Preparing to buy

People buy at auction for lots of reasons,​ they might want to move quickly or they could be looking for a repossessed property, a plot of land to build on or quite simply they want a quick purchase without the risk of gazumping.​

Auction buyers may also want something a bit unusual, the type of property not usually sold traditionally through an estate agent. Buy-to-let investors also buy properties at auctions, as they have a full range of investment opportunities to choose from and they can purchase quickly. It doesn’t matter what your reason for buying at auction is, the key to success is preparation.

Finding the right property

Before you go along to an auction to buy a property there’s a lot of groundwork that needs to be done first. A good place to start is by making a list of your ‘musthaves’. It could be a particular location, detached or semi-detached, number of bedrooms, price range, space for parking, etc. Once you have an idea of what type of property you want to buy, then you’re ready to start your search.

Offers prior to auction

You can submit an offer on a property before the auction which, if suitable, would be sent on to the seller for consideration. Normally you will need to be in a position to pay your deposit and exchange contracts immediately if your offer is likely to be considered. If this is accepted then your purchase will go ahead and only when contracts are exchanged will the property will be withdrawn from the auction.

  • Before the auction
  • Make sure you have a copy of the auction catalogue, as this forms part of the legal contract between you and the seller
  • Have a look at a copy of the legal documents including the Special Conditions of sale which are available online prior to auction and in the auction room on actual auction day so as not to be caught unware.
  • Consult a solicitor about the purchase to avoid any legal pitfalls.
  • As with any property you want to buy, arrange a viewing of the property.
  • Make sure that you’ve arranged a survey. You’ll definitely need this if you are financing the purchase with a mortgage. If you are paying in cash you’ll want to make sure the property is structurally sound.
  • If you are financing the purchase with a mortgage, then you should have a formal offer in place before attending the auction
  • You’ll need a deposit which is typically 10% of the purchase price - this is payable at the auction once you’ve bought the property. Some deposits may be higher so always check the Special Conditions of Sale.

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