Top tips for buying a property at auction

back view of buyers raising hands to auctioneer during auction

Most in-room property auctions have gone online as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and can now attract audiences from all over the world - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Technology has been a huge help over the past 15 months, keeping us connected to loved ones, allowing us to work and learn and even fending off boredom in those long months of lockdown. 

It has also enabled many people to find their dream home or next renovation project – particularly at auction, where remote bidding has meant an even easier purchase. 

“Buying at auction is just like buying a house through any normal estate agency,” says Bryan Baxter, director of Auction House East Anglia. “In fact, it’s quicker, more efficient and more straightforward.” 

Auction key on the keyboard, 3d rendering,conceptual image.

Online auctions have grown in popularity since the start of the pandemic - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Since switching to remote bidding in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the firm now sees three times as many potential buyers – including some from across the globe. 

“A lot more people are engaging with the auction process because it can now all be done at home,” says Bryan.  “The remote process is proving better for buyers as well as sellers, as you don’t have to take the time off to come to an auction venue and possibly waste your time on a property you may never have bought. 

“If you’re prepared to pay a fair price, the chances are you will secure the property, and for potentially less money than you would have paid on the open market.” 

But if you’ve never bought a property at auction before, it can still be a daunting process. Here are some top tips to help you make the right purchase for you. 

Pink auction sign with building background

Research is key when you are buying a property at auction - and the best way to ward off any surprises - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Know what you’re looking for 
Auction House East Anglia sells virtually all types of property – including residential, commercial and land – so it’s useful to have an idea of what you are looking for so that you’re not overwhelmed. 

While the properties are usually listed on property portal websites such as Rightmove or Zoopla, Bryan recommends accessing the catalogue on the Auction House website. It features all you need to know about each of the lots and you can also download the relevant legal packs. 

Downloading a legal pack and registering your interest is advised as you can be kept better informed about the property as auction day approaches, including additional legal documentation or if a lot is sold prior to auction. 

Do your homework 
When it comes to research, buying a property at auction is no different than buying through a traditional estate agent – and that means arming yourself with as much information as possible. Once you’ve committed to exchanging contracts, it’s legally binding. 

“You need to know all about the property, have had the major inspections done and spoken to any legal advisors – or anybody else you need to speak to – prior to committing on auction day,” explains Bryan. “Inspect the property, have your legal advisors look over the legal pack and get any quotes or planning investigations you need to have done.” 

Often auction properties come to market because of an outlying issue, including needing structural work or being in a poor state of repair. “A lot of people buy blind and end up regretting it because they find things which are not to their liking,” says Bryan, so it’s always important to 
be prepared. 

Mortgage concept. Money and house

Properties for sale at auction are open to all types of buyers, even if you need to secure finance - Credit: Getty Images

Sort out your finances 
Properties for sale at auction are open to all types of buyers – including those who need to secure a mortgage or other finance.  

“If you’ve got to borrow finance, you need to make sure that it’s available prior to the auction,” explains Bryan, “or at least enough to pay your deposit.” 

You also need to be aware of the completion date, which is 28 days from the date of exchange of contracts, although it can be more or less depending on individual circumstances. 

“You need to make sure your funds are available quickly if necessary,” says Bryan. “Look closely at any special conditions to make sure there’s nothing that’s going to affect the amount of money you want to spend.” 

Young excited woman using laptop in living room. Good news and winning concept

After a successful purchase, you may find yourself more inclined to buy at auction again - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Speak to the auctioneer 
Whether you’re buying at auction for the first time or are a seasoned bidder, Bryan advises speaking to the auctioneer ahead of the sale. 

“Speak to the auctioneer before bidding so you understand the process fully,” he says, including whether you may need an extension to the completion period or if you want to make a pre-auction offer, as there may be more flexibility than you expect. 

“We’re more than happy to provide free advice to any first-time bidder, but we also suggest you listen to someone who’s done it before.”  Next time, that might even be you.  

“Once you understand how quick, efficient and competitive it is, buying at auction is likely to become something you will revisit time and time again.” 

For more information, visit the website at

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