Bag a bargain – don’t get hammered. Here’s how:
1. Have a dummy run – Before you’re ready to buy get all the catalogues, find out the rules, book viewings on properties similar to the type you want, and go along to the auction and watch.
2. Research, research, research – Buyer beware! When you’re ready to go use every means – eg house price sites, talking to locals and estate agents – to find out everything there is to know about any properties you like. And don’t forget the obvious stuff – Google the property’s address and read the information the auctioneer provides!
3. Get a surveyor – It’s always better to get a structural survey, and a professional’s estimate of the property’s value. But only do this if you’re serious. If you end up bidding on a few properties unsuccessfully you could spend thousands.
4. Arrange your finances and legals – Unless you’re a cash buyer you’ll need a mortgage agreement in principle (AIP) in place first (include in this a buyer’s fee, if applicable). And make sure your lender is able to come up with the money within 20 working days of the auction. You’ll also need to ask your solicitor to check title deeds and carry out local searches
5. Set your price – Auction prices can look incredibly low, and people do get bargains. But think of the guide price as an indication of roughly where the reserve is. Then decide how much over that you’re willing to pay. And stick to it!
6. The big day – Bidding at an auction can be a tense experience for anyone. But if you’re worried, you’ll get carried away and overbid, ask someone else, such as your solicitor or surveyor, to go for you. And don’t forget you’ll need to sign the contract and pay 10% immediately if you’re successful.
7. If this all sounds too stressful what about trying to buy before the property reaches the auction? If vendors are willing to sell beforehand the property will be listed as ‘unless previously sold’. Also, remember that a large percentage of properties don’t reach their reserve price at auction, so it’s always worth making an offer to the owners after the big day.