclude auction property.  If you do not pay the full amount of the lot (usually withing 28 days of the auction day) you may loose your deposit.

Get hold of the Auction house’s legal pack for the property.  With your solicitor's help, read and understand the contents including the implications of any contracts before you sign them.  Also, check the small print in the auction catalogue, the purchase contract and the conditions of sale for the auction.  Know the timescales for completion.  Be aware of when building insurance needs to become effective - is it on the auction day or on completion?  Ask your solicitor to instigate the legal searches so you are aware of any local authority charges on the property, as these would need to be included in your total purchasing costs.  If you cannot gain access to the property or you have doubts, check with your solicitor if there is legal access to the property.  The auction house will tell you if there are any access issues known to them.

Find out from the auction house what they require you to bring on the day of the auction. 

Phone the auction house the day before the auction to check if there have been any last minute changes.  For example, change of venue, change of start time, has the property you are interested in been withdrawn for any reason.  Clearly, you want to avoid a wasted journey and any possible disappointment.

Auction lots can sometimes be sold before the auction actually takes place.  They will be identifiable on the auction house’s information by a note stating, “Unless previously sold”.  If you are interested in bidding pre-auction, you would need to contact the auction house to sign the contract and pay your deposit before the auction takes place.

Are you considering bidding on a property that has been repossessed?  It is possible that the previous owner had a bad credit rating and the property address has been tarnished or blacklisted as a result.  Check with a credit reference agency, you can usually get the records amended for a small fee.

Before bidding, first check with the local authority planning office.  This is necessary if you are considering bidding on a property that may require planning permission before you can carry out your plans.  Examples include major renovations especially on period property.  Also, work to convert the property into something different (change of use), such as converting a barn, pub, chapel or offices into a house, a warehouse into a flat, etc.  Planning regulations may also require you do additional work, or to a higher standard than you had envisaged.  If there are additional costs, they will need to be factored into your purchases costs.  If they know, the auction house will tell you what planning permission has been granted and for what.  ‘Planning permission has expired’ or ‘Subject to planning permission’ means there is no current planning permission approval.

If you are planning to buy-to-let, or there is already a sitting tenant in the property then, as a landlord, there are many legal requirements, obligations and costs you need to be aware of.  Make sure the seller does not owe any money to the tenant or vice-versa the tenant owing money to the current owner.  There may be a clause in the contract of sale, which makes the purchaser (you) liable at completion for any amounts not paid to either party.  If you buy a tenanted property, you will start receiving rental income from the day of legal completion (usually within 28 days of the auction).

If the auction is a live online auction, be aware of the auction house conditions and requirements before bidding.  You should complete all the above research actions before making an online bid, in exactly the same way as you would before bidding at a more conventional auction.  Bidding online for a property is not the same as bidding on eBay for a digital alarm clock.


On the auction day

Make sure you arrive early for the auction.  This is important not only so that you are composed and ready when the property you are interested in goes through the auction, but also to hear the auctioneer’s introduction.  The auctioneer will confirm the basic rules and regulations about the day’s proceedings.  The auctioneer will also inform every one of any changes to the details in the catalogue.  If any properties have been withdrawn, the percentage deposit required when the hammer falls.  (You will already know this, of course!)  If there is an Addendum or Announcement sheet, they will ask if everyone has a copy, as together with his introduction, as it could become part of your contract with the seller.

Bring your deposit to the auction.  You will also need to bring details of your solicitor, 2 pieces of identification, details and the lot number of the property you are interested in and anything else the auction house requires you to bring to the auction.

Make sure you register when you arrive at the auction.  You may be given a number to use to bid with.  Pick up an auction catalogue.

Although you are a potential customer, bear in mind the auctioneer is working for the auction house and on behalf of the seller.  Their aim is to obtain the highest bids for each property he sells.  Therefore, what is in the auctioneer’s interests may not necessarily be in yours.  For example, they will probably recommend that you sit at the front of the auction room close to them, whereas experienced buyers would probably prefer to position themselves at the back allowing them to see who else is bidding.  They keep their bidding intentions close to themselves.

Everyone at auction is looking for a good deal, so the atmosphere will be both exciting and competitive.  Do not discuss your intentions with other potential bidders in the auction room.  They may be interested in the same property as you and therefore will be competing against you in the bidding.  Consequently, you may receive incorrect advice.

Do not get caught up in the excitement of the bidding and pay too much for the property.  Stick to your pre-planned maximum bid.  If the property sells for too much, so be it.  We add new properties all the time!  You will find another opportunity here soon.

The auction house will commence bidding lower than the guide price, usually increasing by £5,000 or £1,000 depending upon interest in the room.

The seller has agreed a reserve price with the auctioneer.  If this reserve price is not reached, the property will not be sold.



The highest bidder will win the auction.  If your hand is up when the hammer goes down, then you will have exchanged contracts and the property is yours.

Watch the auctioneer when you make your first bid, and make sure he has seen you.  You can make your subsequent bids more discreet.  Continue to look at the auctioneer while you are still interested in bidding, or until you have reached your maximum price.  If you reach your limit just shake your head when the auctioneer looks at you.  You do not need to say anything.  If you do want to bid again, make a bigger movement to get the auctioneer’s attention back.  If you can, be aware what the other bidders are doing, although this is not always easy.  The number of people bidding against you will tell you how much more the price is likely to rise.

Auctioneers will probably try to keep the increments as big as possible to get a higher final price.  It is possible to bid a smaller increment than asked by the auction house.  To do this you must say clearly how much you are bidding and this will either be accepted or not by the auctioneer.  The auctioneer may reduce the amount of the increment himself if it is near to the reserve price.

Experienced bidders can use tactics to try to strengthen their bidding position.  For example, if the price is low, they may call out a much higher price than the next bid increment, to try to put off competitive bidders.  By doing this, they hope other bidders will think they are determined to purchase the property at all costs and thus discourage others from continuing to bid on the property.

The term “taking a bid off the wall” can take place if the bidding is slow and below the reserve price.  In this case, auctioneers considers themselves authorised to take an imaginary bid on behalf of the vendor, which will help the bidding to get nearer the reserve price.  Experienced auctioneers are good at disguising this.  If you spot what has happened, then you know there is no one else bidding against you.

If the property you are interested in does not meet its reserve and is not sold, do not walk away.  It is sometimes possible to negotiate a sale with the seller on the day.  Go and ask the auction house if this is possible.  The auction house may be able to convince the seller to reduce the reserve price so you can make a purchase.  Everything is negotiable as they say!  It is in the interest of the auction house and seller to sell the property.

Remember when you are bidding, the other bidders are confirming that they agree with you about the value of the property.  The great thing about auctions is you can never pay way over the top for a property.  If you are successful, you will have paid a tiny bit (one bid increment) more than another bidder was prepared to pay for the same property.


After a successful bid

Once the hammer falls on the property, and your bid was successful, then you have deemed to have entered into a legally binding contract.

The successful bidder then goes to the auction office or designated place, to pay what is owed (the deposit, etc.) You will sign the contract to purchase the property.  This is often known as Exchange of Contracts.  If you have not already done so as part of the auction registration process, you will need to show the auction house the documents they require, including details of your solicitor and proof of identity. 

The balance of the purchase price is usually paid within 28 days of auction day.  This is known as Completion.

Building insurance cover will need to be effective from exchange or completion depending on what the auctioneer has told you.

If the property sells for less than you were prepared to pay and the deposit you brought is too much, the auction house will refund you this amount.

We hope this article helps you to make your first successful bid and your new purchase meets with your expectations.

Be aware that buying at auction can be addictive.  Whether you are buying on eBay, at a car auction, or a property auction, auctions can easily become the normal way to make a purchase.  We will be here and hope we can help you find your next and future successful auction purchases! 


Disclaimer: This article is intended as a guide only.  The information displayed here may contain errors and omissions.  We make no warranties or representations as to our accuracy or completeness. If you rely on the information here, you do so at your own risk.  If you are considering purchasing from auction, you should always consult with the auction house professionals and your solicitors.

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