If you don’t have much experience with buying or selling at property auctions, it can be difficult to know what to expect. 

For example, how long do entire auctions and individual lots last? Are there time differences between online and offline auctions? When will you find out about the winning bids (or no bids) and sale agreements? 

In this article, the team at Property Solvers discusses the usual running times for property auctions.  This will help you better understand the process – whether you’re trying to work out how to buy or sell a property at auction.

How Long Does the Entire Property Auction Usually Last?

Much will depend on whether you’re buying or selling property at a more traditional or online auction:

Traditional (‘In the Room’) Auction

The length of a traditional auction generally depends on the number of lots being sold, although most auction houses will apply some kind of limit. This may sit between 1 and 6 hours for the full event.

What’s more, different auctions will move at different speeds. An auction with a steadier pace should get through around 20 lots per hour.  Whilst one that is speedier – something that may be necessitated if it has a larger catalogue to sell – may reach 30 lots per hour.

You should be able to see the results of each auction within a few days of the event. The precise timings will vary between auction houses.

Online Auctions

Online auctions are run differently – with some going on for days.  Similar to many eBay auctions, here at Property Solvers, we open up the bidding 6 days before closing. 

This enables buyers to get have a good shot at bidding and keeps things fair. Although it’s possible to proxy bid at traditional auctions, it also enables a wider pool of buyers to bid on properties.  The growth of overseas auction buyers is a testament to this.

In reality, we usually see a flurry of activity in the last half hour.

Online vs. Traditional Property Auctions

Hybrid Property Auctions

Typically, the auction house will live stream the auction.

The auctioneer will invite bids usually via bidding platform.  The timeframes are similar to ‘in the room’ auctions.

How Long is a Single Auction Property Available to Bid On?

Traditional auction houses divide their catalogues into individual “lots”.

On average, each lot will be available for between five and ten minutes – so it’s important to get your bid in quick if you’re a buyer.

At speedier auctions with more lots, the time can drop to as few as two or three minutes per lot – which can feel like something of a white-knuckle ride to new sellers and bidders.

Online auctions will often provide a wider bidding period.

What Can Make an Auction Move Faster?

Although the times mentioned above are typical of most auction houses, you may sometimes find that the process isn’t quite as fast.

If there is a great deal of competition over a certain property, the ensuing “bidding war” can force the amount of time spent on that particular lot to be extended.

Commercial, land and other unique properties also tend to see protracted bidding activity.

Alternatively, an auction may run even more quickly than expected.

This may be due to the bidders wanting things to end as quickly as possible. Alternatively, it may be because a certain catalogue ends up with a large amount of unsold auction property.

So: what happens if a property doesn’t sell at auction? UK auctioneers tend to move on pretty quickly if no bids are placed within the first minute. In order to drum up interest, the starting bid may be gradually reduced, but this process is unlikely to continue for long.

If a property remains unsold, it may be relisted as part of a separate “mini-event” alongside other leftover lots.

Alternatively, the seller may be able to find a potential buyer with whom they may work out a deal afterwards.

When Should I Turn Up to a Property Auction Near Me?

Once you have decided that you are interested in a particular lot, you need to make sure that you won’t miss it! That’s why it is vitally important to show up early – particularly to a live (in the room) auction.  Here, you’ll also need to allow for the event potentially running slightly faster than predicted. 

Regardless of the auction, you’ll need to register, which will take a little time, and 

Get everything in order well in advance. This may include determining a firm maximum bid, thinking about your tactics, registering and having your bidding number to hand.

The ideal time to show up to an auction is between 30 and 45 minutes prior to the start of the event.  It’s a very good idea to be present for the opening comments.  You don’t want to miss any vital information.

Lots usually run in numerical order from 1 upwards.  If you know the number of the lot, make sure you arrive well in advance of the time the bidding begins.

Of course, as mentioned previously, online auctions function very differently – with many having lots available to bid on 24 hours a day.

As you have seen from the information above, the speed and timings of property auctions tend to fall within certain “ballparks” – but there is certainly the potential for variation. 

In order to get a better understanding, it is best to visit the website of the auction house you intend to visit, as there is likely to be more specific information available there.

Are Online Property Auctions Faster?

Whilst many of the processes are similar to traditional auctions, buying and selling a property online benefits from its ability to embrace the power and efficiencies of the internet.

This means that auctioneers can adjust bidding windows in line with the best sales outcome.  A wider range of bidders can also participate.

Moreover, there are no extensive waiting periods – a common complaint about ‘in the room’ auctions.

Chat with Property Solvers

For more information about buying or selling property, simply get in touch with Property Solvers today. 

We’re experts in quick cash home sales and also run online auction + estate agency platforms.   The team is well-accustomed to listing properties in days.