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The Dos and Don’ts of Selling at Auction

Whether it’s your first time selling a property by auction, or you’re well-versed in the process, you can trust auction sales to be quick and easy, for both you and your potential buyers. However, with that being said, sellers do have some essential tasks that need to be completed correctly in order to get the best result possible. From deciding which auctioneer to use, to consulting with a solicitor for the first time, there are multiple factors to consider when you look to sell by auction.

To help familiarise you with the steps involved with the selling process, and ensure you remain self-assured and confident throughout, our experienced auctioneers have compiled a comprehensive list of dos and don’ts to follow.

Dos of selling property by auction

One of the biggest financial decisions anyone can make, selling your property, whether it be a residential home you’ve loved yourself, or an investment you’re relying on to turn a profit, is something we take very seriously. It’s our responsibility to make sure you avoid commonly-made mistakes, and come out of the process happy with your achieved price. 

To help you make the right calls for you and your property before, during and after the auction, read through our list of what you should do when selling by auction below.

DO: Research the best auctioneer for your property

Whether it’s an auction house, or an auction department within an estate agents, there are many auctioneers to choose from, so deciding which one is best for your particular property is no easy feat. 

If you’re torn between these, the best thing to do is to take a look at the portfolio of auction properties that have been recently sold by these auctioneers. This will help give you a good indication of the types of lots they sell and the prices they sell for. For instance, at SDL Property Auctions, we publish the results of the properties sold in our auction events, which can be easily viewed on our past auctions page.

DO: Compare prices

Whether you’ve tried selling your property on the open market but have been unsuccessful, or you’re set on selling your property this way but want to find out more information, such as selling price, we recommend getting a few estate agents and at least one auctioneer to value your property. This will help give you an indication of how much it’s worth, and in many cases, our sellers can even achieve a higher price by selling by auction compared to selling via the open market. 

While some auctioneers might charge for a sales valuation, or provide only a top-level automated estimate, at SDL Property Auctions, we provide this as a completely free, in-depth service. Simply fill in your property type, address, property details and contact details, and a member of our team will aim to get back in touch in 24 hours. 

Once we’ve given your property a valuation, the process of pricing it up ready for auction includes the following:

  • Setting a reserve price – This is the minimum price you’re willing to accept for your property, protecting you from selling for less than you’re content with. This is decided upon confidentially between the seller and the auctioneer; and the property won’t be sold if this isn’t met.
  • Setting a guide price – This is the price we advertise the property for. Acting as a guide, this gives potential bidders a general idea of how much you’re willing to sell your property for. This must be within 10% (either higher or lower) of the reserve price. 

DO: Decide on your preferred auction type

At SDL Property Auctions, we run three types of auctions – Auction Events, Timed Auctions and Buy it Now Auctions. The option you decide to go for depends on several factors, including how fast you need to sell your property. To help you choose, we have summarised these below: 

  • Auction Events – Our Auction Events are set out in a traditional auction style featuring a live auctioneer and are live-streamed from our head office auction studio. These are broadcasted live on our website once a month and can be watched along in real-time for free. 
  • Timed Auctions – You can also sell in a Timed Auction on our website. These will only feature your lot and can be started at a time that best suits you and last as long as you decide, anything from 24 hours to three weeks Since bidders can bid at their own pace within a specific time frame, this provides ample opportunity for potential buyers to raise their bids on your property.
  • Buy it Now Auctions – An auction method which shares many traits with open market sales, Buy it Now Auctions offer sellers the chance to purchase a lot at a fixed price immediately and under auction conditions. This means that sellers can rely on a delay-free sale, knowing strict completion time limits are in place and they won’t be gazundered.

While these have been summarised above, if you’re looking to find out more information on the best type of auction for you, read our blog covering the difference between Timed Auctions and Auction Events, as well as our article on ‘What are Buy It Now sales?’.

DO: Choose a suitable selling method 

Once you’ve decided on your auction method, our property auction experts can assist in helping you choose between an unconditional or conditional sale, which you can read more about on our guide to conditional and unconditional auctions. We’ve provided an overview of these below:

  • Unconditional – As soon as the ‘hammer falls’ the successful buyer is locked into the sale and has 30 days to complete the sale by exchanging contracts.  
  • Conditional – The successful bidder has longer to exchange contracts, as they enter into an exclusivity agreement giving them 60 days to exchange and complete the purchase. 

DO: Consult a solicitor

Once you’ve agreed on the type of auction and preferred method of selling, you will need to consult a solicitor. Although this is a requirement when selling a property through an auction or via the open market, the only difference with an auction sale is that you work with a solicitor to create certain auction-specific documents prior to a bid being made. 

If you’re selling your property with us, we work with several trusted firms and can help you find a suitable solicitor who will help you compile a legal pack for the property. This will be available on the property listing for potential buyers to view before the auction. Find out more in our guide to auction legal packs.

Don’ts of selling property by auction

Auction sales are safe, secure and straightforward, but we don’t expect sellers to approach their first, second or even hundredth sale fully-aware of everything they need to do or, in this case, NOT do. As such, we offer everyone help and guidance throughout the process to ensure selling your property goes as smoothly as possible. 

Although the chance of running into any issues during an auction sale is minimal, to help you completely avoid these, read our advice on what not to do in the lead up to or during the auction.

DON’T: Feel pressured to carry out renovation work

Contrary to what you might think, our best-selling properties are often those requiring some improvement work. This is because, whether they’re potential homeowners or investors, many of our buyers are searching for a property they can add value to. As a result, the properties which need a small or large amount of renovation and refurbishment work often generate the most interest from bidders.

Plus, preparing a property for a sale, which you would usually need to do when selling via the open market, can be a tiring and time-consuming process. Avoiding this by selling your property in its current condition can therefore remove a lot of the stress which typically accompanies selling, making it faster and easier for all involved.  

DON’T: Worry about viewings

Whether you’re worried about arranging viewing times, or having to conduct the viewings yourself, rest assured that our team can handle this for you. We make ourselves available to carry out viewings on your behalf, organising these in time slots that best align with your schedule.

We’ll also never conduct a viewing without your permission, and are respectful of your time and space when taking photos of your dwelling to be used for the property listing and other promotions. 

DON’T: Worry about losing out in the sale

When instructed and with our support, you’ll agree on a reserve price and guide price for your property which, as outlined above, must be within 10% of one another. As a seller, these two price points provide a high amount of security and mean you won’t receive less than you intend for your sale. 

DON’T: Worry about the property falling through

The auction process is fast and secure, with contracts exchanged as soon as an offer has been accepted, whether that be as the hammer falls in an Auction Event, upon the close of a Timed Auction, or as soon as a purchase is made through a Buy it Now auction. Because of the contractually-binding nature of bids, buyers are unable to drop out or change their offer once it has been accepted without facing fees, meaning sales falling through is very rare.

Start the selling process with SDL Property Auctions

If you’re looking to sell your property with us, request your free auction valuation today to get the ball rolling. Alternatively, if you’d like further advice on whether or not auctions are the right choice for you, get in touch with our friendly auctioneers today by calling us on 0800 046 5454, or sending us an email enquiry to

Selling a property by auction… that was easy.