Is selling property at auction right for you?

If you’re looking to sell property in the UK, you may have considered selling at auction. But is selling property at auction right for you?

05 May 2023

Team name
Joanne Wood

Joanne Wood

First, it’s important to understand the auction process. Auctions are typically held in a public venue or online and allow potential buyers to bid on the property. The highest bidder at the end of the auction is legally bound to purchase the property, provided the reserve price (the minimum price at which the property can be sold), if any, is met.

What to know about selling property at auction

One of the biggest advantages of selling property at auction in this way is that it can be a quick and efficient process. Unlike traditional sales methods, which can take several months, auctions are typically completed within a matter of weeks. Additionally, auctions can generate a lot of interest from potential buyers, leading to competitive bidding and potentially higher sale prices.

However, there are also potential disadvantages to selling property at auctions. For example, if the reserve price is not met, the property may not sell at all. Additionally, sellers may need to pay auction fees, which can vary depending on the auction house and the type of property being sold.

The legal side of selling property at auction

Before deciding whether to sell your property at auction, it’s important to consult with legal and financial professionals to fully understand the legal implications and costs involved. Here are some important legal considerations to keep in mind:

Contractual obligations

When you sell via an auction, you are entering into a legally binding contract with the highest bidder. It’s important to ensure that you have a clear understanding of your obligations and the buyer’s obligations under the contract and so you must fully understand the auctioneers contract and if necessary, provide special conditions of sale, specific to your transaction, to be used in the sale.

Property disclosures

You should provide as much information regarding the property as possible. A potential buyer can raise enquiry of you and your solicitor prior to the auction and you must be truthful with your replies.

Payment and completion

Once the auction is complete, the buyer is legally bound to pay the purchase price and complete the transaction within a set timeframe. It’s important to ensure that you have a clear understanding of these deadlines and any consequences for failure to comply.

Choosing an auction house

Finally, it’s important to choose the right auction house when selling your property. Look for an established auction house with a good reputation and experience selling properties similar to yours. Be sure to read reviews and ask for references before making a decision.

M&P Commentary

Joanne Wood, Head of Property at Mullis & Peake LLP, said:

“Selling property at auction can be quick and efficient but it’s important to fully understand the legal implications, rules and regulations, and costs involved. It is not for everyone. Seek legal and financial advice, prepare a comprehensive legal pack for buyers and choose the right auction house to ensure a successful sale”


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