Important considerations if you are sharing a house with your partner. #solicitors #cohabitation #family #lawyers
Do you know where in the world your investments are? #investments #lawyers #cornwall #probate #solicitors
The terms libel, slander and defamation are often used interchangeably in everyday use. But what do these terms ac…
Whilst most powers of attorney appoint family members, there are times when a professional may be a better choice…

Selling your property at auction

Programmes like Homes Under the Hammer have certainly raised the profile of property auctions. Although auctions still only account for two per cent of all property sales, some experts believe this proportion will rise.

In an increasingly stagnant market, selling at auction may appear an attractive choice for sellers. However, if you are thinking about selling your property this way, there are some things you need to be aware of first. Teresa Scoular, a Residential Conveyancer expert with Parnalls Solicitors, looks at the auction process, some of its advantages and disadvantages, and offers some advice.

How auctions work, an outline

An auction house will prepare a catalogue listing all the properties for sale, usually about a month before the auction. This catalogue gives a guide price for each property and will contain standard contractual sale conditions. Each individual property should have a legal pack which would-be buyers can request. This gives details of the seller’s title to the property and other relevant information. These documents set out the basis on which the property will be sold.

At the auction, the auctioneer sets a starting price for a property and then invites would-be buyers to put forward their bids. The starting price is pitched to generate interest and elicit bids, so is usually lower than the auctioneer thinks the property will sell for. The highest bidder wins the property and the moment the auctioneer brings their gavel down a binding contract comes into place. The successful bidder pays a deposit, usually ten per cent, and the balance is to be paid on completion which generally takes place 28 days later.

Advantages of selling your property at auction

If you decide to sell your property at auction, you may find this quicker than a conventional sale through an estate agent. The successful bidder agrees to buy your property as seen, on the basis set out in the auction catalogue and legal pack. There is no scope for protracted negotiations, raising title or other issues, or trying to lower the price because of an unfavourable survey. This gives you more certainty that your sale will proceed than accepting an offer negotiated by an estate agent, which is not legally binding until exchange of contracts. When the auctioneer accepts a final bid, you can be confident that your sale will go ahead and you will receive the proceeds on the completion date.

Disadvantages of selling your property at auction

An auction may not, however, provide all the certainty you are hoping for. For example, you will not know the sale price until bidding has finished. You can protect against an unacceptably low price by setting a reserve, a price below which the auctioneer will not accept a bid. However, this may not be as good a price as you could obtain after a period of extended marketing by an estate agent. There is also the risk that your property will not sell at all, which may make an auction unsuitable if you are relying on the sale proceeds to finance your next purchase.

The cost of selling at auction is also likely to be higher than through an estate agent. In addition to the auctioneer’s sale commission, you will have to pay an entry fee even if your property does not sell. It is also important to check whether there are any additional or supplemental charges, for example if you choose to withdraw your property before the auction or to sell it elsewhere.

Types of property best suited to an auction   

Some properties are better suited to selling at auction than others. Properties in need of improvement, those with structural defects, sitting tenants, title issues, or development potential tend to do well. Auctions often attract a higher proportion of cash buyers, developers and investors who are prepared to compete and this can drive prices up.

Conversely, if you are selling a conventional, well presented house you may achieve a better price through an extended period of marketing by an estate agent. Some people, for example first-time buyers, may be put off by an auction.

Alternatives to selling at auction

If you are looking for a quick sale, an auction is not the only solution. A good local estate agent can suggest different strategies which can also help speed things up. For example, they may ask for best offers or sealed bids. This involves inviting would-be buyers to make their final offers by a certain date. Checking the buyer has funding in place and they can go ahead in your desired timescale can also help ensure your sale runs to plan.

If you are buying a new-build property, talk to the developer. Many house builders will accept your existing property in part exchange, allowing you to move into your new home without even having to sell your old one.

How your solicitor can help you sell your property successfully

Selling a property at auction involves the same underlying conveyancing process as any other sale. However, there are also some crucial differences so you will need a solicitor with experience of auction sales. Time frames are typically short, so it is important to move quickly and your solicitor neds to give your sale close personal attention.

Unlike a conventional sale, any prospective buyer must check the title to your property before making an offer by bidding at the auction. So, ideally, you should find and resolve any title issues well before entering your property into an auction. A well-prepared, clear, and comprehensive legal pack, which deals with any title issues, will make your property more attractive to bidders and will boost your chance of getting the best price possible at auction.

If you involve your solicitor early on, their local knowledge can also help you find the right auctioneer or estate agent. Selling at auction brings its own challenges and may not suit everyone. However, talking issues through with your solicitor can help you make informed choices.

For further information about selling a property at auction, or buying or selling your home, please contact Teresa Scoular, Residential Conveyancer on 01566 772375 or email

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.


Valuing an estate for probate

Do I need a cohabitation agreement?

Have you had an accident involving a horse?

Planning, Construction & Development

Preparing to sell your Launceston property

The Need for Updating Wills

Debt recovery and how we can help

Claiming compensation for a serious road traffic accident

Planning Disputes

Residential Sale and Purchases

Information to gather for your probate solicitor

Accidents, Compensation & Personal Injury

Property Disputes

What type of will do I need?

Had an Accident in Someone's Home?

Ten common debt recovery mistakes

How to choose an executor to administer your estate when you die

The ultimate personal injury and accident claim checklist


Putting your legal affairs in order

Your responsibilities when you have people working in your home

10 reasons to appoint a Personal Injury solicitor

The risks of DIY probate

Does your lawyer progress your accident claim efficiently and provide you with a personal and professional service? Can I change solicitors for my accident claim?

Why you should always use a solicitor to prepare your will

Five problems with a leasehold property

Making a will when you retire

Employment Disputes

Buying your first home with a small deposit

Site assembly for commercial development

Meeting your conveyancing solicitor, what you need to prepare

Landlords’ options for enforcing commercial tenants’ obligations

Untangling Overseas Assets


Do you know the difference between…

When to consider appointing a professional attorney

Should I get a cohabitation agreement?

The Right to Make Noise

Ill-health pension transfer not liable for IHT

Legal Time Limits - why so important?

Would you pay a premium for a south-facing garden?

Video-witnessed wills to be made legal

New Planning Relaxation Is Not the Whole Storey

How to minimise delays in obtaining Grant of Probate

Could you benefit from the Green Homes Grant?

A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM: new electrical safety regulations for residential tenancies

Property of Cornish residents who die without a will goes to Prince Charles

What effect could the new changes to stamp duty have on property sales?

Staying safer in video meetings

Making Sure Your Great New Home Comes With Clean Air

Property Market Re-Opens in England

Coronavirus: Wills and Powers of Attorney FAQ

Medical Care Received Not Up to Scratch?

Accident or Injury Involving a Dog?

Social Distancing No Obstacle for Parnall's Mobile Document Signing Team

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Commercial Property Legal FAQs

Rent Charge Suspensions: Protecting Your Interests

Been Asked to Sign an Employment Settlement Agreement? Seek Advice Urgently...

Services Update: Continuity of Legal Service Provision

Advising You in Uncertain Times

Coronavirus Update

Could carelessness on social media land you in court?

Is an electronic signature on a commercial property document acceptable?

What happens when there is no health & care LPA in place

Social Media Training for Businesses

Gazundering, what it is and how to avoid it

Relief from forfeiture – what happens if the tenant forgets to pay the rent?

Not so safe at work - compensation for an accident at work

New organ donation law: giving you control

Running a business from home

Have nude photos of you or your teenager been posted online?

Landowners’ rights and the Electronic Communications Code

Building in your back garden

Christmas is a time for giving (and inheritance planning)

Buying the freehold of your leasehold house

Redeveloping an empty pub for commercial use

Why it takes time to obtain the Grant of Probate

Social Media: The unconscious privacy threat

Is your reputation being threatened?

Making a will after your spouse or partner has died

Interns celebrate completion of internship at solicitors

Selling your home in a flat market, some top tips

New Media and Communications Court list reflects surge in internet defamation claims by Laura Baglow

Has your personal information been shared without your permission?

Planning your escape to the country, what you need to consider – part 2

Government consultation on new national model for shared ownership

Choosing a partnership structure

Planning for what happens when you die by Deborah Adams

Changes to legislation could offer protection for tenants in the private rental sector

Move to the country - Part One

Will your septic tank still be legal in January?

The death knell for ‘kiss and tell’?

Selling your property at auction

Not looking so good - your guide to compensation for botched non-surgical cosmetic procedures

New threshold of seriousness in defamation proceedings

Legal considerations when building a granny annex

Choosing the right person for your power of attorney

Formal Interviews - Do you need legal representation?

Privacy rights and aerial images

Trustees’ duty to give information to beneficiaries

Taking your first commercial lease

Is your organisation protected from employee social media legal risk?

Have you been targeted by negative social media posts?

Farmers be alert when being inspected

Help for House Sellers?

Don’t let your digital assets end up in a digital grave

Development proposals and your local authority search

What can you do if your child is injured in a serious accident

NetRights welcomes new protection for social media users


Supreme Court recognises that social media is a “casual medium” in libel battle

Choosing the best conveyancer who is right for you

Making a will after a second or subsequent marriage

Option or promotion agreement – which is best for landowners?

Anonymous pub and restaurant online reviews leave a bad taste

Help to Buy – beware of some cracks in the structure

Understanding Lasting Powers of Attorney

Changes to Energy Performance Certificate for Landlords

Had a cycling accident? Your route to obtaining compensation

New year, new home: tips to sell your home in the New Year 

Tax Planning for your inheritance

Hearing loss: when your employer may be liable

Buying a home for your retirement, five things you need to consider

Farmers plan to diversify after Brexit

Ministers press ahead with probate fee shake-up - reports BBC News

Botched dental treatment? You may be entitled to compensation

Why a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney is a good idea

Will the new charge on building developments in Cornwall affect you?

Energy Performance Certificates – Do They Matter?

HMRC Challenging Stamp Duty Land Tax Payments

Ben Mitchell qualifies as a solicitor

The potential implications of Brexit on employment law

Appointing a guardian for your children

Houses in multiple occupation – new rules from October 2018

New Agriculture Bill published

Will Brexit affect my pension?

Dreaming of a holiday home? Sort out the legals before putting your feet up

Lasting Power of Attorney by Deborah Adams

Settled status after Brexit by Alexis Hager

How overage agreements can boost profits from your land

Top tips for first-time buyers

How Could Brexit Affect My Farm?

Wills & Succession in Spain by Deborah Adams

Brexit ­– an international and local view by Alexis Hager, Litigation

Capital gains tax - important facts for non-residents of the UK

Buying a home: the importance of making sure the seller is entitled to sell

Changing a will after someone has died: it is possible and it could save you money

Sad passing of Battle of Britain pilot who served with Parnall family member

Considerations when buying a heritage property

Disciplinary proceedings at work: guide for employers

Employers should have a disciplinary process in place, but just following this may not be enough to avoid falling foul of the law and exposing yourself to the risk of an employment tribunal claim.

Selling your land through a conditional contract

How to extend a lease on a flat or buy a share of the freehold

Delayed Health Checks

New Marketing Team at Parnalls Solicitors Ltd

Social media: snooping in the recruitment process

A landlord's guide to tenant alterations

Equity release, your questions answered

Short term lettings: avoiding the pitfalls

How to apply for a grant of probate

Are you entitled to a fee refund for your Lasting Power of Attorney?

What to do when someone dies

Business disputes: can they ever be avoided?

Accident at work: what to do and when if you have been injured

Director appointment

Business rates: a financial ticking time bomb (Part 2)

Conveyancing quotes: what you need to know

New appointment in Litigation

Mental Health - we can get you the help you need

Business rates: a financial ticking time bomb (Part 1)

Leaving a gift to charity in your will

Parnalls helps two leading Devon organic meat companies to become one

Katherine Flashman Kitson is appointed Governor of St Joseph's School, Launceston

Financing your home purchase (Part 2)

New rules on debt recovery may delay payment of consumer debts

Making financial gifts during your lifetime (Part 2)

Our Guide to Lasting Powers of Attorney for Your Business Interests

Financing your home purchase (Part 1)

Careless replies to pre-contract commercial property enquiries could land you in trouble

Making financial gifts during your lifetime (Part 1)

Property referrals and recommendations - what to consider

World Alzheimer’s Day: Three-step plan to get your legal affairs in order

Legal considerations when setting up a business (Part 2)

How to avoid falling victim to property fraud

What are the key terms that need to be covered in a commercial lease? Part 3

Top 10 reasons to use a solicitor to make your lasting power of attorney

What legal considerations do I need to think about when setting up a business? (Part 1)

Why you need to update your will as soon as you decide to separate or divorce

What are the key terms that need to be covered in a commercial lease?  Part 2

The Bank of Mum and Dad: top tips when lending money to your children  


The importance of insurance when life trips you up

The role of a court appointed deputy

What are the key terms that need to be covered in a commercial lease?

How do I know if my relative has the mental capacity to make a will?

Motorcycle accidents - what to consider when claiming compensation

Top tips for pushing your house purchase through as quickly as possible

How does the new inheritance tax perk work?

Jargon-busting guide to Lasting Power of Attorney

What happens when mum or dad are ill and can’t make decisions?

How firms can take advantage of the rise of alternative finance

Should Stamp Duty be abolished?

Teenager paralysed after falling off a horse awarded £3 million in compensation

RBS to pay investors £800 million

Not happy with your accident claim lawyers?

Parnalls expands its litigation team

Hard work pays off for our Trainee Legal Executive.

Katherine Scott Flashman Kitson celebrates 20 years

How will the new Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) affect you?

Exciting new business hub unveiled in North Cornwall

Be careful what you post on Facebook

Parnalls rolls out the support at Wadebridge Wheels

New trainee solicitor appointed

Mark Parnall comments on Brexit in The Law Society Gazette