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Buying at Auction

Our Collective Property Auctions are the place to buy residential, commercial, development and agricultural property, farms and land throughout Dorset, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Cornwall and beyond.

Guide to buying at Auction

Buying at auction is a fast and efficient way to secure your next property. You will be able to access the legal documents prior to the auction, contracts exchange on the fall of the hammer and completion follows 28 days later.

An increasingly popular method of sale, our dedicated auction team will be on hand to guide you at every step.

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The advantages of buying at Auction

There are many advantages of buying property at auction and we have created this guide to highlight the key benefits of this method and help you decide if it is the right route for you.

Many people choose to buy at auction because of the speed offered by this method. Buying via the private treaty route can be laborious, which is not ideal for those who are ready to move quickly. By contrast, purchasing a property at auction results in a much faster completion time - usually within four weeks of the auction.
Buying property at auction is straightforward but here are some things you must remember if you are thinking of bidding on a property:

  • Make sure you have downloaded and read the legal pack and passed it to your solicitor to inspect. The legal pack contains important information about the property, the contract, and the Special Conditions of Sale. The legal pack for each lot can be downloaded by clicking here
  • Familiarise yourself with the Common Auction Conditions
  • Register to bid ahead of the auction. You will need to provide proof of ID and address and pre-authorise a £10,000 hold on a payment card. You can register to bid by clicking here
  • Make sure you have got your solicitor’s details to hand
  • Be prepared to pay a 10% deposit and the Buyer’s Administration Fee should your bid be successful
One of the main advantages of auctions is that they create a level playing field, whereby everyone is bidding openly, transparently, and competitively at the same time.
When purchasers use the Private Treaty method, the buying process often gets delayed, and deals can simply fall through due to miscommunication and changes to the circumstances of those involved in the transaction. That is not the case with auctions. If your bid has been successful, all you need to do is provide the 10% deposit on your desired property on the day of the auction and pay the rest of the balance within, usually, 20 working days.
There is a range of properties for sale by auction, ranging from country houses, properties for renovation, building plots, commercial investments, and agricultural land. You can see all the available lots on our website.
Another common reason people choose to buy at auction is the wealth of keenly priced properties on offer which could be difficult to find elsewhere. Auctions are an excellent place for those interested in value-add and change-of-use opportunities, which often result in attractive returns.
Buying at auction is exciting and rewarding but there are a few things to keep in mind before you start.

Have your finances in place
Since you’ll have to pay the 10% deposit straight away and the remainder not too long after, it’s best to make any financial arrangements before auction day so that you know you can make payments on time. There will be penalties if you fail to complete and you will likely lose the 10% deposit.

Set yourself a budget
Auctions can be exciting, but you don’t want to get carried away and find yourself in a bidding war spending more than you can afford. Instead, set yourself a budget for the day and stick to it.

You might not be the highest bidder
Do not be downhearted if you are not successful. It is important to be realistic and enter the auction knowing that you might not be the winning bidder.

If you are successful, the property is yours

If you are successful on auction day, contracts are exchanged between the seller and buyer immediately. This means that you are both locked into the transaction, and neither party can change their mind without risking penalties. So, it is important that you are certain you want to buy the property you are bidding on.

Be prepared with surveyors and solicitors

Buying at auction is much more fast-paced compared to the Private Treaty method. Typically, the auction catalogue will be available online six weeks before auction day, so in this time you will need to arrange a viewing, a survey and have your solicitor check the Auction Legal Packs for properties you’re interested in.
Symonds & Sampson is the West Country’s market leader in residential, agricultural, and commercial property auctions, known for its high-quality service and integrity.

  • Experienced auctioneers - We’ve been selling property for over 160 years meaning we know how to conduct a successful auction, with both our auction team having an average sales success rate of over 90%
  • In-room auctions – We give you the opportunity to choose how you wish to bid and offer four options: online, by telephone, by proxy or in the room
  • Trusted by sellers - Being the West Country’s leading property auctioneer, our auction catalogues include properties across six counties meaning you have the greatest opportunity of finding the right property for you
If you have any questions about how the auction works, we will be very pleased to talk to you otherwise we look forward to seeing you on auction day and wish you the very best of luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

Buying a property at auction is a straightforward process, but it is important to understand and plan for each step. Preparation is key and the following frequently asked questions should help you.

Once you have found a property you are interested we recommend that you make an appointment to view the property with the relevant office.

All Legal Documentation for each property can be found and downloaded via our website prior to the auction. You will need to create an EIG Auction Passport account if you do not already have one. Once you have downloaded the legal documents, we recommend that you ask a solicitor to inspect them for you before you register to bid for the auction.

All lots (unless otherwise stated) are sold subject to the Online Auctioneer terms, the RICS Common Auction Conditions of Sale, and any Special Conditions of Sale. We strongly advise prospective bidders to read all our Auction Notes printed in the catalogue.

Please note that some Special Conditions of Sale detail the extra costs that the seller is reclaiming from the buyer in addition to the purchase price, i.e., legal fees or auctioneer’s commission fees. If you have downloaded the legal pack, you will receive an email advising of any additions and amendments. Our online details are also regularly updated with any amendments prior to the auction. We recommend that you check thoroughly before auction day as any amendments will form part of the contract.
If you are a successful bidder, you are legally committed to purchasing the lot. The fall of the gavel signifies the binding sale of the lot. You should have all funds in place prior to bidding including a mortgage offer (if applicable) as you will pay 10% of the purchase price plus the buyer’s administration fee immediately after the auction.

If you are purchasing the property with a mortgage, then the lender will have to undertake a valuation as normal in order to ensure the property is worth what you are planning to pay for it. You should arrange this as soon as possible. You should also warn your bank or building society before the auction that a significant sum may be transferred out of your account. We accept payment by Debit card and BACS only.
When you register to bid you are required to arrange a bidder security. This takes the form of a pre-authorised hold on a debit card. If you subsequently purchase a property you are required to “top up” this payment and transfer the balance of the 10% deposit to the Symonds & Sampson LLP Client Account plus the buyer’s administration fee.
You will be responsible for insuring the property from the fall of the gavel so please arrange a quote before the auction starts.
If you are attending an auction for the first time it can be a daunting experience and we recommend you attend an auction or watch one online, so you learn the auctioneer’s style. You should also carefully read the RICS Common Auction Conditions.

If you have any questions about how the auction works, please telephone the auctioneers and we will do our best to answer any issues.
All bidders are required to register to bid prior to the auction which involves adding details of all buyers (individual/company) and the deposit payer(s) together with the relevant proof of ID and proof of address being uploaded for each person. Be prepared to provide certified proof of ID if you are bidding remotely and are successful.
If you register for the legal documents via our website and EIG Auction Passport, you will receive an email telling you how to register to bid.
Symonds & Sampson offer prospective purchasers four methods of bidding at auction
  • In room: You should arrive in plenty of time having already registered to bid. We often recommend about one hour before the auction starts, which gives you time to park, and talk to the auction team.
  • Telephone: A member of the Auction Team will call you live in the auction room, and you will instruct them to bid for you. Telephone lines are offered on a first-come first served basis. To ensure you secure your line, you must complete your registration to bid in plenty of time.
  • Internet: This method allows you to view the auction live and bid online in real-time
  • Proxy: You can authorise the Auctioneer to bid on your behalf to a specified amount
This will be detailed in the Special Conditions of Sale found in the legal pack.

The completion date is usually 20 working days after the auction but you must check the legal pack so you have all funds in place.
There is no fee payable to bid online. However, if you are successful in the bidding, a buyer’s administration fee will apply. This fee applies to each lot purchased in the auction. The buyers’ fees are as follows:

  • Lots sold for £50,001 or more: £1,200 including VAT.
  • Lots sold for less than £50,000: £900 including VAT.

  • If two or more lots are purchased under one contract the fee will apply per lot and not per contract. The charge applies to lots purchased prior to and post-auction.

    Meet the Property Auctions Team

    Mark Lewis

    Senior Partner
    Sturminster Newton


    Department: Residential Sales, Property Auctions, Sturminster Newton Sales, Professional
    Service: RICS Registered Valuer, RICS Valuer, Selling, Buying, Agency

    01258 473766
    07970 684786

    Meredith Holmes

    Head of Auctions
    Blandford, Sturminster Newton, Wimborne


    Department: Residential Sales, Property Auctions, Blandford Sales, Sturminster Newton Sales, Wimborne Sales
    Speciality: Agency, Selling, Buying
    01202 843190
    07470 050577

    Graham Barton

    Consultant Auctioneer and Surveyor


    Department: Residential Sales, Property Auctions, Professional, Axminster Sales
    Service: Agency, Buying, Selling, RICS Registered Valuer, RICS Valuer 

    01297 33122
    07395 046382