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Auction FAQ

Q: What types of property does Strettons sell by auction?

A: We sell a variety of property including residential and commercial premises, sites and investment opportunities. We've even sold an island!


Q: Do your auctions only cover London properties?

A: Although our catalogue frequently shows properties within London, our auctions cover the whole of the UK and other parts of Europe. Marketing an auction property with us will give your lots nationwide marketing coverage.  


Q: Do I need an auction catalogue?

A: An online catalogue with descriptions and photos of our lots is available online here. As there may be some changes, it is important that you check online for updates.  


Q: Do you make guide prices available?

A: Yes, the guide prices are available in our online and offline catalogues. They represent the range within which the lot is available at the time of printing and may change during the pre-auction marketing period. Therefore we update them on our site each working day leading up to the auction. To confirm the latest figure, feel free to call our auction office on 020 7637 4000.


Q: Can I view the properties?

A: Certainly where access is possible we usually organise some pre-arranged viewings details of which are posted online or printed in the catalogue. Alternatively, call the office on 0207 637 4000, and we will try and accommodate you.


Q: Do I need to have a mortgage arranged before bidding?

A: If you require a mortgage or other form of a loan to finance your purchase it is sensible that you have made arrangements before you bid.  There are various lending sources, possibly including your bank, but they need to be able to respond to the swift timescales of an auction. We have links with various lenders who might be able to help you.


Q: When do I instruct my solicitor?

A: Our advice is to speak with your solicitor as soon as you decide you want to bid on a property. Much of the legal information is freely available online can click the ‘View Legal Documents’ link at the bottom of each property description. There is also a solicitor available in the auction room who can guide you but to ask detailed questions on the day of the auction may be too late!


Q: Can I have a structural survey done of any property prior to the auction?

A: If you require a survey your surveyor can contact us to arrange access.


Q: When do I need my deposit?

A: If you make a successful bid, you must provide the auctioneers with a contractual deposit of 10% of the purchase price (minimum deposit £3,000). This is normally in the form of a bank or building society draft or personal (but not a business) debit card. Drafts must be payable to 'Strettons'. Pre-written drafts should be made out for 10% of your likely maximum bid (minimum £3,000) plus £995 Buyers Administration Fee (or £595 for transactions of less than £10,000) including VAT. If you succeed in buying the property for less than this, Strettons will issue you a cheque to refund you. If the pre-written draft is less than the required deposit, we normally accept a personal cheque for the balance. The cheque may reach your bank the next day, so ensure you have sufficient cleared funds.


Q: Could there be any late changes?

A: Sometimes there are late amendments to lots which appear online as they occur. If you have registered to download legal documents from our website, our system will keep you automatically updated of any changes by email, provided such information is received by us in sufficient time on the last working day before the sale.

However, changes even occur on the auction day. Late alterations to the catalogue are normally printed on an ‘Amendments Sheet’, found as you enter the auction room. You should also ask at the legal enquiries desk at the sale and listen for announcements. If your lot is amended on the day, the auction team is available in the legal room (close to the auction room) to help you. The legal room contains all relevant legal documentation.


Q: Can lots be sold prior to the sale?

A: Occasionally auction lots are sold or withdrawn prior to the sale. Check with us on the working day before the sale to make sure your particular lot is still going to be offered.


Q: What order are lots offered in?

A: Lots are normally offered in the order they appear in the catalogue, but the auctioneer will announce when late entries are offered.


Q: Do I have to be at the sale from the start?

A: We recommend that you come to the start of the auction so that you can listen to the auctioneer's opening announcements.


Q: How do I bid?

A: When your lot is announced and the auctioneer invites bids, make your interest known by calling out, raising your catalogue or your hand in the air, or by any other appropriate means. The auctioneer will give you notice of the intending fall of the hammer - usually by saying: 'Going for the first time… Going for the second time… Sold'. Bid at any time before you hear the word 'sold'.


Q: What if I cannot be there in person to bid?

A: Always try to be at the sale yourself or have someone you trust there to bid on your behalf. If this isn't possible you can bid live over the Internet, by phone or have a member of our staff make proxy bids for you. Whichever route you choose you must pre-register and we must be in possession of your deposit three working days before the sale. Download a proxy bidding form here.


Q: What happens if my bid is successful?

A: Contracts are exchanged as soon as the gavel has fallen. If you're the successful bidder:

    1. A member of our auction team will come to you with a form to collect your contact details (and those of your company if bidding on its behalf), together with the details of your solicitors.
    2. You’ll also be asked to provide some ID (e.g. driving licence, passport, utility bills, and bank statements).
    3. Next, you’ll need to provide a 10% deposit [back to deposit question]. If you're unable to do this, the auctioneer has the right to re-offer the lot. If the property then sells for a lower figure the seller may claim any losses from you.
    4. When the paperwork is complete and the deposit accepted you'll be given a 'purchaser slip'.
    5. The auction clerk will take your deposit and forms to the contracts desk at the front of the room.
    6. Wait five minutes and then go to the contracts' desk and hand over your purchaser slip.
    7. You'll be asked to sign the Auction Memorandum printed.
    8. You'll then be handed a similar document signed by us on behalf of the seller. Give this to your own solicitor as soon as possible.


Q: Are there any other costs on the day?

A: Each successful buyer pays a Buyers Administration Fee of £995 (or £595 for transactions of less than £10,000) including VAT on exchange of contracts for each lot purchased. Strettons will issue a formal VAT invoice on the following working day.


Q: What about insurance?

A: On exchange of contracts you will usually become responsible for the insurance of the property. You must arrange for building insurance to commence immediately. Our own insurance department has a desk at the sale and can arrange immediate cover at a competitive rate. Alternatively, if you are obtaining finance, you may do this by arrangement with your lender.


Q: What if the lot I want is unsold?

A: A few lots may not reach their reserves. If you're interested in one of these, speak to one of the auction team before you leave the room as it may be possible to contact the seller and negotiate a mutually acceptable price.


Q: Any words of caution?

A: If you've done your research and have your finance in place, buying at auction shouldn't be too daunting. If, however, you have any remaining doubts on the day of the auction our advice must be not to bid. Call us beforehand with any questions.  

Occasionally auction lots are sold or withdrawn prior to the sale. Check with us on the working day before the sale to make sure your particular lot is still going to be offered.

Selling a Property at Auction

Selling a Property at Auction

An auction is a transparent, efficient and cost-effective way of selling property.

Property Auction Buyers Guide

Property Auction Buyers Guide

Property auctions are excellent opportunities to buy a house or flat for a reduced price compared to what it would sell for on the market. To help you secure your chosen lot for a superb price, we have written this guide to buying property at auction.