Buying a Property at Auction

I am interested in buying a house which will be sold by public auction shortly. Are there any steps I should take before I go to the auction to bid for this property?

There are a number of important issues to consider before you purchase a property at public auction. Once your bid is accepted you are then legally bound to purchase the property.

The Latin term “Caveat Emptor” meaning “let the buyer beware” is particularly relevant when buying a property at public auction. The seller of a property is under no obligation to disclose defects attaching to a property so it is paramount that a purchaser would satisfy himself of the condition of the property before purchasing. The purchaser should ensure that all relevant checks and surveys e.g. a structural survey, are carried out by a qualified professional before bidding on any property at public auction.

You should also engage a solicitor to establish that there are no legal or title problems affecting the property.  Your solicitor will raise all necessary title queries on your behalf with solicitors for the vendor before the auction and will advise you accordingly. It is important to be aware of any potential title issue as this will obviously impact on your ability to sell the property in the future.

If you are not a cash purchaser, it is essential that you have the finance arranged to assist you in completing the purchase before the auction takes place.

If you are the highest bidder (after the reserve price is met) on the day of the auction the property will be sold to you. You will be asked to immediately sign the contracts for sale and you will be obliged to pay a 10% deposit.  You will be asked to give one part contract for sale to your solicitor and the auctioneer will send the other part contract for sale to the seller’s solicitor. The contract for sale will usually specify a date for completion of the sale when the balance monies must be paid and you will receive the keys.

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