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Auction Buyers Guide

14 ways to succeed at a property auction

Buying at auctions is extremely popular, but it helps to start out with a clear idea of how auctions work. Here’s our simple guide to buying at auctions. 

  1. Read the description in the catalogue carefully and identify the properties you are interested in, making a note of the guide price. This is an indication of the lowest price that would be accepted by the seller. 
  2. Visit the property you’re interested in before the auction. You can either contact the local butters john bee office or see the relevant viewing schedule
  3. Take legal advice. Purchasing at auction is legally the same as signing a contract by private treaty. In most cases we’ll have copies of the legal documents, or alternatively your solicitor may contact the vendor's solicitor. Legal packs can be downloaded from our website.
  4. Read the general conditions of sale at the rear of the catalogue.
  5. Get a copy of the addendum. These are available online and contain any late amendments, information or alterations.
  6. Plan your mortgage finance before the auction, and leave time to carry out a valuation if you need one. 
  7. Organise your deposit before the auction. We require a 10% deposit (subject to a minimum of £1000) with the rest of the payment usually due within 20 working days of the sale. Don’t forget that you’ll also need to pay the auctioneer an administration fee of £700 +VAT.
  8. Bring original documents proving your identity and evidence of your address, such as a current full UK driving licence, current signed passport plus a recent utility bill, bank or building society statement. 
  9. Check that the properties included in the catalogue will be offered on the day of the sale. Some may be withdrawn, and some may be sold prior to auction.
  10. Arrive early so you can see other lots being sold and get an idea of how auctions work. Our sales are held in the evening, so you have plenty of time to travel to the venue.
  11. Keep calm. Our auctioneers understand the pressure first-time auction buyers will feel, and they’ll be as helpful as possible.
  12. Be ready to sign the contract as soon as the hammer falls.
  13. Be positive. If you’ve planned and researched properly, you’ll find that buying a property at auction is fast and simple. 

What are Guide Prices and Reserve Prices?  

The GUIDE PRICE is an indication of the seller’s current minimum acceptable price at auction. The guide price or range of guide prices is given to assist consumers in deciding whether or not to pursue a purchase. It is usual, but not always the case, that a provisional reserve range is agreed between the seller and the auctioneer at the start of marketing. 

As the reserve is not fixed at this stage and can be adjusted by the seller at any time up to the day of the auction in the light of interest shown during the marketing period, a guide price is issued. This guide price can be shown in the form of a minimum and maximum price range within which an acceptable sale price (reserve) would fall, or as a single price figure within 10% of which the minimum acceptable price (reserve) would fall.

A guide price is different to a reserve price (see separate definition). Both the guide price and the reserve price can be subject to change up to and including the day of the auction.

The RESERVE PRICE is the seller’s minimum acceptable price at auction, and the figure below which the auctioneer cannot sell. The reserve price is not disclosed and remains confidential between the seller and the auctioneer. Both the guide price and the reserve price can be subject to change up to and including the day of the auction.