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How to sell your house at auction

How to sell your house at auction

Every seller is different – and every seller’s needs are different.

You could be selling your house because you need to free up money in order to move to your next property.

Or you could require a faster sale because you need to move by a certain date, with the asking price not as important as the speed of the sale.

If you’re looking to sell your house quickly, an auction can be a great way to do so…

Selling a house quickly? Auction your house…

If you’re looking to sell your home quickly, putting it up for sale at an auction can be a great way to secure that speedy sale.

But, of course, selling a house at auction isn’t a conventional way to sell, so there are things you should be aware of first…

The pros and cons of selling your house at auction


• Your property could sell quicker than on the open market

• Your buyer won’t be in a long chain

• Your buyer can’t pull out of the deal once agreed

• You could secure a good price due to competitive bidding


• There’s no guarantee your home will sell at all

• You could end up selling for less than on the open market

• Auction fees can be higher than estate agent fees

• You’ll have to move out quickly once your home is sold

Selling property at auction: The process

The first thing to do if you want to sell your house at auction is to find an auctioneer.

In the same way you would when looking for an estate agent to sell your home, do some due diligence on auction houses and ask around for recommendations on a good auctioneer.

Checking out auction house promotional material can also be a good way of rooting out the best auctioneers.

But remember: The cheapest auction house might not always be the best in terms of showing off your property in its best light and attracting the right buyers.

An established, well-known auction house may be more expensive, but could end up netting you more buyer interest and a better sale price.

Set your guide and reserve prices

Once you’ve found an auction house to sell your property, you should speak to the auctioneer about setting both a guide price and a reserve price.

A guide price is the price shown to the public and should be used to develop interest among potential buyers, so it needs to be the right price for the market.

Your auctioneer will be able to advise you on a guide price based on current market conditions and levels of buyer interest.

Your reserve price is the minimum amount you’re willing to accept for your property.

The public won’t know this amount, but if buyers don’t reach it at the auction, your property will remain unsold.

Build-up to auction day

In the weeks leading up to the auction, and with your property marketed in promotional material and in a legal pack, interested buyers may wish to look around the property.

So, make sure you’re available to host any interested parties and make sure your home is looking its best – as you would if you were selling through an estate agent.

You should also publicise the fact your property is going up for auction on your own social media channels and ask friends and family to spread the word, too.

What happens after my property is sold at auction?

If a buyer meets your reserve price or above, the auctioneer will drop the hammer and your home is sold on the spot.

You will exchange contracts with the buyer there and then at the auction house, so when it comes to quick sales, there aren’t many quicker!

Of course, the speed with which properties are sold at auction means there is no time for cold feet, so make sure you’re certain selling at auction is the right thing for you well in advance of the sales day.

Once you have exchanged contracts, your buyer will need to pay a 10% deposit on your property at the auction and they then have a further month to pay the remaining 90% of the sale price.

How much does it cost to sell a house at auction?

The cost of selling a house at auction can vary, depending on the percentage fee demanded by the auctioneer.

Most auctioneers charge around 2.5% of the property’s sale price as a fee, while you’ll also need to factor in things like solicitor fees and potential advertising costs with the auctioneer.

Selling at auction can be more expensive that selling on the open market, with estate agents generally charging less in commission than auctioneers.

Selling a house with subsidence at auction

Many properties that come up for sale at auctions are homes where structural issues mean they wouldn’t be easily sold on the open market.

Subsidence is one such issue and can be hugely off-putting for buyers due to the costs associated with rectifying the problem.

Auction buyers, however, are usually cash buyers and investors looking for a project to renovate and sell on for profit, so auctions can be a great place to sell if your property has major structural issues.

Further reading…

If you’re thinking of selling your home at auction, you should take a look at our comprehensive guide on selling so you can be sure it’s the right step for you.

If you’re a first-time seller, meanwhile, our guide to selling a property for the first time can help you through the process.

And if you’re looking to freshen up your property before selling it, our tips for home improvements can help you add some value and interest from buyers before your For Sale board goes up.