Buying a property at auction – Top Ten Tips from Auction Conveyancers

1. Homework

Many  auctioneers hold monthly or quarterly  auction sales with a catalogue printed some weeks in advance. You can also subscribe to catalogue mailing lists. It is worth asking why the property is on sale at an auction in the first place; does the owner want a quick sale or has the property been repossessed by a mortgage lender? It is generally safer to buy a property that is being repossessed or form a local authority as you have more comfort as to the reasoning behind the sale. Always be  a little bit more sceptical if it is an individual selling it. Always instruct a conveyancing lawyer to review the legal/conveyancing documentation prior to auction.   If there is a Home Information Pack pass it on to your conveyancing solicitor.

2.   Conduct dress rehearsal  

Attend one or two Property Auctions and watch how things work before doing it for real. Auctions can be  more complex  than they look ( especially on TV ) . Having a taste of the experience will ensure you know what you are doing when it comes to the day you wish to bid.

3. Get the auction pack

Every  auction property  will have a corresponding auction conveyancing papers  and Home Information Pack . This includes the title deeds, local authority and drainage  searches and Property Information Questionnaire . In the case of a leasehold property the auction pack may include a copy of the lease, management information and a sellers leasehold information form and other conveyancing documentation specific to a leasehold property.

4. Inspect the property

Apart from the conveyancing checks, you also need to visit the property. As with any house purchase, remember the three most important non conveyancing advice about buying a property  location, location, location. Websites such as can provide useful information on schools, crime and amenities. Check that the property is vacant. If you are intending to purchase the property being vacant then ensure that your conveyancing solicitor checks that the contract provides for vacant possession.

5. Understand how an auction works

In an auction a reserve price is usually placed upon every property. If bidding doesn’t reach this price the property auctioneer’s hammer falls, and it means you are the successful buyer. This also means you are legally committed to paying the price you bid.

6. Have finance in place

If your bid is successful you will need to pay 10% of the cost of the property at the auction. It is not for your conveyancing solicitor to pay the deposit.   The balance has to be paid in full - and the purchase completed – on the prescribed date set in the contract.

Ensure  sure you have the money you need for the deposit with you and the rest available by the completion date.

7. Get a survey done

Even if you are a cash buyers should  know what they are buying. Some  auction properties require significant amounts  of building work or have a history of structural problems that will take money to fix ( which may be the very reason why they are being sold at auction ) . So get a survey done before you even think about bidding.

8. Factor in additional costs

When working out your budget, take into account the cost of surveys and conveyancing advice. You will need your solicitor to do the conveyancing and also pay for a survey. You will also have to pay  stamp duty  at the prevailing rate . Also, the auctioneer may demand a buyer’s premium equivalent to 1. 5% of the sale price and sometimes sellers ask for the auction fee and conveyancing work or conveyancing searches / HIP to be paid for by the buyer, so check the small print for extra conveyancing and other costs before you bid.

9. Keep to your budget

 Before entering the auction room, decide on a budget and stick to it. Never get caught up in the emotion of the auction even if you are competitive by nature, and never bid above your predetermined price. Keep a calm. If you think you might be unable to do this, get a conveyancing solicitor or auctioneer to do the bidding for you. A number of conveyancing lawyers at Fridaysmove attend auctions.

10. What to do on the day

On the big day, you will need a couple of identification documents ( the auctioneers are obliged to comply with Money Laundry ID Requirements in the same way as estate agents and conveyancing solicitors )   as well as a cheque to cover the 10% deposit – as stated above. Your hand or catalogue can be used as a  signal a definite intention to bid and catch the auctioneer’s eye attention.