Auctions are one of the many ways to buy a property and have become a popular way to buy or sell a property for individuals banks and receivers. Buying at auction can be an exciting speedy process as the bidding can be tense and you may only have a minute to make up your mind whether to place a further bid and spend a few more thousand on the property. In general if you place the highest bid you have successfully purchased the property.

Buying at auction is different to buying through the estate agent.  Purchasing through an estate agent can be long drawn out, nerve wracking and time consuming process with potential pitfalls.  The bidding process can go on for weeks.  There can be considerable delays between the time you place a bid and finding out whether your bid was successful, that can be a stressful time for a buyer.  There is always the fear that a higher bid will be placed on the property.  The benefit of an auction is you can look around the room and know who is bidding against you, there is no delay with the sale.  Prior to the auction there is a number of arrangements you should put in place as outlined below:


After you have found the property you are interested in buying get a detailed catalogue from the estate agent.  This will also tell you the building energy rating of the property.  A viewing of the property of the property should be arranged through the estate agent.  It is important to engage the services of an engineer to carry out a structural survey of the property before the auction as the principle of “caveat emptor “applies to the purchase of a secondhand house ie. Buyer Beware”.  An engineer can identify defects that would not be obvious to an untrained eye for instance if there is non visual problems like dry rot .  A building structural survey will look at the general state and condition of the property and will outline a list of works that needs to be carried out to the property and will advise on whether the property is structurally sound .  If you discover a structural problem with the property after you have signed the contract you have no recourse from the auctioneer or the vendor.  It is advisable to get a title map of the property from the estate agent so  the engineer can check the title map to make sure the property on the ground corresponds with the title map and that your boundaries are correct as this is one of the most important things to ensure before proceeding with any purchase.  The engineer can also advise you on the BER rating and advise on any potential works that need to be carried out to improving the rating.   It is also important to carry out a planning search in the Local Authority  to ascertain if there is any major developments planned for the area, to ascertain whether the property is a  protected structure etc. The engineer should also check all planning issues are In order and ensure the house has full compliance with the planning legislation and building regulations. The property is not sold “ Subject to Survey”.


Prior to the auction make sure you know your budget and stick to it.  What can I afford.  You should find out from the estate agent the guide price of the property and compare this price to other properties sold in the area recently.  Do as much research on the property as you can.  If you are successful at auction you have to pay over a 10% of the purchase price on the day and also make sure you have mortgage approval for the balance sale proceeds.  Be aware also that you will have the costs of solicitors fees, stamp duty which is 1% on residential property and 6% on non residential property, property registration fees, engineers fees, insurance premium from the contract stage.  Even if you do not buy at auction you will still have the solicitors fees for reviewing the contract and title deeds and also the engineers survey report fees.  It is also necessary to have your finances in order.  Once the hammer falls you are legally obligated to process and complete the purchase.  Therefore if you bid and it is accepted then you have to enter into a legally binding contract.  Therefore you have to be mortgaged prior to the auction.  Be aware that if you cannot fulfill the terms of the contract because you were not granted mortgage approval you could lose your entire deposit and the vendor could pursue you for the balance sale proceeds. It is important to note that a property at auction is not sold “Subject to Loan Approval”.


Prior to the auction engage a solicitor to look at the contract for sale in particular the special conditions attaching to the contract and all title documents.  The title can tell you whether there is a right of way on the property, any issues with access and services, whether any extension was build without planning permission and what contents are included in the sale.  The contract will also advise you of the closing date. The solicitor will be in a position to advise on whether you could get a mortgage based on the title as furnished.  The solicitor can raise the necessary pre-contract enquiries with the vendor’s solicitors. The solicitor can advise you on whether there is a good marketable title.  The solicitor can attend at the auction on your behalf being armed with your instructions on the maximum amount to bid for the property.  The solicitor can fully advise you on all conditions both general and special attaching to the contract and can assist you with completing the purchase if you are the successful bidder.


It is important to have the following documents with you if you intend to buy at auction and are successful

  • 10% deposit, ie 10%  of the total purchase price
  • Money laundering documents, proof of ID and a utility bill that is not more than six months old with proof of address.
  • Details of your solicitors

Carter Anhold & Co. can help assist and advis on all aspects of buying a house at auction.
Should you have any queries, or require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us on 071 916 2211 or