Buying at auction is an exciting way to purchase a property. If you're lucky, you may even bag a bargain.
It's not as nerve-wracking for first-timers as you might think – one twitch and you've bought a mansion in Mayfair – but you must do your homework. Have you visited the property? Have you conducted due negligence? How will you make your bid known?
To help you answer these, and other important questions, Savills Auctions has drawn up an essential guide to buying property at auction.
Finding properties for auction
Buying at auction should be a quick, simple and stress-free process. Once you have identified the property you are interested in from the catalogue or a property search, view it at one of the published open viewing times. No registration is necessary for this, but contact the auction team beforehand to check that the property has not been withdrawn or sold prior to auction.
Things to do before attending the auction
Before the auction, it is important to obtain the legal pack, which you can download from the auctioneers' website. We also recommend you get a solicitor to check it. If you require a survey, get your surveyor to contact the auctioneers directly to arrange access. Finance services are also available in advance of the auction.
Cross-checking the catalogue with the addendum information is important as it will form part of the contract. A copy of the addendum will be available on the day of the auction.
What happens during the auction
We strongly recommend that you make every effort to attend the auction to bid personally. However, if you are unable to attend, you can bid via proxy or telephone by prior arrangement. Unless you are bidding by proxy, internet or telephone no pre-registration is necessary.
At the auction the auctioneer will announce each lot and invite any bids. You can make a bid by raising your hand or catalogue. The auction rooms can be full so it is important that you attract the auctioneer's attention for your bid to be counted. The auctioneer will regulate bidding increments and the property will be sold to the highest bidder. The auctioneer will not take any questions from the floor once the auction is in progress. If you have any doubts about what you are buying, best advice is not to bid.
If you are successful in purchasing a property you will be escorted to the contract room to fill out a purchase slip. You will need to provide two forms of identification. You will also be required to pay a non-refundable 10% deposit of the selling price and an auction administration fee of either £700 (London) or £600 (Nottingham). Personal cheques, debit cards and bankers drafts are all acceptable.
After the auction
Completion usually takes place 20 working days after the date of exchange under the supervision of your solicitor. Please note that properties being sold at auction are sold unconditionally. If you are the successful bidder, you are legally obliged to complete the sale.
You can view Savills upcoming auction dates in London and Nottingham.