Property auction conveyancing.

Property auction illustration

Succeeding at property auctions requires expert legal guidance for both buyers and sellers, to avoid legal and other pitfalls. Instructing a solicitor specialising in auction conveyancing is critical for preparing and reviewing key documents, and handling the accelerated timeline for completing the legal work.

For buyers, this means conducting thorough due diligence before placing a bid, and for sellers, it involves compiling a comprehensive legal pack and ensuring compliance with all legal requirements.

Instructing a solicitor as early as possible in the process can streamline the auction process, mitigate risks, and ensure the overall success of the transaction.

Types of property auction

Traditional auctions

A traditional auction, sometimes referred to as a standard auction, is where a buyer pays a 10% deposit and exchanges contracts as soon as the gavel falls. Buyers are then committed to complete, usually within 28 days of the successful bid.

Modern auctions

With a modern auction, buyers pay a reservation fee of around 5% when their winning bid is accepted. The buyer must then exchange contracts 28 days later, and must complete 28 days after that (56 days on total).

Auction types compared:

StageTraditional AuctionModern Auction
Winning bid accepted

Non-refundable 10% deposit is paid.

Any other auction costs are paid.

Non-refundable reservation fee (around 5%) is paid

Exchange of contractsContracts exchanged immediately on winning bidContracts exchanged 28 days after winning bid
CompletionCompletion must happen within 28 days of the winning bidCompletion must happen within 28 days of exchange of contracts.

Conveyancing for property auction buyers

Before the auction

When buying at auction, you will need to carryout all of the legal due diligence n the property before you bid. This means reviewing all of the legal documentation before the auction.

A property auction legal pack (sometimes called an ‘auction pack’) is a compilation of documents that is compiled by the seller's solicitor and made available by the auctioneer in advance of the auction.

The pack provides essential information about the property being auctioned, allowing prospective bidders to carry out due diligence on the property before bidding.

If you have the legal expertise to review the technical legal documentation contained in an auction pack, you could review the pack yourself.

Solicitors are trained to spot critical legal nuances that can easily go unnoticed. Sometimes it is as much about what's not included in a pack as what is. Solicitors are trained in the technical concepts of these documents, helping them uncover hidden clauses or obligations.

Buying at auction is not for the unwary. By identifying potential pitfalls, a solicitor can save you from unforeseen expenses or headaches down the road. Reviewing the pack on your own might seem cost-effective, a solicitor's assistance can prevent costly mistakes, offering you both clarity and peace of mind.

See also:

Read more about property auction legal packs

Get a quote for a property auction legal pack review

If you win the auction

If you win the auction, your solicitor will need to act swiftly to meet the above deadlines, which will be specified in the auctioneer’s conditions of sale.

Your solicitor will receive the sales details from the auctioneers, exchange contracts, draft and submit the transfer deed, raise enquiries with the seller’s solicitor, carry out pre-completion searches, complete the mortgage formalities (if applicable), transfer the funds to the seller’s solicitor, and complete the transaction.

After completion, you'll receive the keys and the property is yours. Your solicitor will need to complete the mortgage formalities (if applicable), transfer the remaining funds to the seller and pay the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), and register you as the new owner at HM Land Registry.

It is critical that you instruct a solicitor ahead of the auction. Delaying this until after the auction could seriously impact you and your solicitors ability to complete the purchase within the 28 day timeframe.

Working with a solicitor who offers a no sale, no fee auction conveyancing service means you can instruct a solicitor ahead of the auction, and incur no legal fees if your bid is not successful.

See also:

Get a no sale, no fee auction conveyancing quote

Buying a home at auction - What do I need to know?

Buying at property at auction - the process explained

Financing your auction purchase

You must have the funding required in place before you agree to the purchase. If you need a mortgage, you can get a decision in principle from your lender. Not all lenders offer mortgages on auction properties, and some offer special auction finance products.

If you're bidding at a standard auction, make sure you will have immediate access to the deposit (usually 10%) if you're the winning bidder. At a modern auction, you will need to pay the 5% reservation fee.

There may be other fees to pay to the auctioneer when you make the winning bid.

Confirm that your solicitor can act for your lender

If you are buying with the help of a mortgage, your solicitor must also complete the legal work for the bank.

If your property lawyer isn't a member of your chosen lender's panel, the solicitor would have to outsource this work to another solicitor, resulting in potential delays.

Over 100 banks and building societies have approved our chosen panel solicitors, so we can help you complete your auction purchase without delay.

Find out if our panel solicitors can act for your mortgage lender

Conveyancing for property auction sellers

Before the auction

The conveyancing process for auction sellers starts with the preparation of an auction legal pack by a conveyancing solicitor. This critical pack includes essential legal documents such as the title deeds, sale contract, property searches, and property information forms, made accessible to potential buyers before the auction.

This step ensures enables potential buyers to carry out their due diligence on the property and make an informed decision before bidding.

After the auction

If your property sells on the auction day, an immediate exchange of contracts, forming a legally binding agreement between the seller and the buyer.

The seller's solicitor then oversees the completion of the sale, typically within 28 days, managing tasks such as redeeming any outstanding mortgages and overseeing the property's transfer to the new owner, ensuring all legal and financial conditions are met.

Throughout this process, the solicitor serves as the primary communication link among all involved parties, facilitating a smooth transaction within the agreed timeframe.

See also

Selling at property at auction - the process explained

Preparation of legal pack

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Article by Completely Moved authors

The Completely Moved team have years of experience helping home buyers, sellers and owners, answering questions and providing property advice.

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