Can you view a property before bidding at auction?


Written by: Chris Jackson on 16th August 2023

Property viewing

When buying a house through an estate agent, it’s an entirely normal and expected part of the process that you would go for a viewing to have a look around the house and decide whether you like or not, as well as keeping an eye out for any red flags. But how does this work when you’re buying at a property auction?

It makes sense that you would want to see the property that you’re considering bidding on and while photos, descriptions and virtual video tours would of  be available, some buyers prefer to walk around and get a feel for the place. Luckily, this is generally something you can do with auction properties.

After all, if you’re the highest bidder when the gavel falls at the auction, that property is now yours, so you need to be confident that you really wanted it. Here’s how property viewings tend to work at auctions in the UK:

Booking an online auction property viewing

When you’ve identified a property - or properties - that you are interested in, you should contact the auction house and ask to arrange a viewing. They will usually have a schedule of open house viewings and these may already be available with the auction details.

Open house viewings give you the chance to not only check out the property but also the competition. If there are many other people there in the viewing that you attend, then it gives you an idea of how many might be bidding when it comes to auction.

 But in every other way you should treat this like any other house viewing. Go with a list of things to look out for and questions you want to ask, as well as a notebook and your phone (to act as both a camera and a torch).

 What to look out for at a online auction property viewing

What things you are looking for personally will depend upon what your plans are for the property. If it’s to be your primary residence you’ll need to look at it in that way and decide whether you could see yourselves living there, but if it’s a property for renting out, you will be looking at it in a more detached and practical way.

But there are some things you absolutely need to be looking out for. These include damp and mould (or freshly painted patches that might be hiding this), any sign of infestations, problems with subsidence or guttering, damage to roof tiles or other visible issues that you would need to address.

You’ll also want to check out the local area, though a lot of this research (i.e. into schools, average property prices, etc) can be done outside of the viewing. Have a list of questions ready, but be aware that time might be a factor in terms of how many you can ask at an open house viewing.

Once you’ve had the viewing, you can ask follow-up questions with the auctioneers and potentially arrange a survey to get more detailed feedback about the property. This can all be a daunting process, so don’t forget that our experienced team at Pugh Auctions is available to offer advice and guidance.

Chris Chris Jackson

Associate Director

About the Author

Chris has been working in the Yorkshire property market for 15 years. He specialises in investment opportunities, residential and commercial, providing clients with disposal strategies designed to achieve the best possible sale price.