The Do's and Dont's of Purchasing a Property at Online Auction


Written by: Paul Thompson on 15th February 2022

Gavel And House Keys

Online property auctions eliminate the months of back and forth between vendors, banks, and solicitors. And instead, the home-buying process can instead take a matter of minutes.

Property auctions offer quick, simple, and secure sale – and there are a number of bargains to be discovered. But to make sure you have the perfect property purchasing experience you need to make sure that you carry out the right research and preparations.

If you’re heading to an auction, keep in mind the following tips to have the best possible experience:

 What to Do When Buying Property at Auction

DO carry out the standard research prior to participating in online auction.

Just because the method of sale isn’t conventional doesn’t mean to say that the due diligence should be any different when buying a house through auction.

DO familiarize yourself with the process before embarking on it yourself

You could watch a live auction online to familiarise yourself with the process. This also gives you a chance to make sure you have the right equipment with access to the internet and a steady broadband connection. And be sure to check out our guide to bidding at online auction

DO have surveyors look at the property beforehand

A property with a low-price tag in a great up-and-coming locale may seem like a good deal, but if it is riddled with severe structural deficiencies or issues that are going to require substantial time and capital to put right, the costs of renovations can quickly leave you out of pocket.

DO sort out your finances prior to attending the auction

When the hammer falls, the winning bidder is expected to sign the papers and part with the deposit on the spot. Unless you are entering into a cash deal, you will need to have your mortgage in place, and any funds required for completion available. Failure to do this can give the seller grounds to sue for the full purchase price!

Do have someone with you when bidding at online auction

A bidding war on a property can be exciting, and there’s the potential to become carried away and more engaged in the competition than the property itself. If you have a propensity to run away with the exhilaration, have a friend, family member or partner with you to act as the voice of reason if necessary.

What Not to Do When Buying a House or Property at Online Auction

DON'T buy a property on a whim

Repossessed homes in particular can seem like great deals, but they can house a number of problems that the current owners do not have the money to put right. If you buy without visiting the property with a solicitor or surveyor (ideally both) first, you could inherit those problems along with the property.

DON'T enter an auction without having notified your solicitor and discussed the property in question with them first

They will be able to inspect the property’s title and alert you to any “buyer beware” scenarios. There can be restrictions in place when purchasing a leasehold property (such as the prohibition of pets), so having the legalities carefully assessed before going to bid is wise.

DON'T put in a bid before asking all relevant queries

 (Why is the property being sold at auction instead of through the local market? Was the property used as a rental?) Certainty is key in an auction, and if you have reservations or questions, you don’t want to end up in a position where you’ve been awarded the property without having those answered.

Remember, the winning bid is contractually obligated to follow through with the purchase, which means the stakes are high. For confident bidders, it can also mean that there are great deals to be had and bearing in mind the above points will place you in good standing to win them.

Thinking About Purchasing a Property at Auction?

Have more questions about buying property at auction? Contact the experts at Pugh to have your questions answered by one of our friendly team - no obligations attached. Call us or drop us an email today. 

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).