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How long does it take to sell a house at auction?

Sam Kinloch

Property auctions are fast and efficient, and from the moment the digital gavel falls, signified by the auction timer running down to zero, it can take as little as 20 working days for the transaction to complete and for the funds to be transferred to the seller - that’s great news for both sellers and buyers!

Sellers typically find that the entire process, from contacting an auctioneer until completion, takes around seven to eight weeks in total. However, if necessary viewings and marketing can be expedited should there be the need.

Are you looking for a quick sale? If you’re looking to sell a property via auction and complete within 20 days, get a free appraisal here and find out how much your property is likely to sell for. 

How long does a house auction take in the UK? How long to complete after auction

Why is selling via auction so fast?

By their very nature, auctions allow for faster sales. We’ve listed the factors that allow for a speedy property auction sale.

  1. There is a defined timeline: When a property is listed for auction, there is a set date for the auction event. This creates a sense of urgency among potential buyers, as they know they have a specific deadline to submit their bids. For example, we list our auction dates here so that all of our buyers know when the property they’re interested in will be listed.
  2. A deposit is paid immediately: Congratulations, you’ve received a bid at or above your reserve price when the auction timer reaches zero. This means that the successful buyer is required to pay a deposit immediately after winning the bid. In fact, it means that you’ve ‘exchanged contracts.’ This immediate payment demonstrates the buyer's commitment and speeds up the transaction process.
  3. Fixed completion period: After a successful auction, there is a predetermined timeframe, typically around 20 working days, for the buyer to complete the purchase. If the sale goes beyond this timeframe, there could be costly sanctions for the buyer - so it's in everyone's best interest that the transaction is completed in this time frame.
  4. Elimination of lengthy negotiation periods: In a private treaty sale, negotiations between the buyer and seller can sometimes prolong the process, especially if there are multiple counteroffers and price discussions. You’ll find that an auction eliminates the need for prolonged negotiations as the bidding process determines the final price on the day.
  5. Serious and committed buyers: Auctions attract buyers who are serious and ready to make a purchase. These buyers are often well-prepared (potentially cash buyers), financially qualified (have mortgage arrangements already in place), and motivated to secure the property. Their level of commitment contributes to a faster sale process.
  6. Competitive bidding: Auctions create a competitive environment where interested buyers bid against each other, driving up the price. The competitive nature of auctions can result in a higher sale price than what might be achieved through private treaty negotiations. The sense of competition and urgency encourages buyers to act quickly, accelerating the sale process.

Related reading: Why do houses go to auction? 

Remember, while auction properties tend to sell more quickly, there are still factors that can influence the overall timeframe, such as the complexity of legal processes, property inspections, and financing arrangements.

Are you looking for a quick sale? If you’re looking to sell a property via auction and complete within 20 days, get a free appraisal here and find out how much your property is likely to sell for. 

Who benefits from a faster sale?

The speed of an auction property sale benefits those in the following situations:

  1. Sellers that need to sell - fast!: If a seller needs to sell their property promptly due to financial constraints, relocation, or other personal circumstances, an auction can provide a faster solution. The defined timeline and fixed completion period of an auction can help sellers achieve a speedy transaction.
  2. Properties which require obvious updating or renovation which may not have the appeal to the ‘general’ market. Auctions will attract buyers looking for properties to which they can add value - be that by renovation, adding an extension or in some cases complete redevelopment.
  3. Properties with unique features: Properties that possess unique or distinctive characteristics, such as historic homes, unusual designs, or rare amenities, can generate significant interest among buyers. Auctions can attract buyers specifically interested in unique properties, increasing the chances of a quick sale at a favourable price.
  4. Properties with high demand: In areas where there is high demand for properties, such as desirable neighbourhoods or regions experiencing a housing shortage, an auction can capitalise on the competitive market. The urgency created by the auction process can drive up prices and expedite the sale of properties in high-demand areas.
  5. Properties with uncertain market value: Some properties may be challenging to value accurately due to their uniqueness, lack of comparable sales, or potential for significant improvements. In such cases, an auction can allow the market to determine the property's value through competitive bidding. This can be beneficial for sellers who are uncertain about setting a fixed listing price and want to maximise their sale price.
  6. Distressed properties or probate sales: Properties facing foreclosure, bank repossessions, or probate sales often require quick resolution. Auctions can be an efficient method for selling distressed properties, allowing sellers to expedite the sale and avoid prolonged legal processes.
  7. Properties with motivated buyers: If there is a specific group of motivated buyers interested in the property, such as investors or developers, an auction can efficiently bring them together in a competitive bidding environment. This can lead to a fast sale and potentially higher prices.

For more information, read our guide on selling a property quickly here. Are you looking for a quick sale? If you’re looking to sell a property via auction and complete within 20 days, get a free appraisal here.

About the Author

Sam Kinloch

Sam Kinloch

Director & Senior Auction Appraiser

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.

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