Buying a Property at Auction

Click here to download more information and further details about bidding by telephone or proxy

Property auctions offer a number of advantages for both buyer and seller. The main advantage is that much of the anxiety and delay associated with buying and selling a property is removed, as the date of both the auction and completion of the sale are fixed and on the fall of the auctioneer’s gavel, both the buyer and the seller are contractually bound to the sale.

Buying at auction often provides an opportunity for a potential bargain as properties are usually offered at auction at a competitive ‘reserve price’, the lowest price a vendor will accept. Often this is less than it might be on the open market especially if the property is in need of renovation or if the vendor needs a quick sale.

In legal terms buying at auction is exactly the same as buying through private treaty. However the process is entirely different.

Properties for sale by auction are published in the catalogue which is available approximately 4 weeks before the auction. Details of all the properties can be viewed on our website.

FSS holds regular property auctions in Harrogate. North Yorkshire, which are open to the general public. 

Why not download the catalogue from our website Please see our Guide to Buying Property at Auction section below for additional information or if you have a property to sell see Selling your Property at Auction. You can also view our video on Buying and Selling Property at Auction.

We would be delighted to provide advice on buying at auction or help you with specific queries. Please contact Richard Smailes on 01423 534193 or Email .

Guide to Buying at Auction

What does the catalogue tell me?

The catalogue provides a description of the property, the guide price and contact details should you wish to view the property. The catalogue also sets out the Common Auction Conditions which govern sale by auction. It is important you read these conditions before buying at auction.

What does the guide price mean?

Guide prices or guide ranges are not necessarily figures at which the property will sell they are only intended to be an indication. The sales prices achieved at auction may be higher or lower. The guide price list will be updated throughout the auction process so please ensure you have an updated list.

What is the Addendum?

The Addendum must always be read in connection with the catalogue as it details both revisions and additional information to that contained in the catalogue. The Addendum is constantly updated and you must ensure you have an updated copy prior to bidding on any lot.

Should I inspect the property?

It is advisable to research the property and inspect it before you bid, if you are intending to buy. You can view by contacting the auction house; block viewing dates are pre-set and can be booked. At this point you should also view the property’s legal pack, which carries all the information you need about the property apart from a valuation or survey.

Do I need a survey by my lender?

This can be a difficult decision if you are unsure whether you are buying or not. If you are the successful bidder, a survey will give you a clear idea of how much you might need to spend on the property once it is yours. If you decide you require a survey it is important that this takes place as soon as possible in order to meet the auction timescales. A valuation carried out by a lender is only required should you need a mortgage. This and any other financial advice or arrangements must be organised before the auction day.

What is a reserve price?

Most properties entered into the auction have a reserve price, the lowest price the vendor will accept. This is agreed between the vendor and the auctioneer and is not disclosed to any interested parties. The reserve price is different to the guide price which is intended to be an indication and actual price achieved at auction may be higher or lower.

What is the Addendum?

The Addendum must always be read in connection with the catalogue as it details both revisions and additional information to that contained in the catalogue. The Addendum is constantly updated and you must ensure you have an updated copy prior to bidding on any lot.

What do I have to pay on the day?

It is important that you have all finances ready for the day of the auction. Should you be the successful bidder, a 10% deposit will be required. (10% of your intended maximum bid or of the guide price) We will accept a Bankers Draft cheque with a UK branch. Cash or credit cards will not be accepted as a deposit. The balance plus VAT if applicable will be due on completion. Cheques for your deposit are to be made payable to FSS LLP.

Each purchaser will be required to furnish the auctioneers assistant with the 10% deposit cheque immediately after the property has been knocked down to him or her. A separate deposit cheque will be required to each lot purchased.

Each successful buyer will be required to pay to FSS a Buyers Administration Fee of £500 (including VAT) on exchange of contracts for each lot purchased.

Please note properties are not sold 'subject to contract', 'subject to finance' or 'subject to survey' when you buy at auction they are SOLD unconditionally. If you are the successful bidder you are obliged to complete the sale.

Do I need a solicitor in attendance?

No. It is wise to notify your solicitor of the auction and show him the auction brochure along with any other information about the property you are interested in. Your solicitor may obtain the legal documentation on your behalf. All the necessary legal documentation may be inspected at the venue, from 2 pm on the day of the auction.

Should I insure the property and when do I gain access?

You will be responsible for insuring the property from completion of the purchase. It is wise to make arrangements in advance, however, you will not be entitled to keys or access until the sale is completed.

What do I need to bring with me on the auction day?

Firstly, remember to call the auctioneers office on the morning of the auction to see if the property you wish to bid on has not been withdrawn or sold prior. You will need to bring your solicitors full name, address, telephone number and contact name.

Your 10% bankers draft deposit cheque (10% of your intended maximum bid or of the guide price) and two forms of identification, one photographic, such as a passport or driving license and one showing your address such as a recent utility bill.

Can I buy a property prior to auction?

In some cases vendors will consider offers made before the auction day. If you would like to make an offer please contact the auctioneers to discuss the situation regarding the particular property.

Your offer must be unconditional and you will have to be in a position to exchange contracts and pay your deposit before the auction day.

Bidding by Telephone or Proxy

Are you interested in bidding by telephone or proxy?

For further information, please contact Richard Smailes on 01423 534193 or Email: or Simon Croft on 01423 534184 or email:

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