Can buying at auction really get you the house you want at a great price or is it just for experienced cash buyers?

More and more homes are being sold by auction. For some the idea of buying property this way may seem scary and even intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right preparation, mindset and support, you might find that auctions are a great way to get the house you want at a great price, simply and quickly.

So, what are the advantages of buying at auction?

One of the biggest advantages is the speed. The whole process from the time the hammer falls, to completion can take a matter of weeks. With a fixed timescale set out from the beginning, you also know in advance when you will need to complete your purchase and how much time you will have to conduct surveys and complete paperwork.

This is because once the hammer has fallen you have exchanged contracts, meaning you have legally purchased the property and there is no going back, but also no chance of being guzumped.

The seller’s solicitors and the auction house also try and make sure as much information as possible is provided prior to auction. This includes searches, title deeds, leases for tenanted property, as well as any relevant planning permissions.

Buying at auction also provides you with a transparent and level playing field. You can see the other potential buyers, know what they are prepared to pay and everyone has the same opportunity to bid at the same time. Once the bids have reached the vendor’s reserve the property will sell.

While there are plenty of benefits to buying at auction, there are a few things you will need to consider before you attend one:

  • Due to the nature of auctions you won’t have much time to get your solicitor to check through the legal pack or to arrange a survey. This is because the time between the catalogue being published and the auction taking place is limited.
  • Do your homework before you go. Speak to the agent, research and be sure that the property you are bidding on is for you.
  • Auction guide prices are just that, a guide. It’s easy to get carried away in the excitement of the auction room; set a limit and stick to it.
  • You will have to pay a 10% deposit on the day together with any Buyers Administration Fees set by the auctioneers. Purchases will need to be completed around 28 days later. You will need to make sure you are ready and your finances are in order.
You also need to make sure you are prepared on the day of the auction, so:

  • You will need to register as a bidder, you should be able to do this in advance of the auction. If you haven’t, arrive early on the day.
  • Take the right documentation with you, including proof of ID and proof of address, details of your solicitor and means of paying the deposit (cash is usually not accepted).
  • It’s always useful to have someone with you. If it’s a joint purchase, you should both attend, if not, take a trusted friend or family member along. 
There may be a lot to consider, but there are many of benefits as well. If you’re properly prepared, you could find that the auction room is the perfect place to purchase your next property.

Our auctioneers have a vast amount of experience and knowledge of selling in the West Country and with up to ten property auctions every year across Somerset, Dorset and Devon we successfully sell a wide variety of properties and land as a result.

We also offer online auctions, you can check those out here.

To find out more, speak to one of our experts at your local office, or visit