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How to buy at an auction sale
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    How to buy at an auction sale

    Buying a home through an auction is open to anyone who wishes to choose this route to property ownership, however, before making a decision on this less-conventional way of purchasing, it is wise to consult an experienced residential conveyancing solicitor as such an action could save you from an expensive mistake.

    Unless you are already aware of a particular house or flat being sold at auction, you will need to look out for auction notices in local newspapers or check with estate agents in the area where you want to move. The internet can be a useful resource if you are not familiar with the immediate location.

    Properties for sale by auction are not only available in cities such as London and Brighton but also in rural areas throughout the UK. They can range from small dilapidated flats to semi-detached family homes which are mortgage repossessions and unusual properties such as lighthouses which come on the market so rarely it is difficult for an estate agent to value them in the usual way.

    Property auctioneers who hold regular sales wait until they have a sufficient number of homes, perhaps within a wide geographic region, then make up a catalogue which will be printed and sent to anyone who asks for a copy. This will give the details of each property so that prospective buyers have a chance to arrange viewings.

    As with any standard potential property purchase, you should research the building and its situation, talk to neighbours and check if the description and quoted guide price is accurate.

    If you have any doubts about the condition of a property, consulting a chartered surveyor and, possibly a builder, if major renovations are needed, will help you have an accurate idea of costs.

    Having decided in principal that you want to make a bid, or bids, you should get legal advice from a solicitor experienced in residential property conveying. He or she will be able to check the conditions of sale as printed in the auctioneer’s catalogue and advise on any legal issues which could arise.

    Benefits of using an auction sales specialist solicitor

    A solicitor can carry out the usual land/property searches, ensuring that there are no hidden risks. If a purchaser has specific plans for the target property, such as building an extension, any possible problems can be analysed.

    At this stage, you can make a decision on your upper limit for bidding and then you will need to make financial arrangements to ensure you have a ten per cent deposit available on the day of the auction, if you are successful. The remaining 90 per cent will have to be accessible within 28 days or you will lose your deposit if you fail to complete on time.

    A mortgage in principal can be arranged with a building society or bank in advance and the solicitor alerted to act when the sale goes ahead.

    If you have not made a bid at an auction before, especially a property one, it would be sensible to visit a similar auction to see how bids are made. The action can be fast and furious in a busy saleroom and it will give you an idea of what to expect when trying to buy your home.

    Supposing the hammer does come down in your favour, you will have made a binding commitment to buy the property in question and have the same legal obligations as a conventional transaction contract.

    The auctioneer’s office will have copies of the seller’s legal documents and you will then have responsibility to get them to your residential property conveyancing solicitor as soon as possible so that you can become a home-owner within 28 days of the sale.

    Buying at auction through Healys solicitors of London and Brighton

    Healys’ auction team recognises the urgency of auction transactions. The team has a wealth of experience selling and buying commercial and residential property at auction.

    The team is regularly praised for its flexibility and responsiveness when dealing with auction contracts. Swift responses are a pre-requisite for a smooth auction transaction.

    We usually charge our fees on a time-spent basis (based on our hourly rates) when inspecting auction sales packs, but we are, however, happy to discuss fixed fees where it is appropriate to do so.

    For more information and advice on costs of Healys’ conveyancing services, please contact us.

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    Call our London office on 020 7822 4000 or our Brighton office on 01273 838734. You can also contact us online.
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