An estate agent’s view: Auction decision is to be thought about

editorial image

The question asked by many newcomers to auctions is ‘How much will you charge to sell my property?’ – a fair enough question but in my experience the wrong place to start.

I receive many calls each week from sellers who are attracted by the speed and certainty that a sale by auction brings - let’s face it, who selling a property wouldn’t see the advantage of a 10% non-refundable deposit, a legally binding contract on the fall of the hammer and a firm completion date?
The decision to go to auction may well be influenced by the circumstances surrounding the sale but the fundamental factor must be the nature of the property in question and its target market.

Auctions appeal to builders, investors, developers and cash buyers together with a relatively small group of keen first time buyers who are prepared to compete to secure a place to live.

The “prime candidates” are therefore those properties that need modernisation and in my experience the worse the better, whether an ex-rental house that has seen better days or a house belonging to an ageing relative.

I believe passionately that a sale by auction is by far the best way of selling a house of this nature and competition at this week’s auction backs this up. The bidding process is over within four minutes.

No best and final offers, no backing out at the last minute, no ‘fingers crossed it will go though’ or last minute re-negotiation
The sale is final on the fall of the hammer.

Many houses on the other hand are just ‘too good’ for auction and the temptation to ‘give it a go’ should be resisted.

The key in all of this is to get the right advice. For every property I enter into auction there must be another where I decline instructions and recommend persevering with an estate agent. This is one of the reasons why we have maintained one of the highest success rates in the county. The temptation is always there to fill each month’s catalogue with unsuitable auction lots and take client’s entry fees in the hope of ‘getting lucky’.

This is far from professional in approach and Sheffield being the big village it is, you would soon lose the trust of buyers and sellers alike.
The answer to the question ‘Last resort or first option?’ is probably ‘yes’ to both, but for an unmodernised house with damp, dry rot, old wiring, overgrown garden and leaking roof the answer is a resounding ABSOLUTELY YES!
n Adrian Little has been working in Sheffield for over 30 years, 26 of them with Mark Jenkinson and son where he is a partner and principal auctioneer, overseeing monthly ‘Property with potential’ auctions at Bramall Lane.