The beauty of an auction is the certainty of a hammer sale. No gazumping. No gazundering. Property auctions have a reputation for being a risky yet thrilling exercise and adrenaline rush. You can save a packet if you have your wits about you and get it right. On the other hand you can lose a packet if you don’t.
Having gone through the process I’ve learnt lots of lessons. I’ve become wiser and significantly smarter as I’ve graduated from complete novice to a seasoned Property Auctionette. I view the process as an adventure that starts with planning and researching and ends with the purchase of a property that completes within 28 days.
Part I : Visit. View. Take a View.
Do your homework
Do as much research as possible before the property viewing. Visit the area at different times of the day. And night. Pour over local area statistics. Google the postcode to see if there’s been any adverse headline hitting press. Check online property websites for comparable property prices. Call in on local estate agents as they can be a goldmine of information.
Don’t be a White Rabbit
Lateness is rude, disrespectful and unprofessional. Often the agent will have a small window with back-to-back viewings. They won’t entertain playing the waiting game for investors cutting it fine. Give yourself as much time as possible. Leaving yourself less than 10 minutes to view a property that you may be investing hundreds of thousands of pounds in is irresponsible and foolhardy.
At the viewing listen to what others are saying with their trades people, financial advisors and partners. However, take everything you hear with a pinch of salt as they may be throwing you off the scent if they suspect you are eavesdropping. Take a tape measure to measure up. Use your phone to the max. It’s one of the tools of the trade. Take lots of photos. Think about a video. Record notes the instant they occur.
If you feel the property ticks at least 50% of your boxes but you are still undecided consider the ONE factor that would be a deal breaker to take it over the line. Book a second visit. Bring a posse of professionals.
- An architect is always my first choice. They can visualise different layouts and immediately tell you what that might look like to increase your return.
- A good builder should be able to do the same and look at the property with a structural eye.
The Legal Pack.
Think of it as the voice of the property. Don’t read it. Scrutinise it. Put it away. Then read it again. Properties go to auction for a reason. Work out the reason. Study the floor plan. Get a second opinion from a switched on conveyancer or paralegal. Look out for loopholes, inconsistencies to minimise any nasty (and costly) surprises both in advance and on the day of the auction as there are times when special conditions may have crept in:
- Outstanding bills you may inherit
- Extra buying costs
- Planned works
- Planning permission (granted and pending)
- Fixtures & fittings list
- Searches & covenants
- Leasehold information