Top tips for buying at auction

Cathy Holt, auction manager at Sutton Kersh, has worked in the Merseyside property auction market for over 22 years. Below are her top tips for buying at auction.

"If you intend on bidding and buying at auction, make sure you have done your homework first:

  • Obtain a copy of the auction catalogue to check out the deals available.
  • Work out how much you can afford to pay and enquire about finance. On auction day, if you are successful with your bidding, you will be required to pay a 10% deposit immediately and the remaining balance within 28days. It is therefore important that you have a Finance Agreement in Principle in place before bidding at the auction.
  • Arrange a viewing. Make sure you take time to visit the property so that you know exactly what it is you are buying. Many properties sold at auction require maintenance and repair work. You should therefore visit it before hand to satisfy yourself of its condition.
  • Arrange a survey. Whenever you buy a property, it is advised that you obtain advice from a professional Chartered Surveyor regarding its condition. Whilst you will be able to see some issues for yourself, a trained eye will be able to pick up any structural issues or defects, and could save you thousands of pounds in the longterm.
  • Instruct a solicitor. Before committing to buying a property, you should always read through the important information contained in the property's legal pack, and ask your solicitor to do the same. 
  • Make an offer. Some vendors will commit to selling their property prior to auction day so it is always worth making an offer beforehand just in case.
  • Identify some back up properties. Just incase you miss out on your first choice property, it is a good idea to identify some other properties in the catalogue that also meet your requirements. Again, ensure they are within the price bracket you can afford and that you arrange to view each of the properties beforehand. Remember, your backup properties must appear after your first choice property in the catalogue.
  • Ask questions. If there is anything you are unsure about, contact the auction house. It is our job to provide you with professional advice and to put your mind at ease, so please do get in contact. We love helping people, and get a great buzz when someone we have built up a relationship with in the run up to the auction gets the property they were after.
  • Bid clearly and only up to the amount you can afford. The auction room is normally very busy and so it is important that you bid clearly to ensure you capture the attention of the auctioneer. It is also vital that you only bid up to the maximum value you can afford. When the hammer is brought down, a binding contract is formed and you must pay the balance in full within 28days. If the bidding goes beyond the amount that you can afford, stop bidding and concentrate on the other properties you are interested in. Do not bid more than you can afford.
  • Remember to take your personal id and cheque book to the auction. If you win, you will be asked to produce your diving license or passport, and write a cheque amounting to 10% of the purchase price.

"People should not find the prospect of bidding and buying at auction daunting. It is very straightforward, and so long as you follow the advice above, the process should run smoothly."

Sutton Kersh's next auction will take place at 12noon on the 8th September at the Marriott Hotel in Queen Square, Liverpool City Centre. Full details of their current catalogue, which comprises residential property suitable for owner occupiers and investors, commercial property, mixed-use investments, land, development and redevelopment opportunities. For more details please contact Sutton Kersh Auctions on 0151 207 6315.

3 properties from the Sutton Kersh catalogue that are suitable for owner occupier or investment purposes include:

Lot 1 – 21 Tenby Avenue, Liverpool, L21 9NL. Guided at £45-50,000. Residential.
A vacant 3 bedroomed end town house in need of upgrading and modernisation. The property benefits from gardens.

Lot 4 – 46 Burdett Street, Aigburth, Liverpool, L17 7AT. Guided at £70,000+. Residential.
A vacant 3 bedroomed middle terraced property benefitting from central heating. Following upgrading and modernisation the property would be suitable for occupation or investment purposes.

Lot 11 – 1 College Houses, Muirhead Avenue East, Liverpool, L11 1ER. Guided at £50,000+. Residential.
A vacant two storey 3 bedroomed semi detached property benefi tting from partial double glazing and gardens. The property is in need of upgrading and modernisation. Fees: The purchaser is to be responsible for the Council’s legal and surveyor’s fees at a cost of 3% of the sale price with a minimum of £1500.00