Is buying your first house at auction sensible? In the past, this method of purchasing property always played second fiddle to estate agency services. However, online and in-person auctions are quickly growing in popularity.

In this article, the homebuying + auction specialists at Property Solvers explore the process of buying a house at auction as first time buyers. Can first time buyers buy at auction at all? Is it sensible? Is it possible to get a first-time buyer mortgage for auction property?

Here, we’ll answer these questions and discuss everything you’ll need to bear in mind when researching, viewing and buying your first property at auction.

Can First Time Buyers Buy at Auction?

It’s absolutely possible for you to buy your first home at a property auction. In fact, in some cases, auction properties sell for below their market value – which makes auctions ideal for buyers on a budget.

It’s important to take care, though. Popular properties can become the subject of bidding wars, which can push their price way higher.

Why Should a First Time Buyer Buy Auction Property?

There are some benefits to buying at auction that may make it more attractive than using an estate agent. Here are just a few:

  • Auction sellers tend to be more serious and want to get a deal done;
  • The process is much faster. Buying through an estate agent currently takes a little over 4 months on average with no obstacles. Auction sales usually take 28 days between placing the winning bid and exchanging contracts;
  • If you’ve placed the winning bid and the property has been declared “sold”, the seller can’t drop out. This means you’re in a more secure position than having an offer accepted on a house sold through an estate agent;
  • There is often the chance to purchase a property for lower than its market value;
  • Many properties available at auction require significant maintenance or renovation. In buying a “fixer upper” you can add significant value, which may help you to “climb the ladder” more quickly.

Why Should a First Time Buyer Buy Auction Property?Why Should a First Time Buyer Buy Auction Property?

Challenges of Being a First Time Buyer of Auction Property

While the above all sounds great, remember that both parties are bound to the contract of sale once your bid has been accepted. This means that you will be legally obliged to come up with the funds required within a set timeframe.

You need to be absolutely sure that the property is right for you before you place a bid.


To make sure you are bidding the right amount, a vital first step is to arrange a viewing of the property on which you wish to bid.

This will help you to find any possible structural issues or other problems that may affect its value.

It’s also a very good idea to arrange a survey and valuation. A professional surveyor may be able to pick up on complications that the untrained eye may miss.

After all, some properties go to auction because they would be almost impossible to sell via an estate agent due to their condition – or because of legal problems connected with them.

Legal Assistance

You should also instruct a specialist conveyancing solicitor with experience in auction property. They will assist in the auction process as well as examining the “legal pack” that comes with the property. It is important to ensure that all paperwork is in order and that there are no ongoing legal disputes involving the property.

First Time Mortgage for Auction Property

Once you  have a clear idea of the property’s value and you are confident that the place is right for you, you’ll probably need to consider finance.

As a first time buyer, it’s unlikely that you’ll have the full amount available up front to pay the seller straight away. You will, however, need to provide proof of where those funds will come from. This may come in the form of a “mortgage in principle”.

Not all auction houses welcome mortgage buyers, but the number of those that do is rising. In order to achieve pre-approval for a mortgage, you’ll should get a clear idea of the value of the property. You’ll then need to get in touch with trusted lenders that are willing to approve a mortgage on auction property.

Once you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage, take care to read the small print. If there is any possibility that your finances may fall through, you’ll need to know.

You’ll usually be required to put down a 10% deposit on the day your bid is accepted – so you should have access to at least this amount in advance. After this, you’ll usually have between 15 and 28 days to come up with the rest of the money, depending on the sale agreement.

Stick to Your Budget

When bidding on a property, it can be easy to get excited or to feel as if you’re part of some competition. But remember, you’ll have to pay the full amount of money if you get a bid accepted. If the final amount climbs beyond the estimated value on which you mortgage is based, you’ll have to make up the difference.

Moving Forwards

For a first time buyer, house auctions can be an exciting prospect. However, it’s very important to take care.

Auction properties will not always sell for lower than market value, and there are numerous potential pitfalls that may see you getting into serious legal and financial trouble.

Your first steps should always be as follows:

  • Carefully plan your budget
  • Arrange a viewing of the property
  • Get a survey done
  • Find a conveyancing solicitor experienced in first time buyer auction property sales
  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage
  • Set a firm bid amount and stick to it

If you need any further advice or information regarding the purchase or sale of an auction property, contact Property Solvers today.  We’re open 24/7!