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How to succeed at property auctions

If you’ve ever been at a property auction, you might be overwhelmed with the number of lots, the high prices involved and the due diligence required to vet each individual lot in order to see if it’s the right one for you.

With that said, we’ve put together a quick and easy guide for you to follow; in order to let you better succeed at property auctions.

Understand the auction process

Before bidding at any auction, you should always understand the process.

See how the registration process works, understand the fees involved and understand how the bidding and final payments work.

This will allow you to better understand your position when it comes to the actual auction day, allowing you to make more informed and calculated bidding decisions.

Research the lots beforehand

Initially, you can view most property lots online, prior to the auction starting.

These online listings will generally give you;

This is a great way to understand what’s coming up at the auction, allowing you to get your research and due diligence done early, prior to the auction starting.

Be sure to also keep checking the online listings, as details sometimes get updated and guide prices can adjust based on the interest of the lot.

Surveys & Visits

In order to have a better-informed decision on the day of the auction, it’s important you carry out all the necessary steps you would normally take when buying a property, prior to bidding on any lot.

This would include visiting the property and taking a good look around; including understanding the local area, nearby attractions, transport routes, car parking, etc.

As well as carrying out a property survey, in order to better understand the physical condition of the property and its value.

Make sure you discuss the logistics of getting your reports back in time with your surveyor — as you’ll want to have this prior to the auction starting.

Have your finance ready and in check

It goes without saying, you shouldn’t bid on a property without having the means of paying for it, as when the hammer falls and you are the highest bidder, you’re required to pay for the lot, in accordance with the auctioneer’s terms.

Therefore, it’s vital you have your finances in check, prior to bidding for any lot.

Your expenses to consider should include, but are not limited to:

  • The lot’s value,
  • Buyer’s premium / auctioneer’s fees,
  • Legal expenses occurred by your solicitor,
  • Stamp duty / any other taxes that could be incurred on you.

Appoint a solicitor early

You should appoint your solicitor as soon as possible, as this will help you exchange and complete at a quicker pace.

Not only that, but your solicitor should also have enough time to read over the legal pack for the lot (which can be obtained by the auctioneer), prior to the auction starting. This will allow you to make a better-informed decision when bidding for a lot.

On the day of the auction

Arrive early, in order to ensure you’re registered to take part without any issues. You should bring your photographic ID as well as a proof of address with you, as these may be required on the day.

You should also ask all of your questions to the auctioneer before the auction starts, as it may become very difficult to excuse yourself in and out of the auction room, whilst the auction takes place.

You should also note to check if any properties have been withdrawn from the auction or changed prior to you last checking (note the guide price, as this can often change).

Make sure you also have all your notes to hand, as well as a calculator, should you need to re-adjust your bidding positions on any of your lots.

However, in order to avoid frantically calculating your numbers on the day, you should run all your bid positions prior to the auction starting (a calculation of the highest amount you’re willing to bid for each lot).

After the auction finishes

You will likely be asked to sign a memorandum of sale, should you have won a lot.

At this stage, you’ll likely also need both forms of your ID present and pay any deposits required by the auctioneer.

Should a property fail to meet the reserve price, you could express your interest to the auctioneer, who might be able to help facilitate a sale with the seller, offline.

This article is purely speculative and should not be mistaken for financial advice. Readers should consult a professional independently before making any financial decisions.

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* Generally speaking Guide Prices are provided as an indication of each seller's minimum expectation, i.e. 'The Reserve'. They are not necessarily figures which a property will sell for and may change at any time prior to the auction. Virtually every property will be offered subject to a Reserve (a figure below which the Auctioneer cannot sell the property during the auction) which we expect will be set within the Guide Range or no more than 10% above a single figure Guide.

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