Skip navigation

Buying Land and Property at Auction in the UK

Our Guide to Buying at Auction

There are many advantages of buying at auction including: speed – from an immediate exchange to completion: no gazumping or gazundering and a great selection of lots competitively priced, some of which may never come to the private treaty market. 

Clive Emson Auctioneers hold eight traditional online auctions each year giving everyone the opportunity to bid on hundreds of lots from the comfort of their home, anywhere in the world.

Each auction can offer a wide variety of land and property, so whether you are looking for your new home, your first or next investment, a new trading location or somewhere to graze your animals auction could be a place to start your search. 

Buying at Auction can be a simple process, but you do need to ensure you have done all your due diligence and taken independent legal advice prior to bidding. We hope the following tips below are useful.  

How to buy a property at auction with Clive Emson

1. View Available Lots

Use our ‘current auction’ tab or lot search to view the auction details which may be of interest to you. You can then click on viewing information; register and download legal documentation as well as register to bid. (Please note that our online bidding platform requires Google Chrome to operate fully). 

2. Create an Account

Creating an account with will allow you access to the legal documentation of any Lots you might be interested in as well as enabling you to arrange viewings. Once logged in to your account you will be able to see any Lots you may have bookmarked and the details of confirmed viewings. If you intend to bid you will need to create an account with our online bidding partner.

3. Arrange a viewing

Information regarding viewings will be displayed on each individual Lot details.

Prospective buyers view all lots entirely at their own risk and neither the auctioneers, joint auctioneers or the sellers take responsibility for any damage or injury, however caused. It is advisable to wear appropriate footwear and clothing as some buildings, particularly those for refurbishment, may have uneven floors or even missing floorboards! Please also bring a torch as the electricity is often not serviceable for safety reasons. 

Vacant Lots - Where we conduct internal viewings, they are ‘block’ viewings at specific times and dates (as applicable). They normally last for around 15/20 minutes, so it is important for you to be punctual as our viewing staff often have tight schedules. Potential buyers arriving late may only have limited viewing time or miss the time slot all together. 

You can either ‘book in’ by calling us or if easier you can ‘book in’ on-line. We will need you to confirm the following information to us:

1. Your full name

2. Address

3. contact number

4. email

Tenanted Lots - Where a property is let, we will endeavour to carry out a walk round video, which will be available to view under each individual lot or via our YouTube channel. Interested parties are asked not to contact Tenants direct and to respect their privacy at all times. 

Once a Lot has been sold there will be a charge of £75, inclusive of VAT, per visit, if we are asked to conduct further viewings for any reason prior to completion.

4. Review Guide Prices vs Reserve

One of the common questions we are asked is “What is the difference between Guide Price and Reserve?” 

Guide Prices are published on the marketing material and provide an indication of each seller’s minimum expectations. They are not necessarily figures which a property will sell for and may change at any time prior to the auction.

Unless stated otherwise, each Lot will be offered subject to a Reserve (a confidential figure prior to the auction, below which the Auctioneer cannot sell the Lot during the Auction). We expect the reserve will be set within the guide price range or no more than 10% above a single figure guide. 

Please check our website regularly in order to stay fully informed with the up-to-date information.

*Plus Fees
Other non-optional fees may be payable by the buyer in addition to the bid price – these should be included in the Special Conditions of Sale or Revised Special Conditions of Sale (as applicable).

6. Review Measurements and Plans

Any measurements quoted are approximate and may have been scaled from architects, Land Registry or Ordnance Survey Plans. Each Lot will be sold in accordance with the Title Documents as the Location Plans shown in the catalogue are for identification purposes only and specifically excluded from the contract. 

Prospective Buyers should make their own site inspections and investigations regarding the accuracy of all measurements given in the catalogue and marketing material, making any necessary pre-contract enquiries prior to bidding.  

7. Consider Pre-Auction Offers

Unless we have been instructed to the contrary by the seller all pre-auction offers above the Guide Price figure will be submitted to the seller for their consideration. The seller may instruct us to consult other parties to see if they also wish to submit a bid.

Offers must be in writing and any offer will be assumed to be your best and final offer. We cannot guarantee that you will be invited to increase your bid in the event of an alternative satisfactory offer being received prior to exchange. 

If your offer is accepted, you must be able to exchange contracts immediately providing the full deposit and Administration Fee, all in accordance with the legal documentation. 

For the avoidance of doubt, the lot will remain available until exchange of contracts has taken place.  

8. Seek Professional Assistance

If you are intending to bid, you are strongly advised to do all that a prudent purchaser would do including taking independent advice on the legal documentation prior to bidding. 

Finance should be arranged before the date of the Auction and any valuation/survey required by your lender should be completed before you bid. 

If you are a successful Buyer, please check the Special Conditions of Sale regarding your responsibility to insure the property. 

Prospective Buyers are required to make all their own investigations to satisfy themselves as to the condition of all Lots and make any necessary pre-contract enquiries prior to bidding. If you are the successful Buyer then the Contract is binding on the fall of the electronic gavel (when the timer reaches zero) 

How to Register and Bid on a property 

1. Register to Bid Online

Select the ‘Online Bidding’ tab on the main Clive Emson Auctioneers ‘home page’.  From here you will see to two boxes, ‘Login’ and ‘Register’ (Please make sure you have accepted ‘Cookies’ as this sometime hides the Register tab).

Alternatively click here to register.

You will be asked for your name, email address, telephone number and to create a password. These will be your new login details for the online bidding element of our website.

Now logged in you will need to go to the tab marked ‘Dashboard’ to complete your registration. When in the dashboard you will see four options on the left-hand side of the page, they are;

  • Profile
  • Identity Verification – Passport or Driving Licence No.
  • Payment Details – Credit/Debit Card
  • Solicitors Details

Once you have completed these four sections, you should see on your ‘Dashboard’ green rings each with a tick. Congratulations you are now registered to bid. Good luck and happy bidding.

2. Verify your identity

When registering to bid online the ID provided is securely stored with the online bidding platform. We are unable to access these ID documents and therefore in addition to the Identity Verification used to register to bid online all successful Buyers will be required to provide the full names and address of the Buyer for Auction Contract purposes, the Bidders details (if these are different from the named Buyer) and the Solicitor/Legal Representative. In compliance with the Money Laundering Act all Buyers are required to provide photographic identification and proof of address. 

Buyers must present the following documents:

  • photographic identity document such as a current passport or UK driving licence and
  • an original utility bill, council tax bill, building society or bank statement or any other form of identity document (with the exception of a mobile phone bill or credit card statement) that has been issued within the last three months and that provides evidence of residency at the correspondence address.

If the Bidder is acting on behalf of another party, they will be required to provide the documents detailed above for both themselves and certified copies for the named Buyers for whom they act, as well as providing a valid letter of authority from the Buyers authorising them to bid on their behalf.  If the bidder is acting on behalf of a company, the above documents will still be required, together with a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation and identification for anyone with a 25% share or more.  

3. Enter Payment Details

At Registration you will be asked to enter credit/debit card details for the payment of the ‘holding deposit’ if you are the successful bidder.

When the timer reaches zero (which indicates the fall of the electronic gavel) the pre-authorised holding deposit of £5,000 will immediately be taken from the credit/debit card supplied when registering to bid online. 

Following your successful bid, you will then be contacted by a member of the Clive Emson team for the balance of the full deposit, which is 10% of the purchase price (If the purchase price is less than £30,000 then a minimum deposit will be payable) together with the appropriate administration fee per lot. 

The balance of the deposit and administration fee is due within 24 hours and is payable by bank transfer. 

An email confirming your purchase along with our Client Account details will be emailed to you following the auction. 

We have a primary duty to our Clients (the Sellers) and reserve the right to immediately re-offer any Lot if the deposit conditions are not strictly adhered to in accordance with our Conditions of Sale. 

4. Pay Administration Fee

An Administration Fee is payable at the same time as the deposit for each Lot purchased. The administration fee will be added to the sale price on the following scaled increments and includes VAT;

Up to £29,999 = £750

£30,000 to £99,999 = £1,250

£100,000 to £249,999 = £1,750

£250,000 to £499,999 = £2,250

£500,000 to £749,999 = £3,500

£750,000 and above = £5,000

Solicitors Details

We will need your solicitors/licenced conveyancers details as these will be added to the Memorandum of Sale (Part of the auction contract of sale)

On Auction Day


Log back in when the Lots go ‘live’ and you will see the bidding box. The bidding box will show you the countdown timer, current bid and whether the reserve has been met.

Proxy Bidding

Don’t forget we’ve introduced automatic maximum bids to give you a smoother auction experience. You can now enter a maximum amount that you’re willing to bid on a property – automatic bids will then be placed incrementally so that you’re the highest bidder – up until your maximum limit.  Proxy bids can only be placed once bidding has gone live.

What happens if someone else places the same maximum bid as me?

In the case where two or more people have placed their maximum bids for the same amount, the earliest bid placed will have priority and will be regarded as the highest bidder.

I’ve placed my bid, why have I been outbid immediately?

If your bid is immediately outbid, it means that another bidder has a higher maximum bid set up. You will need to increase your maximum bid if you wish to win the auction.

Can the Agent or Bamboo see a buyer’s maximum proxy?

No. Your maximum bid is strictly confidential to maintain the integrity of the auction.

Is there a reminder of what my maximum bid is?

Yes. If you are bidding on the main online auction website, you will see your maximum bid on the banner at the top of your screen. If you are bidding, using the bid button, you will see your maximum bid below the current bid.

You will also receive an email confirming your maximum bid amount.

Proxy bids can only be placed once bidding has gone live.

Auction Contracts

Entering a binding contract - On the fall of the electronic gavel the highest Bidder at or above the reserve is contracted to buy. The £5,000 Holding Deposit is taken immediately following the successful purchase.  You will then be contacted by a member of the Clive Emson team for the balance of the full deposit, which is 10% of the purchase price (If the purchase price is less than £30,000 then a minimum deposit will be payable) together with the appropriate administration fee per lot.

The auction contract including the signed Memorandum of Sale (which formalises in writing your purchase) will be sent to the sellers solicitors and a duplicate sent to you and your Solicitor or Legal Representative. You should also insure the property, if appropriate.

Completion – the standard completion is 20 business days after exchange, but this may be varied in the individual Special Conditions of Sale, available prior to bidding and part of the legal documentation. 

The Auctioneer is legally authorised to sign the Sale Memorandum on behalf of both the Buyer and Seller. We reserve the right to immediately re-offer the Lot if the deposit conditions are not strictly adhered to in accordance with our Conditions of Sale.

After the Auction

Unsold Auction Property Lots - Still Available

Sometimes a lot may not sell. It could be for a variety of reasons, but you should still be able to view the auction details and download the legal documentation for the unsold auction property Lots from our website. Under each lot it should state the minimum price that Lots may be available. 

Post auction offers will be submitted on the basis of:

  • An immediate exchange of Auction Contracts.
  • It is your best and final offer.
  • You have read the legal documentation and made all your enquiries and taken independent legal advice.
  • Acceptance by the Seller.
  • Until an exchange of contract we are duty bound to submit further offers for the sellers consideration.

To make an offer on an unsold Lot please give us a call.


Good luck on the day and we hope you are successful. 

If you are unsure of any aspect of the registering to bid or bidding/buying process, then please don’t hesitate to call – we will be delighted to assist.  

Our Accreditations and Associates

  • The Property Ombudsman
  • Wight Agents
  • NAVA
  • NAEA
  • RICS
  • Prime Location
  • Zoopla
  • PropList
  • OnTheMarket

© Clive Emson Land & Property Auctioneers. All rights reserved.

Registered office: Rostrum House, Rocky Hill, London Road, Maidstone, Kent, England. ME16 8PY.

Registered company: 02399687, Regional Property Services Ltd.  0345 8500333

Back to Top