Britain’s best property auction houses

Property Auctions, Pre-Auction Legal Checks, Pre-Auction Conveyancing

Britain’s best property auction houses

Britain's best property auction houses Express Conveyancing

Property Auction Houses

The painfully slow business of house buying can be avoided by the increasingly popular route of snapping up a home at an auction – but the process is not for the faint-hearted. This article first appeared on the Sunday Times. We have compiled a list of the best property auction houses in Britain.

The upsides are that the process can take a month or less, you can see rival purchasers and know what they will pay. The downsides are that auctions can attract ‘problem’ homes which, say, need renovation, have sitting tenants or are hard-to-sell like flats above shops.

But auctions frequently allow canny buyers to pay lower-than-average prices so long as they do their research and stay calm in the pressure of the bidding room.

Best auctioneers for property

  1. Allsop: everything from individual flats to landlord portfolios
  2. Auction House: mostly in London, eastern England, the Midlands and the north
  3. Barnard Marcus: handling properties across the UK but auctions all in central London
  4. Barnett Ross: north London-based, selling homes requiring renovation to full blocks of apartments;
  5. Brendons Auctioneers: specialising in low-cost flats and small houses in London suburbs and commuter areas
  6. Brown & Co: East Anglia and Midlands auctioneers, specialising in rural property
  7. Countrywide: wide range of homes with auctions from Exeter to Glasgow
  8. Fox & Sons: homes and shops under the hammer in Southampton
  9. Griffiths & Charles: specialising in Worcestershire property, sometimes selling house contents too
  10. Hunters: selling homes and shops in York
  11. Martin & Pole: auctioning homes in Reading and Wokingham
  12. Michael Poole: auctioning homes in the Newcastle area
  13. Penny Cuick: small homes, flats and local shops in Birmingham suburbs
  14. Savills: usually higher-end houses, auctioned in central London or Nottingham
  15. Seel & Co: low-cost flats and houses in south Wales
  16. Sharpes: low-cost homes in Bradford, popular with buy-to-let bidders
  17. Shobrook & Co: Plymouth auctioneer known for tenanted homes, part-vacant investment properties or thoserequiring renovation
  18. Strettons: Mostly London and southern England low-cost homes
  19. Symonds & Sampson: Dorset auctioneer known for homes and building plots
  20. Wilsons Auctions: Six offices in Midlands, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, specialising in small homes and shops

Top tips for buying a house at auction

  1. Visit an auction without bidding to see if you like the experience;
  2. If you go ahead, order a catalogue for a future auction (available three weeks in advance);
  3. View a property you like – the auctioneer arranges visits for individuals or groups;
  4. Get a survey done, even if one is included in the seller’s ‘legal pack’ – the agent may do this to avoid multiple surveyors from rival bidders;
  5. Sort finances – successful bidders pay 10 per cent immediately, the rest within 28 days;
  6. Instruct a conveyancing solicitor familiar with auction purchases such as through www.express-conveyancing.co.uk;
  7. Set a personal spending limit including legal, transaction and renovation costs;
  8. Take all legal, mortgage and ID paperwork to the auction;
  9. Once bidding begins, make clear hand signals and verbal bids on your ‘lot’;
  10. Avoid being carried away in a bidding war and exceeding your limit.
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