Buying and selling property at auction: new RICS guide sets out how to get the best deal

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There are great deals to be made on both sides of the fence - if you know what you’re doing.

Buying and selling property at auction is becoming an increasingly popular option for both buyers and sellers.

This Hendon property - up for auction this month with a guide price of just £10,000 - is typical.

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Auctions are an increasingly popular way to sell propertyAuctions are an increasingly popular way to sell property
Auctions are an increasingly popular way to sell property | sn

Auction can be the best option for an owner looking to sell quickly, rather than wait months for a buyer, or anyone looking to secure a bargain, whether for themselves or as a ‘doer-upper’ with an eye on rental or resale.

But as with any transaction, it’s easy to get caught out if you don’t do your homework.

Now the The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has launched a new comprehensive and impartial guide to help you make fully informed choices when buying or selling property at auction.

The guide, produced by the RICS Real Estate Auction Group, has been updated in response to the significant growth seen in the property auction sector over the last few years, including the rise of online auction websites, and highlights what both buyers and sellers should be aware of and what they should expect from their professional auctioneer.

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For sellers, it provides advice on selecting an auction firm, understanding key terms of appointment, and the importance of accurate sales particulars and legal packs.

For buyers, the guide details the steps for preparing for an auction, the necessity of researching any information provided to you, and the importance of professional advice.

It also emphasises the need for buyers to stay in close contact with the auction firm up until the property is offered.

The main advantages of selling at auction as highlighted in the guide, are:

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Certainty: properties are not sold ‘subject to contract’ in the same way as through a traditional agency sale method. The successful bidder is legally obliged to complete the sale once the hammer falls;

Good marketing exposure: auctioneers advertise online and have extensive databases of potential buyers from previous sales;

Speed: the sale is relatively quick and completion usually take places between four and six weeks after the auction.

When choosing an auctioneer to sell your property, it is best to appoint a member of a professional body such as RICS, who will be regulated and have strict rules of conduct which protect the consumer, as well as holding appropriate professional indemnity insurance.

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A non-regulated auctioneer may not follow these rules of conduct.

RICS Head of Professional Practice, Paul Bagust, said: “As the property market continues to evolve, auctions offer a transparent, secure, and swift process that benefits both buyers and sellers, particularly in a dynamic market environment. 

“RICS is the largest organisation for professionals working in land, property and construction globally and our members can advise you on a number of aspects of your transaction including valuation, home surveying, property management and investment as well as advising on how to achieve the best result from an auction.

“We hope this new guide will help to educate consumers on the benefits and possible risks of auctions and how to navigate them for the best result.”

The guide can be accessed by visiting the RICS website at:

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