Property auctions appeal to buyers looking for a bargain and sellers keen to make a fast sale. Regarded as one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to buy or sell land and property, property auctions offer excellent opportunities for both buyers and sellers. Key to this is the speed at which conveyancing for auction property is completed.

The timeframe of completing auction conveyancing is much shorter than a conventional property transaction. Contracts are legally exchanged as soon as a winning bid has been accepted. All of the legal paperwork and finance will then typically be completed within 28 days.

That short timeframe means that, when it comes to conveyancing for auction property, it pays to be prepared.

The conveyancing solicitors who work with Homeward Legal can help guide buyers and sellers through the auction process from start to finish, and will ensure your auction conveyancing transaction goes smoothly.

Homeward Legal's nationwide panel of property auction conveyancing solicitors includes top law firms across England and Wales, who have the local knowledge and experience to deal with any problems that may arise. All our solicitors and conveyancers are fully regulated under the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.

What is auction conveyancing?

Auction conveyancing refers to the legal process required to complete a property purchase made at a public sale where land or property is sold to the highest bidder. Auction property conveyancing is different to the standard way of completing a property transaction.

Auction houses list properties for sale in a catalogue several weeks ahead of the auction date, allowing prospective buyers the opportunity to investigate potential purchases. This also gives buyers the chance to instruct a conveyancer who can set the transaction in motion, so the sale completes smoothly after the auction. Buying property at auction offers both opportunities and risks.

Those new to this process should take legal advice before making any offer because a winning bid is binding. There are few options for legal remedy against either seller or auctioneer if an issue is discovered after the auction. A winning bidder will also forfeit their 10 percent deposit if they pull out of the sale after the auction. 

Homeward Legal's partner law firms are experienced in auction property conveyancing and can talk buyers through all their options.

What is the auction conveyancing process?

The biggest difference between conventional conveyancing and the auction conveyancing process is the speed at which contracts are exchanged. 

In a typical transaction, you may make an offer that is accepted, but contracts are unlikely to be exchanged for weeks or months, giving both buyer and seller the opportunity to change their mind. 

However, when your auction bid is accepted, the contract is instantly concluded. This contract is binding, the sale is complete, and you cannot back out. 

You must now pay a deposit, usually 10 percent, and have the balance of the sale price ready to pay within 28 days. 

To buy at auction, your legal work must be done ahead of time, that's why you need to instruct an experienced auction conveyancing solicitor before you make any offer.

How quickly does a property auction sale complete?

An auction sale completes very quickly. A conveyancing transaction done in the usual way can take a minimum of eight weeks and often much longer to complete because the work begins after a buyer makes an offer that is accepted by the seller. 

In auction property conveyancing, the legal work must be done in advance of the auction itself.

So, when a bid is accepted, effectively contracts are then exchanged, and the buyer must pay a 10 percent deposit and prove he or she has the funds to pay the balance. 

That balance is usually paid within 28 days, meaning the auction conveyancing process is done in a much shorter timeframe than normal. 

Buying at auction is a legally binding process, so it's crucial anyone considering making an offer gets expert legal advice beforehand.

If you're looking for a fully qualified and experienced property auction conveyancer, Homeward Legal can help you. We'll put you in touch with one of our specialist panel solicitors across England and Wales. 

We are open seven days a week, Monday to Thursday 9am until 8pm, Friday until 6pm and from 10am to 4pm at weekends.

What are the typical auction fees for selling?

Anyone selling at auction must pay an entry fee, which covers the cost of going into the catalogue, marketing and promotion beforehand and the auction itself. 

Fees vary depending on the auction house but budget for an entry fee of between £500 and £1,000. Some auction houses will demand the entry fee up front, while others collect this once the contracts are exchanged. 

Sellers must also pay sales commission if their sale is successful. This commission, which again may vary from one auction house to another, will be outlined in the agreement the seller signs at the outset. The commission is only payable once the sale is complete and is deducted from the deposit paid by the successful bidder. It's worth considering these costs, along with the fees for conveyancing for auction, when planning a sale.

What are the typical auction fees for buying?

Typical auction fees for buying include an administration fee that is paid to the auction house. This is usually between £200 and £300 and may either be a fixed fee or a percentage of the sale price. The admin fee covers the auctioneer's costs, is subject to VAT and is paid at the same time as the deposit. You may also be subject to a “buyer's premium”, which is an additional percentage charge on the winning bid at auction. The sale catalogue will indicate properties where a buyer's premium is being charged. When budgeting for a property buy, you need to take these charges into consideration along with your essential auction conveyancing fees.

Do I need a conveyancer before auction?

There is no legal requirement to have a conveyancing solicitor in place before you buy at auction. However, instructing property auction solicitors beforehand is the most prudent course of action. As well as examining the auction legal pack, solicitors can also offer other services that will help in your decision to bid or not to bid on auction day. This might include an Auction Title Checker that will examine who owns the property, any issues around leasehold and any charges on the property, such as outstanding mortgages.

A Pre-Auction Report includes a review of all available paperwork, identifies any missing documentation, examines legal ownership and highlights any potential risks for a purchaser. Instructing a conveyancer before auction gives you access to legal advice on how best to make a successful bid.

Do I need to have finance in place before buying at auction?

In a word, yes. If your bid is successful on the day, you must pay a deposit of 10 percent of the purchase price immediately. The auctioneers will also ask for proof of funds to pay the balance by completion, usually only 28 days later. That means you must ensure all your finance is in place before making any bid.

Cash buyers will have to demonstrate they have the money in place, and if you're buying with a mortgage, you must arrange an agreement in principle before making any bid. Lenders will only make a definite offer once you have bid on a specific property. Your auction conveyancing solicitor will liaise with the lender before the auction to ensure the finance is secure.

Should I get a building survey done before making a bid at auction?

The sensible answer is that if you are serious about purchasing any property, you should have it surveyed by a RICS chartered surveyor. A building survey will give you an expert opinion on the condition of a property and identify any structural or other issues.

The advantage of having a survey done is that you will know what the property is worth and if it is worth making an offer on.

The disadvantage is you might spend several hundred pounds only not to bid at all - in that case, however, you may have saved yourself thousands in the long run.

When you are buying at auction with a mortgage, your lender is also likely to demand more than simply a valuation report on an auction property. This is because they need to be certain the property is worth what they are lending to you in case of default. Talk to your property auction solicitor about your survey options.

What are the benefits of selling your property at auction?

There are a number of clear benefits of selling your property at auction. Let's look at a couple of the most obvious ones:

  • Speed: How quickly a conveyancing transaction can be completed is one of the key advantages of selling at auction. The whole process - from registering with an auction house to the day of sale to completion - can be done in as little as eight weeks, assuming there are no other hitches.
  • A binding sale: Once a winning bid has been accepted, the buyer must commit to purchasing the property. Legally, the sale contract has been completed the instant that the hammer falls. The buyer must pay a deposit, usually 10 percent, immediately and provide the balance of the sale price within 28 days. Where they fail to complete their side of the deal, the buyer must forfeit their deposit.
  • Competition among buyers: The catalogue sale price will be set to encourage bidding among those in the auction. Competition among bidders on the day can push the sale price up and help you realise a greater profit than selling in a conventional way through an estate agent.
  • Setting a reserve price: You can stay in control of the sale by setting a reserve price. This is the basic figure that you want to achieve from the sale. If the auctioneer does not receive any bids that reach the reserve price, the lot will be withdrawn. It is then up to you to decide whether to change the reserve price or to negotiate with those who bid below that figure.

Frequently asked questions...

One of the fastest-growing areas of property buying and selling is in property auctions. Conveyancing for auction is typically faster than a conventional property transaction, and specialist auction property solicitors can help ensure the process goes smoothly. 

Homeward Legal works with a nationwide panel of property law firms with expertise in completing auction conveyancing transactions.

Our property solicitor partners have experience in working with auction houses across England and Wales and can negotiate on your behalf as soon as you instruct them. 

Most auction property purchases must be completed within a specific deadline, often 28 days from the successful bid. That means any buyer must be well prepared for the auction day in advance. 

To ensure there are no hidden problems with a property you are interested in, call for a get a no-obligation auction conveyancing quote today.

Selling property at auction is often a quicker and more cost-effective way to find a buyer, particularly for unusual properties or those requiring upgrading.

Our panel of nationwide property law firms have all the expertise required to get your property to auction. Your property auction’s solicitor’s first step will be to prepare the necessary legal paperwork required by the auctioneer. 

This forms the auction legal pack that is available to prospective buyers. Your property auction solicitor can also advise on fees and on the completion date (when the property must be vacated for a new owner), while ensuring there can be no disputes after the sale is completed.

A legal pack is usually valid for up to six months from the date that it was first prepared.

Many properties are sold at auction because of issues that make them unsellable on the open market. For this reason, prospective buyers should always instruct an experienced auction conveyancing solicitor to review the legal pack before making a bid. 

The legal pack should identify any potential issues and, where necessary, allow your solicitor to make more detailed legal enquiries. 

Make sure you have an expert on your side at auction. You can get an instant quote for auction conveyancing at Homeward Legal by calling us on .

For a seller, the process of selling a property at auction can be as little as eight weeks. The preparatory work before the sale can be done by instructing property auction solicitors, with the auction conveyancing completed usually within 28 or 56 days, depending on the condition of the sale. 

Buyers can simply arrive on the day and make a bid that may be successful. However, a successful bid is binding. The buyer is then committed to the purchase and must immediately pay a 10 percent deposit. They then have up to 28 or 56 days to transfer the balance and complete the sale. 

Buyers who intend to bid at auction should do their own preparatory work in advance. Get a hold of the catalogue, identify the property or properties you are interested in and engage a conveyancing solicitor to request the legal pack and organise a building survey so there are no nasty surprises once the hammer falls. 

Talk to Homeward Legal now on to explore your options for auction conveyancing.

There are generally two types of property auction sales, the detail of which will be outlined in both the catalogue on the day and the legal pack related to the specific property. In an unconditional sale, the successful bidder must pay a 10 percent deposit immediately and complete the sale within 28 days. 

In a conditional sale, the completion timescale is longer. The successful bidder has 20 working days in which to secure finance, then a further 20 working days to complete the sale.

Buying property at auction is considered a risky venture for most mortgage lenders. Indeed many properties are being sold at auction because no mortgage can be secured on them.

That’s why it’s crucial anyone who needs a mortgage to buy at auction has their finance in place. That means a minimum of having a mortgage agreement in principle in writing from your lender. 

The short timeframe for completing an auction property purchase means your conveyancing solicitor is working against the clock to get the finance in place for completion date. 

A conditional auction sale gives a buyer more time to secure finance, to instruct a building survey and arrange buildings insurance.

The auction process is designed to protect both buyers and sellers and to encourage only serious bidders. Once the auctioneer’s hammer falls on a successful bid, the buyer is legally bound to complete the sale.

They must pay a 10 percent deposit immediately and commit to providing the balance within 28 days. If you change your mind after your bid has been accepted, you will lose your deposit and you must also pay the auctioneer’s fees. 

This is why it’s important to do the groundwork before the auction day itself and for potential buyers to get legal advice in advance. One call to Homeward Legal on can quickly put you in touch with an auction conveyancing solicitor near you.

Auction conveyancing works within a much shorter timeframe than conventional conveyancing. Once your bid has been accepted and you have paid the initial 10 percent deposit, your solicitor will usually have 20 working days (28 days in total) to complete the necessary paperwork, provide the balance of the property price and complete the purchase. Once completed, you will receive the keys for your new property.

With Homeward Legal you can always rely on us to be transparent. We’re firm believers in providing fixed legal fee** conveyancing. So, be assured that the quote we give you for your solicitor’s legal fees is the price you will pay. Based on the information you give us, we will also outline any disbursements*, charges and fees that must be paid to your solicitor on top of their legal services. These include Land Registry fees, Telegraphic Transfer fee (for banks), property searches and a bankruptcy search. 

Each conveyancing transaction is unique. As your transaction proceeds, there may be other non-standard fees incurred to ensure the sale or purchase goes through. However, your solicitor will keep you fully informed of any additional costs that arise.

We’re proud of our No-Completion No Fee†, which means you won’t lose out if your transaction fails to complete for any reason.

When budgeting for a property auction purchase, remember to factor in additional costs. These are likely to include:

  • Auction conveyancing fees

  • Auctioneer’s administration fees – usually a fixed charge detailed in the catalogue

  • Buyer’s premium – an extra admin charge on the successful buyer, often a percentage of the purchase price

  • Stamp Duty Land Tax*** - depending on the purchase price, you may have to pay the property levy to HMRC. No stamp duty is paid on the first £125,000 of any purchase, while first-time buyers enjoy stamp duty relief on any property purchase up to the value of £500,000

  • Buildings insurance – you must put this in place as soon as your bid has been accepted

***Please Note; the government temporarily increased the amount at which stamp duty to £500,000, for property sales in England and Northern Ireland. This was due to end on 31 March, but it was announced in the 2021 Budget that it will now end on 30 June. After this date, the starting rate of stamp duty will be £250,000 until the end of September. Stamp duty will then return to the level of £125,000.

Your Fixed Legal Fee** quote from Homeward Legal ensures that you pay no more than we have quoted you for and is based on the information you’ve provided to us being true and accurate.

There are specific circumstances on a minority of transactions that may require additional charges that could not be foreseen at the outset.

A list of those charges and explanations can be found here with details of the potential cost. These will only be charged following discussion with your conveyancer with a clear explanation of what they are for.

No Completion No Fee is our promise that in the unfortunate event that your property transaction falls-through you will not be liable for any of the conveyancer’s fixed legal fees for the work completed.

To secure this benefit a fee, already included in your quote, is taken upon on deciding to go ahead with your transaction.

Should your transaction fall through, for whatever reason, we can hold this amount on account for your next transaction or provide a refund.

A national company helping 100's of people across England & Wales

Find conveyancing in your area


Find conveyancing in London

Central, City, East, North, North East, North West, South, South East, South West, West

England & Wales