What key questions should be asked when buying auction property?


Written by: Edward Feather on 3rd August 2023

Property auctiion

Buying a property at auction is rarely quite as simple as just attending, seeing a property you like, and buying it on a whim. Much more due diligence is needed to make sure you understand exactly what is on offer and avoid nasty surprises.

There are opportunities to ask questions, particularly during a online property auction viewing, but you need to ensure that you go prepared with the right questions to ask, particularly as time can be limited when your potential rival bidders are also there.

So what questions do you need to ask to find out the most important information about the property you’re thinking of bidding for at auction? Here’s our guide:

Questions About Finances

You can - and should - do your research into typical energy bills and other costs that you’ll be incurring when you buy the property, but it’s also the kind of information you should ask about. You can also find out what the council tax band as well as going into more specific details about the property itself, like what the energy efficiency rating is.

You’ll need to know whether the property is freehold or leasehold for starters, as well as whether there are any service charges or ground rent due. Any outstanding debts or charges could impact your plans for the property after you’ve bought it, you need to know about them upfront.

General Questions

An important question to ask at this stage is about the history of the property, including previous sales, changes of ownership and any disputes that have been recorded. Doing research into these beforehand gives you the chance to ask questions about any potential red flags you might have spotted - finding out about these can save you a lot of trouble further down the line.

You can also ask specifics about the auction process itself, which can be crucial if this is your first time trying to buy property at auction. Again, this will be most productive if you’ve studied the information on the website beforehand and can come with specific queries.

Structural Queries

While at a property viewing, you should wait until you’ve had a chance to look around before asking questions as it gives you time to identify any queries you might have about the house itself. If you ask about any structural issues you may have identified, it gives you the opportunity to hear about what the implications of it might be.

You can also discuss any extensions that have been made or for details about the heating, insulation, plumbing and electrics - including when the property will next need rewiring.

Questions About the Location

And finally, you can ask plenty of questions about the location of the property, giving you the chance to find out more about the neighbourhood, local services and transport options. You can also ask about the garden, the boundaries, the situation with parking and much more to give you the whole picture of what it would be like to own that property.

If you are interested in a property that is coming up for auction soon you should also read the legal pack beforehand - or ask your solicitor to review it – and then ask any further questions related to its content.

Asking questions is a crucial part of the auction process, so whenever you get the opportunity, make sure you’re well-prepared for make the most of it.

Ed Edward Feather

Associate Director

About the Author

Edward is an experienced property auctioneer with over 15 years' property auction experience and considerable knowledge of the North West property market. 

Edward joined Pugh & Co in September 2018 from SDL Auctions in Chester. He was also a Director at the Cheshire and North Wales franchise of the Auction House business, based at estate agent Humphreys in Chester, before its acquisition by SDL in 2016.