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By Andrew Parker

Managing Director and Auctioneer, SDL Property Auctions


How a new sales feature will help make auctions the first choice for everyone

Private treaty property sales are fraught with pitfalls and at SDL Property Auctions we believe change is long overdue. We believe it’s time the property market was revolutionised – and are proud to be leading the way in this by partnering with Rightmove to help normalise auction sales.

Events of the past year – especially the rush to complete before the end of the stamp duty holiday – threw into sharp focus the most significant drawbacks of private treaty property sales, namely its uncertainty and the snail’s pace at which it often moves.

At SDL Property Auctions we know auctions resolve both of these issues and have been working hard for many years to change people’s perceptions and promote auctions as a more effective and far less stressful sales method for everyone.


Our work is paying off with increased interest in auctions across the board and has now been given a huge boost by our new partnership with Rightmove.

We are leading the way by becoming one of the first auction providers to adopt Rightmove’s new industry-first Bid to Purchase feature to sell properties by conditional auction. This means our conditional auction lots now benefit from enhanced Rightmove listings and are displayed with live bidding updates.

As the UK’s biggest property portal, Rightmove is hugely influential and its innovative new Bid to Purchase feature is a major step in normalising auction sales with the potential to revolutionise the property market. The feature will help foster a new understanding of this fast and efficient sales method, make auctions more accessible for everyone and encourage more people to consider buying and selling in this way.

This will expand on our work to help bring auctions into the mainstream and build on the progress achieved during the pandemic, which has seen many more people seek the speed and certainty that only auctions can provide. During lockdown, auction was the only way for people to buy and sell property safely and we provided a vital service to many investors who needed to realise their assets quickly. At the same time, we attracted more private homeowners who realised we could provide a safe and certain way of selling their homes and offered a lifeline to estate agents by providing their only source of income when their branches were forced to close.

We work hard to dispel the many myths about auctions and in particular about conditional auctions, which are seen by some as controversial due to a lack of understanding about fees. As we were one of the first auctioneers to introduce a summary sheet of fees within the legal pack of every lot, we are proud to be leading the way in creating total transparency around fees and are confident that our buyers will always know exactly what fees they are expected to pay so they can budget and bid accordingly.

At SDL Property Auctions we offer all types of auction sale through our monthly National Property Auctions and daily Timed Auctions on our website. Each auction type has its own advantages, including conditional auctions.

Unlike in an unconditional auction, where contracts are exchanged at the fall of the hammer, and the buyer must pay the deposit immediately, a conditional auction allows the buyer more flexibility and time to arrange finance. The end of a conditional auction sees the winning bidder pay a non-refundable reservation fee which grants them an exclusivity period, usually 40 working days. The reservation fee means the buyer cannot be gazumped and there is a financial penalty if they pull out. This provides certainty for both buyer and seller and, as a result, our fall-through rate is less than 1%.

Time is money in business and we know investors cannot afford to be messed around by broken chains and the risk of a sale or purchase falling through. The certainty of auctions makes them ideal for anyone looking to add to their portfolio as the transaction will be hassle-free and quick.

Plus, in a conditional auction, the extra time to exchange and complete enables investors to secure finance if required. For sellers, the 40 working day completion time of conditional auctions can widen the field of potential buyers by opening it up to those who require a mortgage – this is ideal for investors who have bought properties to refurbish and are now ready to sell them on, for example. They benefit from the speed of an auction while still appealing to private homebuyers who need to secure a mortgage before they can proceed.

Despite these many advantages, and the growth in popularity of auctions, they are still not the first choice for most buyers and sellers in this country. However, with Rightmove embracing auction sales with its new Bid to Purchase feature, this could be all set to change. The innovations will help to take auctions further into the mainstream and make faff-free property transactions the norm for everyone.

*Andrew Parker is the Managing Director and Auctioneer at SDL Property Auctions


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