Top tips for property auctions

While most people are familiar with the conventional way of buying a property from an agent, the growing popularity of auctions is undeniable.

Only in December 2016, 110 property auctions were held across the UK, raising more than half a billion and hitting a 10-year record for December.

But why are property auctions becoming more popular?

Auctions tend to be a faster way to buy a property; there is often a quick turnaround from purchase to ownership. While the possibility of being gazumped - losing an already accepted bid to a higher bidder - cannot happen at auction, as once the gavel goes down, this is a legally binding contact.

Sutton Kersh Associate Director Cathy Holt said: "Property auctions have a lot of benefits for buyers. The majority of properties sold at auction are often sold at 20 percent lower than their market value. That's why auctions are great for first time buyers!

"We know that the first property auction can be confusing and daunting but our experienced and professional team are happy to offer advice and guide people in the right direction."

Sutton Kersh have put together a 10-step guide for first time auction goers:

1. Explore your options

Obtain a catalogue of possible lots to bid for and choose what you like.

2. See the property for yourself

By seeing the lot with your own eyes, you really understand what you might potentially get at the end.

3. Get the legal advice

It is highly suggested for everyone, especially the first-time buyers to get the legal or professional advice from a solicitor or a chartered surveyor if needed.

4. Arrange a survey

Taking a precaution by doing a survey on the property or properties you have chosen ensures your safety in the future.

5. Take care of your finances

Buyers are asked to pay a 10% deposit after the bid is done and cover the rest within the next 28 days. Also, you need to receive an offer from your lender in principle before the auction day if you are planning to obtain a mortgage. There so, you must review your finances prior to the auction.

6. Get familiar with the legal documents

This part is necessary for everyone to do. Legal packs that need the viewing contain special conditions of sale, office copy entries, searches and replies to pre-contract enquiries.

7. Register for the auction

There are two ways for you to do it, either in the foyer before the auction or completing a registration form available on the website or hard copies.

8. Make your bids

Not everybody is aware that bids can be made before and after the auction as well, yet the real-time bidding remains the most popular one. The hand rising, head nodding, smirking, shouting your price – all the ways are acceptable and exciting. Still, don’t get too caught in it, though, set up your limit price and don’t go beyond it or you might find yourself regretting your decision in the end. Also, note that, in case you cannot participate yourself, telephone and proxy biding facilities are available.

9. Take the after actions

As said before, immediately after you make your bid, you are asked to pay the deposit to validate your purchase. Cheque, bankers draft or credit/debit cards are all acceptable, only cash is not.

10. Last and most importantly - enjoy your win!

Paul Mahoney, a Merseyside property developer turned landlord, said: "My top tip for attending an auction for the first time would be to do your homework. Make sure you visit the property you plan to bid on and then work out the costings; work backwards from any renovation costs and then set your perimeter.

If the bid goes higher than the price you had in mind, then walk away - there will be another deal!"

Paul has 25 years in the industry as well as his own property company, MGS Estates. 

Sutton Kersh's next action will be held on the 29th March at The Crowne Plaza, Liverpool. For more information, visit or call the team on 0151 207 6315. 

NAEA propertymark logo

ARLA propertymark logo

We are a member of the Propertymark Client Money Protection Scheme
View CMP Certificate
Conduct & Membership Rules

The Property Ombudsman logo