Everything you need to know about buying a house at a property auction in Scotland

A property auction is one of the best ways to buy a house or flat at a discounted rate from the market value, but what exactly can you expect when buying from one?

Shelter Scotland have some sound advice on property auctions for beginners, including the pros and cons:

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"The main advantage of buying at auction is the price: auction property is generally much cheaper than property bought through a selling agent.

"The bidding system is transparent: you know what the other buyers are offering, so you won't end up putting in a higher bid than necessary in order to secure the sale.

"Sales at auction go through very quickly - you'll usually be able to move in just 28 days after the sale."

Disadvantages include the fact that most auction homes need a lot of renovation work and investment, so although you'll get a cheap property, you'll need a relatively large sum of money to update the home.

Picture: SVA Auctions

David Marshall, Operations Director with Warners Solicitors and Estate Agents, said: “The best advice for anyone considering purchasing a property at an auction is to do as much research as possible in advance, set a budget and stick to it.

"Make sure you know what is, and is not, included in the sale, that you’ve read the Home Report fully and that you know what any similar properties have sold for recently.

"If you’ve decided that a property is worth a certain value, don’t get drawn into a bidding war on the day and go over that.

"Bear in mind that only a small percentage of properties sell at auction. You’re looking at a very limited supply of what is available so don’t fall into the trap of only looking at properties that are for sale at auction.”

How to find your nearest property auction

Picture: Future Property Auctions

Shelter Scotland advises that to find out about auction properties, you need to get on the mailing lists of auctioneers in your area. You can find auctioneers listed in the Yellow Pages.

"There are several sites you can use to find out about auctions and view details of properties for sale:

The Property Auction Action Directory has a property search feature as well as auction guides and a discussion forum.The Big Property List is another site where you can search for property and read auction guides.You could also consider subscribing to a site such as Property Auction or Property Auction News."


Picture: Auction House Scotland

When it comes to taking a look at the property or properties that have caught your eye, then Future Property Auctions have this advice:

"External viewings can be done at any time, but bear in mind that it may still be occupied. Open viewings for inside the property are at specific times and dates, made public on the property schedules.

"You do not need to register to attend these viewings, you can simply turn up as the property will be open during the scheduled times. Our viewing agent will be present to answer any of your questions and provide auction catalogues to viewers."

If you can't make the open viewings then an internal viewing can be made by appointment. All you need to do is contact the auctioneer and register your interest to view.

Offers and bidding

Picture: Zoopla

Future Property Auctions offers this advice on pre or post-auction bidding:

"You can submit an offer at any time (Pre-Auction or Post-Auction) on any of our properties for the vendor to consider. If the vendor is willing to accept your offer and sell you the property now you will be required to pay an immediate 10% deposit (Min £3,000) to secure the purchase and withdraw the property from being offered at the next auction."

When it comes to bidding on the day of the auction, you can either go in person, submit bids over the phone or bid by proxy.

A proxy bid is where you will leave your highest maximum bid for the property and the auctioneer will bid on your behalf.

If you are successful then you'll be required to pay a deposit on the day of the auction.

Future Property Auctions advise: "The deposit is payable by cash, debit or credit card. The standard deposit is 10% or minimum of £3,000. A buyers administration fee equal to 1% + vat of the sale price subject to a minimum fee of £2,000 inc vat will also be payable at the time of placing the deposit."