Selling Property at Auction Vs Private Treaty, What's The Difference?


Written by: Will Thompson on 20th October 2022

Couple Unpacking Boxes

How should you sell your property? You might be wondering whether to sell at auction, or via a private treaty (through an estate agency). But what’s the difference between the two? Here, we’ll explain five benefits of selling your home at auction, and how the process differs from selling with an estate agency. 

How Does Selling Property at Auction Compare to Private Treaty?

1. Selling at auction is quicker

Industry data showed 7.5% more residential properties in the UK were listed for sale at auction than the previous year, and 11.7% more homes were sold at auction than in 2020. In the wake of the pandemic, when homes were taking longer to sell via estate agencies, many homeowners opted for the faster method of auction to sell their properties. 

One of the major benefits of selling at auction is how much quicker the process is. Once a winning bid is received, your sale will typically complete in around a month. Selling through an estate agency takes on average 12-16 weeks from exchange to completion, but often longer during busy periods or if you’re part of a chain. 

2. Online property auctions are more secure

When you sell your property or land at auction, your solicitors will provide a legal pack before bidding can begin, and contracts are exchanged immediately upon the fall of the virtual hammer. At this stage, your buyer is legally obligated to purchase your property. 

If you sell through an estate agency, the due diligence is carried out after you accept an offer from a buyer. If solicitors or surveyors find any issues during this process, it risks your buyer trying to renegotiate the price, or withdrawing from the sale completely. 

3. Our experts will price your property to generate interest quickly

Estate agents often price properties at the higher end of the scale, with a view to reducing it if the home doesn’t sell quickly, or negotiating the price down between you and your buyer. When you sell at auction, our experts will suggest a suitable guide price, to generate the most interest possible and receive more bids for your property. 

4. Some properties are better suited for selling at auction

At Pugh & Co, we’ve sold lots of different types of property at auction over the years. Auction is a great option for all types of commercial and residential properties and is much better suited for some than selling via an estate agency. 

Properties in need of improvement benefit from selling at auction, as we know how to generate interest from investors who will compete to drive up the price you’ll achieve. 

Tenanted properties are also well-suited for the online auction room, as landlords are looking to invest in homes with sitting-in tenants. Buyers looking through estate agency portfolios are likely to be looking to buy a home for themselves, so tenanted properties aren’t as appealing to them.

One of the most well-suited properties for selling at auction is probate properties. Most people want to sell inherited properties as quickly as possible, and beneficiaries can receive their share of the estate sooner thanks to the speed of sale at auction in comparison to estate agencies. 

5. At auction, you have full control of your sale

Estate agents can’t guarantee how long your home or property will take to sell, and you could be on the market for much longer than you anticipated if a buyer isn’t found quickly. But by selling at auction, you can decide when you want to sell, and which auction you’d like to enter. 

There are many benefits to selling your property at auction. From a speedier sales process to more certainty in finding a secured buyer, online property auctions are an excellent way to ensure you achieve the best price for your property, in as little time as possible. 

Looking to sell residential, commercial property or land at auction? You can request a free appraisal for your home here, or give us a call on 0345 505 1200 if you need any further advice.

About the Author

Will is an auction surveyor at Pugh & Co, representing a wide range of vendors, including local authorities, charities, and corporate and private clients, on the disposal of all types of property and land. Will can provide advice on the value and disposal strategies of residential, commercial, and industrial properties/portfolios, as well as sites with development potential. He holds an MSc in Real Estate and is a member of the National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers.