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Buying Property & Land at Auction: Your Questions Answered

A solicitor and a buyer sit at a desk surrounded by auction-related paraphernalia such as a gavel, a model house, and a justice statueEach campaign, we have hundreds visit our auctions online, all looking for the perfect piece of land or property to snap up. If you’d like to try your hand at buying property (or land) at an auction, but don’t know how, we’re here to help.

With over 30 years of experience as auctioneers, we know the auction process inside and out. So, we decided to put together a list of commonly-asked questions about the buying aspect to make it easier for you. Read through the questions and answers below for all you’ll need to know.

Do I need to register to bid? How?

If you’re looking to buy property and land at auction, you will need to register to bid before the auction starts. Registering to bid is a very straightforward process that takes no more than 10 minutes and can be carried out on our website.  

To register to bid, simply head to our Online Auctions page and click the ‘Register’ button. This button will take you to a form where you'll be required to input the following:

  • Your name
  • Your address 
  • Your solicitor’s details
  • Your credit/debit card details (for the £5,000 holding deposit taken if you are successful when bidding)
  • Driving licence / passport details (for identification purposes)
You will also need to make a password, allowing you to log in. Find more information about the registration process here.

Do I need to provide an ID to bid?



As stated above, it is essential that you fill in the bidding registration forms correctly, during which process, ID verification is required. This can take the form of a valid passport or driving licence in compliance with the Money Laundering Act.

The details on these documents should also match the address, name, and contact details you provide us with. 

When registering to bid online, the ID provided is securely stored with Bamboo Auctions (the third-party provider of our 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 name and address of the buyer for auction contract purposes
  • The bidder’s details (if these are different from the named buyer)
  • And the solicitor/legal representative
When buying a Lot, buyers must also present 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.

A buyer celebrates online auction success

How do I place a bid?

Once you’re registered, if you see a property or piece of land that takes your fancy, you’ll want to bid. But how?

Bidding is actually very simple thanks to our online bidding platform. Under the Online Auction page (same as above), you will see a bidding box when Lots go live — this is where you can bid while the auction is in progress.

Helpfully, this bidding box has multiple features to help make the process as smooth as possible, including:

  • A countdown timer showing how long is left until the end of bidding for that particular Lot. This countdown timer is started when bidding commences. The clock will count down to the auction finish time. If you are the highest bidder above the reserve price when the timer reaches zero, then you are the purchaser. When the timer reaches zero, this denotes the fall of the electronic gavel. If a bid is placed within 5 minutes of the end of the auction, the tier adds on 5 minutes, giving you more time to consider. 
  • The current bid price
  • An indication of whether the reserve price has been met
If you are the highest bidder, you will receive a confirmation on the bidding screen (and via email). You’ll also be alerted if you have been outbid

While an online auction is taking place, it is good to get into the habit of refreshing this bidding page to make sure you are seeing the bids develop in real-time and avoid any internet-outage-related issues.

Can I make a pre-auction offer?

If you have viewed a lot before the auction begins, it is possible in most cases for you to make an offer.  However, you will need to have read through the legal documentation (also known as the ‘legal pack’) accompanying the Lot first. 

If you want to make a pre-auction offer on a Lot, this must be done in writing. If this offer is accepted, the contracts will need to be exchanged immediately (just like if you were bidding at auction) with a 10% deposit. 

It is usually the case that the Lot you are making an offer on will not be removed from the auction catalogue until this exchange of contracts has taken place.

A buyer and a solicitor working together on the exchange of contracts

Can I proxy bid?

It is possible for you to proxy bid, but only once bidding has gone live. 

There is also a feature to enter the maximum amount that you are willing to bid on a Lot and let automatic bidding bid for you. These automatic bids will be placed incrementally to make sure that you are the highest bidder, and will continue to place bids until your maximum limit is reached. 

In the rare 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.

How do I know if I am the purchaser?

If you are the highest bidder above the reserve price on the fall of the electronic gavel (signified by the timer reaching zero), then, congratulations, you are the purchaser.  

The £5,000 holding deposit will be taken immediately and you will then be contacted by one of our team with the Sale Memorandum. This will be sent to your solicitor or legal representative, and you should also insure the property, if appropriate. At this point, we also request the remainder of the 10% deposit is paid within 24 hours of the auction closing. 

Completion will normally take place 20 business days after exchange, but this may be varied in the individual Special Conditions of Sale, which are attached to the Sale Memorandum.

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.

Can a buyer change their mind after the exchange?

No, there is no need to worry about buyers changing their minds.

When that (electronic) gavel falls, the highest bidder above the reserve is then contracted to buy the land or property. This means that buyer and seller have entered into a legally binding contract to buy or sell the Lot at the agreed sum. 

Are all properties sold with vacant possession? 

No, not all of our properties are sold with vacant possession. Because we sell such a variety of land and property at auction, some Lots are sold as investments or even for owner occupation or commercial use. 

The property we sell can be vacant, tenanted, or even partly vacant. In order to ascertain the status of a Lot, you can read through the property details, visit the Lot, and download the legal documentation before bidding. 

Buy land and property at auction today 

Now you know how, keep an eye out for our upcoming auctions to see if anything sparks your interest. In the meantime, you can browse our other blog articles for more strategic auction insights or contact our experts with any questions you might have

About the Author

Sam Kinloch

Sam Kinloch

Director & Senior Auction Appraiser
MNAEA MNAVA

Sam’s career in the dizzy world of property auctions began when he hung up his chainsaw and headed in from the forest. Joining the team in 2003 Sam now sits on the Board of Directors and has been instrumental in the adoption of online auction services.
Out of the office you can find him flying around the velodrome or sipping coffee at a local café.


01273 504232

07968 780714

sam@cliveemson.co.uk


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