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Auction sales may appear to herald a whole new language, here's your guide to understanding the common terms and what they mean.

Bid – the amount that the bidder offers to pay for a property at auction. The auctioneer often controls the amount by which bids increase, although bidders can suggest a different amount if they wish.

Bidding paddle – the plastic paddle which any bidder is required to bid live in the auction and which is issued once you have registered with the correct proof of identity and proof of address.

Completion – when the full amount has been paid and the transfer signed.

Contract documentation charge – a charge payable by the buyer at the auction to the auctioneers.

Deposit – the amount paid by the buyer on the day of the auction towards the total purchase cost and which normally needs to be paid in cleared funds either by debit card, online transfer or other electronic methods.

Entering a property – the term used for putting a property up for sale at auction.

Exchange of contracts – the fall of the auctioneer’s hammer or gavel means that contracts have been exchanged and that both the seller and the buyer are legally bound.

Gavel – the hammer the auctioneer uses to close the bidding on a lot.

General/Special Condition of sale – these are legal papers that are attached to and form part of the condition of sale. There are different special conditions of sale for each and every lot.

Guide price – provides an indication of the level at which the reserve may be set, but the guide price should not be relied upon as a valuation or assessment of value. The eventual sale price can be above or below the guide price.

Joint auctioneer – generally a local es­tate agent who will hold the keys and show people around the property and provide local knowledge.

Money laundering regulations – UK law requiring auctioneers to satisfy themselves as to the identity and residential address of all those buying and selling at auction by way of sight of official documentation.

Legal pack – the set of documentation provided by the sellers solicitors, giving legal information pertaining to the property and the contract of sale and purchase.

Lot – when a property is entered to auction it is referred to as a lot and given a lot number.

Proxy Bid – where the auctioneer or a member of the auctioneers team bid on be­half of a buyer unable to attend the auction in person up to a specified maximum bid.

Reserve price – this is a confidential figure set by the seller. The auctioneer will not sell below this price, however bidding will often start below the reserve price.

Special Conditions of sale - These are the unique conditions of sale that relate specifically relate to each and every lot and may vary the general conditions.

Telephone Bid – where a member of the auctioneers team will phone a bidder in order to bid live on behalf of that buyer unable to attend the auction in person.

Withdrawn – this is when a property is sold before the auction, it has been taken off the market or it fails to reach its reserve price.

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