A Beginners Guide to House Auctions

We’ve all seen the programmes on the television showing people buying properties at auction and doing them up to sell on. While this is a common theme in house auctions, there are many other buyers looking for somewhere to live and a property auction can be a great way to pick up a bargain. Whether you’re interested in house auctions from a home owner or buy to let perspective there are many things to consider and advice to heed to stop you from getting burnt or missing out on your ideal home or property.

Why auctions?

Estate agents are great for selling properties that fit into nice ready made boxes, but there are some properties that require a little lateral thinking and a different marketing approach. Often such unusual properties end up at auction. Often they are properties that require some modification and updating with a keen eye for detail very helpful here, which is why many auction sold properties go to specialist buy to let teams. And yet, in recent years there has been an increasing trend towards house auctions for buyers wishing to avoid the potentially problematic ‘chain’ conundrum. With a property auction you can be sure that when the gavel strikes, the property is yours and the risk of being gazumped just isn’t there.

Hot tips

Get your finance sorted first

Possibly the worst mistake at property auctions is that buyers commit to buying without having first made sure that they have a mortgage offer in place and their finances stack up. Remember that you will need a 10% deposit at hand on the day of the auction and be able to provide the rest within 28 days of the auction’s end.

Watch and learn

Probably the most important piece of advice you can listen to before going to a house auction with then intention to buy, is to go to one just to sit in and observe. Watch the patterns, form and strategies and learn from those with the experience you lack.


Once you have done this and identified an upcoming auction that is hosting one or more properties of interest you should get in touch and request they send you a printed catalogue. Most auction houses will have one around a month in advance. Once you have looked through the catalogue and filtered out the properties that you are not keen on – highlight those of interest and arrange to go and visit them in advance of the auction. Get the opinion of a local agent, ask questions of neighbours and walk around the local area – basically all of the things that you would do if you were going down the popular route of property hunting.

Stick to your limits

It’s easy to fall victim of auction fever, especially if you have invested time and emotional energy into the property for sale. Keep to a pre-decided figure. That is imperative. Also remember that if the property doesn’t reach the reserve you can still try to negotiate a deal. The auction house can act as an intermediary between the vendor and yourself, so be canny!