Guide to Buying at Auction

Market leader for auctions in the South West

Auctions provide a fast and efficient method of sale with a six week intensive marketing campaign.

Symonds & Sampson are the market leader for residential, agricultural and commercial auctions in the South West. At least 10 auction sales are held each year at venues in Dorset, Devon and Hants.

Advantages of Auction

Auctions provide a fast and efficient method of sale with a six-week intensive marketing, advertising and mailing campaign.

Symonds & Sampson have been auctioning property since 1858 and are widely regarded as the market leaders in the sale of houses, cottages, development opportunities, farms and land in the South of England.

Success is always a team effort and apart from the support from our nine offices, auctions are often launched at The London Office where our buyers from the South East can get a preview of the lots on offer.

Regular Auctions

Sales are held regularly throughout the year in the South of England, during busy periods we may hold three or four sales a month and the number of lots may vary from just a couple to over thirty. All auctions are advertised on our website.

Our Auctioneers

The Auction Department is headed by Mark Lewis who has been conducting auctions for 36 years and the firm has a further 11 experienced and professional auctioneers. We would recommend that you get in touch with Mark before you bid at auction to talk through the way the sale will be conducted.

Mark's Top Tips for Buying at Auction

Information on all properties, legal information and dates of future auctions can be obtained as follows:

  • Online
    Go to “forthcoming properties”, choose the auction date and then download the full catalogue.
  • Printed Catalogue
    You can subscribe to receive printed catalogues by post. Please telephone the main auction office on 01258 473766.

Join our email list for notification that catalogues are available and results are online.

Read through the catalogue, identify those lots which you are interested in and then,

We normally try to arrange group viewings with a dedicated member of staff present who is familiar with the property and should be able to give you as much information as you require.

Please contact the auction office before going to view in case there has been an alteration to the viewing time or dates.

It is recommended that you attend promptly at the property as our viewing staff often go onto another auction property at a later time.

For properties where no block viewing times are mentioned, please telephone the auction office.

If you find a property that is of interest, please let us know so that we are able to contact you if the property is withdrawn or sold prior to the auction.

Legal packs are available to purchase online. Legal packs contain the special conditions, title deeds, office copy entries, leases (where applicable) and searches. Copies may be read at the Symonds & Sampson office dealing with the auction property but please telephone to check that it is available before you visit.

Legal packs will also be available for inspection in the auction room. You should make sure that you have read, understood or given the legal pack to a solicitor before the auction. When you bid you will be buying subject to all documents and terms of contract whether or not you have read them.

The Guide Price is an indication of the seller's current minimum acceptable price at auction. It is given to assist consumers in deciding whether or not to pursue a purchase. It is usual, but not always the case that a provisional reserve range is agreed between the seller and the auctioneer at the start of marketing. As the reserve is not fixed at this stage and can be adjusted by the seller at any time up to the day of the auction in the light of interest shown during the marketing period, a guide price is issued. A guide price is different to a reserve price (see below). Both the guide price and the reserve price can be subject to change up to and including the day of the auction. The Reserve Price is the seller's minimum acceptable price at auction and the figure below which the auctioneer cannot sell.

The reserve price is not disclosed and remains confidential between the seller and the auctioneer. Both the guide price and the reserve price can be subject to change up to and including the day of the auction. The 'Reserve Price' may exceed the 'Guide Price' listed. If so, it is customary for the 'Reserve Price' to exceed the 'Guide Price' by no more than 10%.

On some of the properties that we offer for sale by auction, a survey has been done and you may be able to purchase a copy. If this is not the case and you decide to have a survey, please ask your surveyor to call us directly to make arrangements for access to the property.

Before you make an offer for a property you should speak to the auctioneer, Mark Lewis, 01258 473766 who will discuss the process with you. If your offer is accepted, you will have to be in a position to exchange contracts and pay your deposit immediately. The lot will not be withdrawn from the auction until you have exchanged contracts. The auction until you have exchanged contracts

If you are unable to attend the sale you can arrange to bid on the telephone, or by a proxy bid. Contact Symonds & Sampson for further information on these services or download the form from our website.

In each case, we require a completed registration form, identification, a cheque to cover your 10% deposit and a second cheque for the Buyers Administration Fee, prior to the date of the auction

Make sure that you are in touch with the auctioneers so you are aware that the property is still available.

Buying property at auction is very different from buying by private treaty. We strongly advise potential buyers to check that they have read and understood all the various legal documents, terms and conditions.

Make sure that you arrive at the auction in plenty of time, find a parking space and the room. Make sure that you bring with you:

  • the catalogue
  • a cheque book or debit card (please note no cash or credit cards accepted)
  • identification (driving licence/ passport)
  • details of the solicitor you intend to use

Orders of Sale are available at the auction and will contain details of all lots withdrawn, sold and occasionally an addendum sheet which contains the final changes to the details and the lot information. It is important that you read this document before bidding to see if there is anything significant listed against your lot(s).

The order of sale will be different to the catalogued list.

You do not need to register at a Symonds & Sampson auction.

The auction will start promptly at the time printed in the catalogue and the auctioneer will make a number of announcements about the auction procedure.

Please note that questions will not be taken by the auctioneer from the floor once the auction is in progress. If you have any last minute queries, please speak to a member of the Symonds & Sampson auction team.

The auctioneer will then invite bids at a suggested level.

The auctioneer will announce each lot and refer to any last minute changes. The current property and lot number is usually displayed on a screen behind the auctioneer and all lots will be offered for sale subject to an undisclosed reserve price (unless stated otherwise).

You may bid by raising your hand or catalogue but we always advise that you are bold with your bidding.

Make sure you can see the auctioneer, but it is far more important that he can see you.

The auctioneer will regulate the bidding and when the bidding reaches the highest level, the auctioneer will bring his hammer down.

When the hammer falls, you have bought the lot (a legal and binding contract is formed at that time).

If you are a successful bidder, you will be asked to complete a purchase form and attend the solicitor present who will have a memorandum of sale which you will be requested to sign. You will pay a 10% deposit by cheque or debit card and provide details of your solicitor. You will be asked to provide proof of your identity and address.

Please note that the minimum deposit at a Symonds & Sampson auction is £2,000.

Please make sure that you have sufficient funds available in your account as the cheque will be banked the same or next working day. It is part of your legal obligation to pay the deposit on the day of the auction if the lot is sold to you.

If you require other arrangements, you must speak to the auctioneer.

You are responsible for the property from the date of exchange and it is therefore very important that you make arrangements to insure it immediately. If you do not have insurance in place, we can suggest firms who will be able to assist.

The successful purchaser will be required to pay to the Auctioneers a Buyers Administration Fee, as indicated in the Auction Catalogue, payable to Symonds & Sampson LLP.

PLEASE NOTE this will apply to lots bought prior to and after auction

Completion will usually take place 28 days after the auction, or as stated in the Special Conditions of Sale, under the supervision of your solicitor.

Properties are not sold subject to contract, subject to finance or subject to survey when you buy at auction. They are sold unconditionally and if you are the successful bidder you are legally obliged to complete the sale.

If the lot you are interested in is unsold you should register your interest with the auctioneers at the end of the auction. At Symonds & Sampson we normally sell the unsold lots within seven days of the auction, so things can move quite quickly.

Results can be viewed on our website or please telephone for further details.

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