If you’re planning to bid on an auction property, you’ll probably want to see it “in the flesh” first.

After all, if you end up placing the highest bid, you’ll be legally bound to complete the purchase. For this reason, it’s very important that you understand what you’re letting yourself in for!

So can you view an auction property? Here, the UK’s leading auction specialists Property Solvers answers this question and explains what you should do before, during and after a viewing to make sure you’re well prepared for auction.

Arranging a Viewing of Auction Property

You will almost definitely be able to arrange a viewing of an auction property. In fact, auctioneers highly recommend it.

The process differs slightly between auction houses. Generally, however, auctioneers will usually hold a series of “open house viewings” prior to a lot coming to auction.

Open House Viewings Before Property Auctions

These will be conducted in fixed slots. However, some auction houses offer individual viewings.

You should find information about property viewings on the relevant auction house’s website. If details are not immediately available, you should contact the auction house directly to enquire.

You’ll need to get in touch with the auction house to find out about open house viewings or to arrange an individual viewing at a suitable time. On occasion, there may be no provision made for in-person viewings, but it is definitely worth contacting the auctioneer nonetheless to see what can be done.

As well as a viewing being a vital part of understanding the condition of a property, auction houses sometimes use them to gauge the level of interest. If there is little to no interest, the lot may be withdrawn from the auction.

What to Look For During a Property Auction Viewing

You need to make sure that all of the information in the property’s auction pack is correct, and that there are no issues that have been tactically omitted.

To this end, you should inspect the property carefully when you visit. After all, structural problems and other complications may be very expensive to rectify.

It can be hard to know exactly what you are looking for during a viewing, especially if you’re a first-time buyer looking to participate in an auction. If you aren’t entirely confident, it’s best to attend with someone who has a little more experience.

We recommend you check for the following when viewing an auction property:

  • Damp, particularly rising damp
  • Mould
  • Infestations
  • Subsidence (usually betrayed by a bowing roof, leaning walls, an undulating floor or ill-fitting doors)
  • Problems with guttering
  • Asbestos
  • Damaged roof tiles
  • Newly painted or decorated patches (these may hide cracks, damp or other issues)
  • Plumbing problems
  • Loft insulation age
  • Boiler age
  • Age of wiring
  • Problems with bordering properties or the surrounding area.

Auction Properties Appear on the Market in Various Conditions

While few of the above matters should be considered deal breakers, they should definitely affect the size of bid you are willing to place. After all, fixing problems of this kind may take a good chunk of your budget.

Can You Get a Survey Done on an Auction Property?

It is a very good idea to arrange an auction property survey before committing to a bid. This will enable you to get a more in-depth idea of any issues relating to the property. It should also help you to achieve a better understanding of its value.

Of course, you can try to estimate the value yourself by looking at recent sales in the local area. However, an expert will be able to calculate this more accurately.

A valuation and survey of auction property will be of great help when deciding on your bidding amount. It is also absolutely vital if you plan to take out a mortgage.

You should shop around for a trusted and experienced surveyor to get the property examined in good time before the date of the auction.

Where Possible, It Can Be Possible to Get a RICS Survey Before You Bid at a Property Auction

Should You Instruct a Solicitor Before Viewing an Auction Property?

It isn’t just the building itself that should be carefully investigated prior to placing a bid. Auction properties come with a “legal pack” that potential buyers can look through before deciding whether to bid.

This contains all of the auction terms and conditions, the official purchase contract and any conditions of sale. It is also likely to contain the official Register of Title and title plan, a list of fixtures and fittings and local and environmental search results.

Sellers and their solicitors may also include other relevant documentation at their discretion.

In most cases, the auctioneer will upload all the documentation on their website.  This means you do not need to contact or instruct solicitor at such an early stage.  After all, the property may not be for you and you don’t want to waste anyone’s time.

You Should Only Consult a Solicitor if You Have Any Questions About the Contents of the Legal Pack

We would only suggest examining the auction legal pack after viewing the property and if there’s a genuine interest in buying.

First off, spend the time to check that all necessary information is present, correct and up to date in this pack. You may then want to seek out a highly experienced conveyancing lawyer that specialises in auction property sales.

They will carefully examine the contents of the pack and highlight any potential issues with a ‘legal eye’. If necessary, they will help you to push for further information.

Whatever your circumstances as a buyer, and whatever property you are planning to bid on, arranging a viewing and additional in-depth checks should be a vital part of the auction process.

This will help you to decide on your bid amount and apply for a mortgage if one is required.  Note that most solicitors will charge a fee to check through the auction packs (unless you have a well-established relationship already).

Contact Property Solvers Auctions

For further information about buying and selling auction property, contact Property Solvers Auctions today.   We run both 28 and 56 (modern method) auctions and there’s not much we haven’t seen in this space!