Why Buy Property in an Online Auction?

Why Buy Property in an Online Auction?
Mar 16 , 2021

  • Since the start of the pandemic, property auctions have been going online

  • The quick exchanges they offer are luring buyers keen to avoid stamp duty

  • Buying at auction is not for everyone and there are plenty of risks involved

For anyone who has been to a property auction - or perhaps just tuned in to an episode of Homes Under the Hammer - they are usually associated with a bustling ballroom full of buyers intermittently throwing paddles up in the air, all orchestrated by a wildly gesticulating auctioneer.

Like any group gathering, Covid has put paid to that - so for the last year, budding buyers have been driven online in search of a property bargain instead.

Buying at auction isn't for everyone, especially novices - the properties on offer are usually 'projects', and you do need to have a degree of property know-how, willingness to take on risk and access to quick cash.

However, times have changed and now Auctions are offering all types of property for sale such as residential homes that don’t require work, tenanted property, development land etc.

With traditional auctions you effectively exchange contracts when the gavel comes down and complete within 28 days, it can be a good option if you are looking to buy a property quickly and without a chain. Opal Auctions work slightly different and offer the Modern Method of Auction (MMA) which works exactly like eBay, offering property for sale for a 4-week period where offers can be submitted prior to a 5-day 24/7 online bidding auction. Once you are the winning bidder you have a further 28 days to exchange contracts, so this opens the market for all buyers to more lenders, so you don’t just have to be a cash buyer.

For this reason, among others, the popularity of auctions has spiked since the start of the year.


What is it like taking part in an online auction - and what do you need to know before you bid?

Although there were a handful of online auctioneers before Covid, the industry has exploded in the past year, with all traditional ballroom auctioneers forced to get up to speed - and fast.

While traditional auctions are held every 4-6 weeks and held in a room full of people you can feel pressurised or get carried away with the atmosphere and offer remote bidding either online or via telephone. With Opal Auctions we are 24/7, no need to wait 4-6 weeks and you feel relaxed in the comfort of your own home, simply register online, choose a property of interest and receive notifications each time there is a new bid or person watching the property.

At residential auctions there are usually lots of buy-to-let properties, homes being sold out of receivership, renovation projects ranging from the slightly dated to the totally dilapidated, and plots of land with or without planning permission.

However, in recent years it has become more common for private sellers to put their homes up for auction too.

Each property has a guide price, which is an estimate for how much it might sell for. Bids usually start slightly below this price and work up.

The advantage with a property for sale in auction is you can download the legal pack prior which details any special conditions associated with the sale. Once the gavel comes down on a property, the buyer is committed - so it is essential that buyers have done their due diligence on anything they are interested in and taken any relevant legal or financial advice and carried out a viewing.

How do I prepare to make a bid?

At real-world auctions, buyers could simply turn up on the day with ID and be able to bid.

Online, though, the process is a bit more involved. You will have to register with us ahead of time and submit your ID documents so that anti-money-laundering checks can be carried out. A soft hold of £5,000 is taken from your credit/debit card and is only utilised if you are the winning bidder, if you don’t win then the hold is released.

How can I pay for an auction property?

As we offer a longer exchange and completion date, you don’t have to be a cash buyer and have more opportunities to look at different lenders. Bridging finance is one option and a second option is to get a mortgage, but there are fewer options available to you than if you were buying a home on the open market.

So, if you are looking for a stress-free purchase where you can enjoy a cup of tea while sitting on your sofa, Opal Auctions 24/7 online auction sales run faster, with a quicker bidding process and offer a further 28 days to exchange contracts and get your finances in order.

If you are looking to purchase property and would like further advice of buying in our 24/7 online auction please contact us on +44 (0) 203 355 8785 or [email protected]