How to buy a property at auction

There are several ways to purchase a property in our auction room. If at all possible, we advise all buyers to attend the auction and bid live in the room. However we know that’s not always possible so we offer a number of different ways to bid. In some circumstances it may also be possible to submit an offer prior to auction or post-auction should a lot fail to reach its reserve price.

Offers prior to auction

You can submit an offer before the auction which, if suitable, is forwarded to the seller. All offers must be received in writing and must be above the guide price. If this is accepted, your purchase will go ahead and when contracts have been exchanged, the property will be withdrawn from the auction. The property will be sold under auction conditions and will remain fully available and open to other offers until contracts have been exchanged.

Please note that some vendors may not want to consider any offers prior to auction. We will be able to inform you if that is the case.

Bidding in the auction room

This is by far the most exciting part of buying or selling at auction. But make sure you are prepared.

Before the auction, contact us to make sure the property is still available. If it is, you’re ready to start bidding!

You will need to bring two forms of identification; photographic proof and a separate proof of address. You will also need to bring your 10% deposit (plus the buyers fee) so you can exchange contracts if you’re the successful bidder.

If you already have your solicitors in place then bring their details with you.

It is also a good idea to arrange for your buildings insurance policy to start once the hammer falls. For some leasehold properties this might not be necessary, your solicitor will tell you this.

Auction day

You will need to register on arrival or at any point during the auction. Registration only takes a couple of minutes, there is a form to fill in, we will check your identification and give you a bidding paddle.

The registration form can be found at the front of the catalogue, so you can fill it in and bring it with you if you want to save a bit of time.

Please note that you will have to register for each auction so we can check your current identification and provide you with a new bidding paddle. If you are a regular bidder in our auction room you can register for a membership card which will speed up the membership process as we will have your details on file and we simply need to scan your membership card on arrival. For more details on our membership card click here.

Your deposit

This can be paid in a number of different ways including by debit card or a bank/building society draft. Options do slightly vary by auction venue so be sure to check with us before you prepare your financial arrangements.

You will also be required to pay a buyers fee if you’re successful with a bid.


Before bidding begins the auctioneer will check that everybody has a copy of the ‘Addendum or Late Announcement’ sheet and will read out any last minute alterations to the catalogue details. When the property you are interested in comes up, make sure you know the maximum price you can afford to pay – it’s easy to get carried away! Once bidding begins, potential buyers will be asked to make their bids clearly either by raising their hand or their bidding paddle. And don’t worry, you can’t buy a property by scratching your head.

Once the final bid has been put forward the auctioneer will signal that it is about to be accepted by using the phrase ‘going once, going twice, third and last time’ and bang the hammer to close the sale.

If a property fails to reach the reserve price, it will be withdrawn from the auction and the auctioneer will invite anyone still interested to visit the unsold lots desk and talk afterwards. Sales can still be made if a price is agreed with the seller.

What if I can’t attend?

If you can’t attend the sale then you can arrange either a proxy, telephone or internet bid. There is a form to fill out which can be found in the back of the auction catalogue or on our website here. We need the form back the day before the auction, along with copies of your identification and debit or credit card details or a cheque so we can process the 10% deposit if you are successful.

  • Proxy bid – you leave us with your maximum bid and a member of staff will bid up to that amount for you on the day. The bids will still go up in increments; we don’t just submit your maximum bid.
  • Telephone bid – a member of staff will ring you on the auction day, just before the property is offered for sale. We will take your instructions and bid on your behalf.
  • Internet bid – you log onto our online bidding website, watch the real-time video stream of the auction and follow the instructions online to bid.

Please note: When you submit a proxy bid the auctioneer is immediately appointed as your agent, he/she has a legal obligation to act on your behalf.

  • You can also send someone to submit bids on your behalf. They will need your written consent and you should agree limits before bids are submitted. They will need to bring their own identification as well as copies of your identification. They must also be able to pay the deposit if they are successful.

However, attending the sale is by far the best way to bid. If you bid by phone you will miss out on the exciting atmosphere in the room.

A successful bid!

Once the hammer falls, contracts are legally exchanged. The contract is signed and the deposit handed over immediately (along with the buyers fee). The auctioneer is legally entitled to sign the contracts on behalf of the buyer and seller if necessary.

Completion of the sale

The completion of the sale is usually less than a month after the auction unless stated otherwise in the special conditions of sale in the legal documents. The balance of the sale will be paid on completion. A solicitor will normally deal with this part of the sale.

For advice about buying at auction call our team on 0800 304 7879

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