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Property Auction Sales & Purchases

Properties for sale by auction can range from small, dilapidated flats to semi-detached family homes which have become mortgage repossessions. Unusual properties such as water towers or lighthouses also appear at auction because they come on the market so rarely it is difficult for an estate agent to value them in the usual way.

Property auctioneers who hold regular sales wait until they have a sufficient number of properties, perhaps within a wide geographic region. When they have enough on their books, they then print a catalogue which is sent to anyone who asks for a copy. The catalogue gives the details of each property so that prospective buyers have a chance to arrange viewings.

As with any standard potential property purchase, you should research the building and its situation, talk to neighbours and check if the description and quoted guide price are accurate. If you have any doubts about the condition of a property, you should consult a chartered surveyor and, possibly a builder. You may wish to consult a specialist if the property is Listed. This will give an accurate idea of costs should major renovations be needed.

If you then decide to make a bid, contact Glanvilles. Our property auction lawyers have extensive experience in residential property conveyancing, so we'll be able to check the conditions of sale as printed in the auctioneer's catalogue and advise on any legal issues which could arise.

Speak to our property auction lawyers

To get in touch with one of our expert auction conveyancing lawyers, you can contact one of our offices in Chichester, Fareham, Havant and Petworth.

You also have the option of using our contact form to request a call back, in which case one of our staff will be in touch shortly.

Removing the risks

Glanvilles can review the land/property searches provided by the auctioneer for you, ensuring that there are no hidden risks. If you have specific plans for the property, such as building an extension, any possible problems on the legal title that may prevent you from carrying out development work can be detected and analysed for you.

Given the all clear, you can then make a decision on your upper limit for bidding. You will need to make financial arrangements to ensure you have a ten per cent deposit available on the day of the auction. If your bid is successful, the remaining 90 per cent must be accessible within 28 days or you will lose your deposit.

On the day of the auction, if the hammer does come down in your favour, you will have made a binding commitment to buy the property in question and have the same legal obligations as a conventional transaction contract. The auctioneer's office will have copies of the seller's legal documents and you will be responsible for giving them to our property team as soon as possible so that you can become a homeowner within 28 days of the sale.

Frequently asked questions

What is auction property?

Auction property refers to any property that is sold via a public auction, rather than the traditional method of receiving a private offer on a property. This method means that the highest bidder will almost certainly win the right to buy the property and is conducted by auction houses or various online platforms. It also requires potential buyers to be present (in person or online) at a set date, time, and location to be involved in the competitive bidding process.

Auction properties can be anything from residential homes, commercial buildings, land and more, and can also be sold by individuals, businesses, or governmental organisations, such as councils.

How to buy property at auction

When buying property at auction, it is essential that you have the support of an experienced property auction lawyer, even more so than when you buy property the traditional way. Should you place the winning bid at an auction, you will be bound by a contract and will need to pay the deposit immediately. This deposit is typically 10% of the buying price. There may also be fees payable by you to the auctioneer at this point.

Should you later decide that you don’t want to purchase the property, you will have to forfeit the entire deposit and pay costs of the auctioneer and the seller’s lawyers. If you decide to go ahead and purchase the property, despite any issues that have been identified, the costs can quickly accumulate to a large amount.

For this reason, it is vital that auction property lawyer conducts a multitude of checks on the property beforehand, as well as doing their legal due diligence before the bidding begins.

How to finance an auction property?

If you want to finance an auction property, it is important to be aware of the steps you will need to take. First of all, you should consult with an experienced lawyer to do thorough checks on the properties as well as being made aware of any potential legal issues that could arise. You must then secure an unconditional mortgage offer from a mortgage lender, or if available, secure other funds that you might require.

If you win the bid, you will typically have to pay a deposit immediately which will normally be 10% of the price of the property. You will also have to complete the purchase within 28 days.

Why auction a property instead of selling?

There are several reasons for auctioning a property instead of selling it via the traditional method. Primarily, auctioning a property allows for a faster sale; auctions normally have a set timeline and once the hammer falls, the highest bidder is contractually obligated to purchase the property, which is very appealing for anyone who wants to sell their property quickly. Also, auctions naturally create a far more competitive and immediate environment amongst all of the potential buyers, which typically results in higher sale prices.

Auctions also provide a higher level of transparency by skipping the negotiation process. This is because all the terms and conditions of the sale will be predetermined. For buyers, there is a chance that an auction will result in a lower price due to the competitive nature of the process, however, this is not guaranteed.

Do I need a lawyer when buying a property at auction?

Yes, it is vital that you have the support and assistance of a lawyer when buying a property at auction. Purchasing a property at auction involves several legal complexities and requirements, so having professional guidance is essential.

Before the auction, your lawyer should review the legal information that is provided by the auction house. This information pack will include important documents, for example, the title deeds, searches, and any other relevant information, helping you to identify potential issues and concerns.

Should you be the successful bidder, you are then required to exchange the contract immediately and pay a (typically 10%) deposit, with the date of completion set within 28 days. An experienced lawyer will be able to guide you through any searches and due diligence, which will enable you to make an informed decision before bidding at the auction.

Speak to our property auction lawyers

To get in touch with one of our expert auction conveyancing lawyers, you can contact one of our offices in Chichester, Fareham, Havant and Petworth.

You also have the option of using our contact form to request a call back, in which case one of our staff will be in touch shortly.