Auction Property Conveyancing Solicitors

Purchasing a property at auction is becoming increasingly popular in the UK. Doing so offers an opportunity to buy a home quicker and potentially cheaper than through an estate agent. However, if you’ve not purchased at an auction before, there are some important things to be aware of. Those who win the bidding auctions don’t often appreciate that, technically, what they are doing on ‘fall of the hammer’ is exchanging contracts to buy the property and contracts being legally binding immediately after bidding ends.

Due to the quick turnaround and the binding nature of the agreement you enter into, you should be well prepared and carry out all necessary research before bidding on property. We strongly suggest seeking legal advice from an experienced auction property conveyancing solicitor before you attend a property auction.

Our well-established conveyancing department, led by Head of Residential Property Amanda Neill, is dedicated to helping individuals through the conveyancing process when buying property at auction. We have a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of the auction-buying process, including producing and interpreting legal packs and guiding clients through the auction process, ensuring a smooth and successful purchase.

Please note that we do not supply mortgage advice if you purchase property at an auction. You won’t usually have enough time between auction and completion to arrange finance, and most bidders at auction are cash-buyers.

What is the process for buying a property at auction?

If you’ve not attended an auction before, we strongly recommend you visit without any intention of bidding to spectate and familiarise yourself with the environment. If you go into the auction process with an understanding of what to expect and how it works, you will be more likely to secure the best possible outcome.

If you’re planning on bidding on property at an auction, here’s what to expect before, on the day of and after the auction:

  • Before the auction: You should always conduct thorough research and attend viewings before going to a property auction. The auction house can provide a catalogue upon request so you can shortlist properties and arrange viewings. As auction properties are often investment opportunities needing renovations, you should check the guide prices and conduct your own pricing research. With a conveyancing solicitor’s help, obtain and examine the legal packs closely for detailed property information. Once the hammer falls, the sale is final—preparation is key.
  • The day of the auction: Whether you’re attending an auction in person or joining online, ensure you turn up on time with all required documentation and information, including your 10% deposit for the property and two forms of identification. You can make as many bids as you like once the auction starts, as long as it’s within your limits—if you’re the highest bidder, you’ll win. Be prepared to pay your deposit and fees that day. If you won a property but it came in under its reserve, you can approach the seller to discuss further options, as they may still approve the sale.
  • After the auction: If you’ve been successful, the process following the auction is the same as purchasing property any other way. You will receive a set amount of time following the auction to pay the remaining 90% of your winning property bid. In some circumstances, this may be as short as 14 days. You will also need to instruct a conveyancing solicitor to ensure you’ve met all the legal needs for the purchase.

At Mounteney Solicitors, our Property Auction Solicitors can support you through the post-auction process, ensuring your purchase is as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Terms and conditions of an auction purchase

Two major sets of terms and conditions govern an auction purchase—General Conditions and Special Conditions. General Conditions apply to every auctioned property and are available upon request. Special Conditions are those the seller sets before the auction, which apply to a specific property; this could include details from completion date to penalties for not completing, so it is crucial to read through these conditions carefully. If you instruct a solicitor to review a property’s auction pack, they can also review and discuss with you the Special Conditions.

Although each set of Special Conditions differs, it is becoming increasingly common for the seller to specify that the property’s buyer pays a contribution towards their auction costs and legal costs. In some cases, this can mean extra expenditure up to thousands of pounds and should be included within your budget should the situation arise.

How long will it take?

We understand the tight deadlines involved in auction purchases. Our team is well-equipped to get things done for you to ensure a successful transaction. Following the client retention process, you typically only have 28 days to complete an auction purchase; after that, there are a few post-completion matters included, such as payment of the Stamp Duty Land Tax / Welsh Land Transaction Tax and Land Registration. (See our Buyers Guide for more information.)

You must submit a completed transfer to HM Land Registry for registration. The time HM Land Registry takes to process such a registration varies depending on how busy they are. However, once submitted, the HM Land Registry processes applications on any title in order of submission, so their delay ought not to affect the priority of your application relative to other matters on that title.

How much will it cost to instruct a Property Auction Solicitor?

Your supplier is CLC-regulated Mounteney Conveyancers Ltd, which charges VAT that some customers may be able to reclaim.

We charge £600 + VAT + HM Land Registry Fees.

There is more about our fees on our website here.

If you have any questions or require any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Contact our Property Auction Solicitors

With offices in Bramhall, Cheadle and Heald Green, Mounteney Solicitors is committed to delivering exceptional legal services. We would be happy to provide you with a clear understanding of how we can assist once we know your circumstances better. If you’d like a no-obligation initial discussion about your auction property purchase, we can provide you with a price quotation and a choice of funding options.

Our Property Auction Solicitors will always offer clear and concise recommendations and advice, consistently delivering the highest standards of professionalism and commitment. Contact us today for unsurpassed legal advice from a team of specialists who will always have your best interests in mind. We eagerly await your call.

Purchasing auction property FAQs

Do I need to instruct a Property Auction Solicitor when buying at auction?

Consulting with an expert legal professional is always recommended when purchasing any property. This is even more crucial when purchasing at an auction, as you must evaluate and understand legal packs before you buy.

What does reviewing an auction legal pack involve?

Reviewing an auction legal pack involves examining all the documents related to a property before bidding. Specialist Property Auction Solicitors will scrutinise the legal pack for any issues or notable information, such as special conditions in the contract, rights of way, and restrictive covenants. They also check for potential legal problems that might be the reason for the property being sold at auction, ensuring you are fully informed before making a purchase.

How do you fund the auction purchase?

Funding an auction purchase often requires quick completion, typically within 2-4 weeks, making traditional mortgages impractical. You can use cash if available, especially for lower-priced properties. Alternatively, specialist finance options like bridging loans can be suitable, as they are often accessible within weeks. However, consult a specialist bridging loan broker, as these loans can be costly and may not be suitable for everyone.

Can I pull out after I have won the auction?

If you attempt to pull out after you win an auction, you will face legal penalties—the sale made at auction is final once the hammer has fallen. Therefore, you will likely be subject to forfeiting your 10% deposit and other fees already paid if you cannot meet your legal obligations.