And as competition
for properties is seemingly hotter than
ever, a growing number of newbies are considering
seeking a new home via an auction, rather
than through the traditional channels. RICS
says that auctions currently account for
around five per cent of all property transactions
in the UK, and they're increasingly popular
with buyers and sellers.
One of the big attractions
for buyers, at a time when competition is
high for properties, is that there's no
gazumping - once the auctioneer's gavel
goes down, the sale is concluded. Even better,
there are none of the agonies of a drawn-out
completion. The process will be concluded
within a set time, which usually makes buying
through auction a far speedier transaction.
It's benefits such as these, as well as
the prospect of snapping up a bargain, that
have attracted a growing number of private
buyers to auctions in recent years.
ago, auctions were the preserve of the black
hat brigade, and builders in donkey jackets,"
says David Sandeman, auction property expert.
"Nowadays, I rarely go to an auction
without seeing a baby in a pram. Private
buyers are becoming much more common. Talking
to auctioneers, I'd say that private buyers
probably account for more than 50 per cent
of all sales."
Around 25,000 properties
are sold at auction each year, of which
a large majority are residential. Sandeman
says that the boom in sales to owner-occupiers,
rather than landlords and investors, owes
a lot to a change in attitude amongst the
auction houses themselves.
more customer-focused these days,"
he explains. "They make it much easier
for buyers to get the information they need
and go out of their way to help private
individuals and walk them through the process."
But with the increasing
appeal of auctions come new drawbacks -
the main one being that true bargains are
hard to come by. "Properties won't
be bargains," agrees Sandeman. "But
you should be able to buy an opportunity
- by which I mean something that you can
do up, stamp your own identity on. A development
How does it work in
practice? Auctioneers advise that buying
in this way is mostly unsuitable for first-time
buyers as a ten per cent deposit is usually
required, which can be prohibitive for those
on a tight budget. Auctions are also usually
unsuitable for those who are part of a chain,
and depend on selling their own property
in order to finance their purchase.
That said, for those
who do their homework, get the finances
in place and stick to their guns, the rewards
can be considerable - a fair-priced property
with little of the to-ing and fro-ing associated
with a typical purchase.
Kick things off by
checking the local press for auctioneers'
details. They will be able to send catalogues
for their next auctions, which will give
an idea of properties available and their
|TOP TEN TIPS FOR
BUYING AT AUCTION
1. Do your research thoroughly before
2. Ask the auctioneers for the legal
3. Pick auctions that are at unpopular
times such as school holidays, or
in places that are difficult to get
to as there's more chance of getting
4. Work out a budget for your purchase.
5. Stick to your budget and bidding
6. Don't take too much notice of the
guide price as it's often set artificially
low to entice bidders.
7. Always try to attend the auction
8. Be patient and canny when bidding.
9. Check what others are doing to
avoid pushing the price up if you
don't have to.
10. Don't be scared. You won't necessarily
get a bargain, but at least you won't
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