Investor's Guide: The Reality of Investing in Property at Auction


Written by: Paul Thompson on 24th February 2022

Auctioneer With Gavel

If you’re a landlord and you want to expand your property portfolio, whether commercial or residential, you need to explore all options to maximise your investment value.

You may be familiar with the usual purchase routes. These include sourcing the property, dealing with estate agents, solicitors, the land registry etc, and enduring the endless wait to acquire your new purchase. But one avenue you may not have explored is buying a property at online auction. So, we’re here to advise if it can result in a good investment for you.

A Wide Choice of Property Types

Buying a commercial or residential property at auction doesn’t guarantee that you’ll bag a bargain, but the potential is certainly there. Our online auctions fun on a monthly basis so there's always an upcoming auction for canny buyers to make the most of new opportunities.

It’s possible to buy anything from a one bedroom flat to a five bedroom family home. From a warehouse to a disused medical centre. From a fish and chip shop to a vacant office building. From an entire business park to a high rise office block, usually at a significantly lower price than you’d expect to pay on the open market. Experts estimate that investors can save between 10 – 30% on an auction purchase compared to buying it through an estate agent.

Caveat Emptor (Let the Buyer Beware)

In order to secure a good price for the property you’re interested in, there are several points to be aware of when buying at online auction.

Firstly, as with any large purchase, you must do your research beforehand to ensure that the location, planning permission and price of the property etc are suitable for your needs. An impulse buy at auction can cost you more than the sale price if it turns out not to be what you wanted or needed in the first place. However, this is less easy to do with online auction compared to room auctions because you have to pre-register for your desired property. This can help to keep you focused when bidding on property on auction day.

Secondly, set yourself a budget and stick to it, like glue – that bargain property won’t be a bargain if you find yourself in a bidding war with another interested party and end up paying well over the odds for it.

Consider Additional Property Investment Costs

You should also factor into your budget the associated costs of purchasing at auction. To be fully prepared you should have viewed the property in person and potentially had a survey carried out to ensure its viability. You will need to confirm all finances prior to auction because soon as the hammer falls, the property is yours. Finally, add to this your solicitor’s or conveyancer’s fees, stamp duty and property insurance.

There’s never a cast iron guarantee that you will be able to secure a bargain at a property auction. But with foresight, planning and a certain amount of commercial acumen, you could be well placed to get the right property at the right price for you.

Looking to Expand Your Portfolio?

If you're thinking about investing in property at auction, view our upcoming auction diary and browse available lots. Or to discuss buying a property at auction, talk to the Pugh’s team. Our experts can offer you advice and information about all aspects of the process.

Paul Paul Thompson

Managing Director

About the Author

Paul has over 34 years’ experience of the property industry including 14 years experience of running one of the countries most successful commercial and residential property auction houses as a Director, Auctioneer and formerly 100% shareholder.

Paul is a Chartered Surveyor and member of the National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers (NAVA).