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Auction roundup – auctioneer awards, charity work and expert tips

We’ve entered a new month, which means new beginnings and refreshed confidence as we navigate a post-Covid world. Quite aptly, this week’s Auction Roundup is the theme of celebration and giving, with NAVA Propertymark announcing the return of the Novice Auctioneer awards, and Strettons supporting its local charity. Separately, Together lists the top tips for buying a property at auction.

Gavels at the ready – Novice Auctioneer of the Year contest returns

After an enforced two-year hiatus, the Novice Auctioneer of the Year competition returns with a bang – hopefully of the gavel.


For the first time since 2019 due to the pandemic, fledgling auctioneers will go head-to-head for the contested title at The Cambridge Belfry on May 10.

The competition is organised by NAVA Propertymark and sponsored by Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers.

Entrants will be assessed throughout the day and three finalists selected to face the judges again during the NAVA Propertymark Gala Dinner.

The winner will be presented with the Clive Emson Rose Bowl, a year’s NAVA membership and a £250 donation to the charity of their choice.

The following day is the professional body’s Spring Forum, which is sponsored by a global auction software company, Bidpath. The full programme will be announced in the coming weeks.

2019 winner David Henwood with finalists Marino Costi, Philip Arnold Auctions and Christopher Theocharides, SDL Auctions.

James Emson, managing director of Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers and a member of NAVA Propertymark’s Advisory Committee, comments: “It’s not easy to get onto the rostrum so this competition is a terrific opportunity for novices to show what they can do.”

“For the past 15 years we have been putting fledging auctioneers to the test while at the same time offering them an opportunity to get some constructive feedback from experienced judges to help them develop their own careers as auctioneers.”

Emson adds: “We need new people coming through and what better platform to test themselves across all auction areas, all of which are quite different?”

“It’s fantastic to be back after two years off and we’re really looking forward to seeing our novices in action!”

While the competition is to find the Novice Auctioneer of the Year, it is open to all age groups with previous year’s entrants ranging from 18 to 64 years old.

To qualify, contestants must have overseen their first auction after April 30 2021 or have been on the rostrum for three or fewer auctions in total.

The current holder of the title is David Henwood, of Clive Emson Land and Property Auctioneers.

Nathan Emerson, chief executive officer of Propertymark, states: “Our Annual Gala Dinner and Spring Forum is the perfect opportunity to meet and network with other NAVA Propertymark members and industry colleagues.”

“Not only will it be a great feeling to be back in a room together for the first time since 2019, it’s also an opportunity to provide a platform for the next generation to hone their skills in our Novice Auctioneer of the Year competition.”

To enter the competition or to book tickets for the NAVA Propertymark Spring Forum at early bird prices, click here.

Strettons supports local charity with bumper auction

Strettons dons its hero cape with the launch of a new charitable initiative for its April 2022 national property auction.

The company, which has its roots in East London dating back to 1931, will support Bow Foodbank by donating £100 for each property sold at its upcoming April 7 sale.

Strettons says it is aiming for its April sale to be its biggest in recent memory. The whole company is coming together and supporting the auction department to ensure it can have as many properties as possible in the sale to raise as much money as possible for Bow Foodbank.

Bow Foodbank is a Tower Hamlets charity that operates two foodbanks, one in Bow and the other in Bethnal Green. They provide emergency food supplies to those in crisis due to financial difficulties.

During the pandemic, the necessity for food grew to such an extent that the charity needed to find new premises, their second relocation due to demand in recent years.

Strettons says it is delighted to partner with them to help provide essential items to those in need.

Andrew Brown, auction director of Strettons, comments: “Throughout Strettons’ 90 years, we have always supported people in the area, and we are all keen for this to continue in 2022 and beyond.”

“We are all aware of how our local community has been affected by the pandemic and the associated cost of living crisis, so we wanted to partner with Bow Food Bank to support the amazing work they do to directly help people in need.”

Strettons’ April sale takes place on Thursday April 7 at 12pm. For more information, please call Strettons on 0207 637 4000.

Buying a property at auction – the top tips

With the housing market showing little sign of slowing down, interest in auction properties is on the up.

The latest industry figures report that while overall the numbers dipped slightly in January, all the signs for February point towards a good number of lots being offered and sold.

With this in mind, Scott Hendry, director of auction relationships at specialist lender Together, says its own figures mirrored this market view with a noticeable rise in investors applying for finance to buy at auction last year. Its fundings were up in 2021, despite lockdown challenges of successive lockdowns.

Here, Hendry lists his top tips on aspects to consider when buying a property at auction.

1. Chose the right kind of property

We often find investors buying ‘fixer-upper’ homes at auction to do them up before selling or renting them out. Properties that are in a particularly poor state of repair may be deemed ‘uninhabitable’, for example, if the property lacks a working kitchen or bathroom, has structural problems or has previously been affected by subsidence.

However, these types of properties can be picked up for a discount at auction and, if the buyer is willing to put in the effort – and upfront costs - to bring them up to habitable standard, they can make decent profits from selling them or renting them out to tenants.

2. Make sure it’s a good investment

For those bidding at auction for buy-to-let properties, it’s critical they consider how to best maximise their rental yields. They should take into consideration factors such as the general area, schools, social amenities and transport links, while being mindful of the future capital growth of their chosen property.

Commonly, holiday lets may also make a good investment, given the boom in staycations over the past few years, particularly during Covid-related lockdowns. The tax rules are more favourable for short-term holiday lets, compared to traditional buy-to-let, and we are seeing a lot of interest in providing finance within this sector from potential investors.

3. Conduct your own research

Research is vitally important for anyone buying at auction and their first task should be to read and fully understand the legal pack which comes with each property lot. This contains documents relating to the property and is prepared by the seller’s conveyancer.

Investors need to make sure they’ve read the small print, as it’s often in these sections where surprises – such as special conditions of sale, covenants, restrictions and rights of access – are noted. Prospective buyers can request the legal pack in advance and ask their conveyancer to check it out as well.

4. Secure your financing

Its essential auction buyers arrange their finance in advance to work out exactly what they can afford to bid, and what it’ll cost. Usually, buyers have 28 days to complete the purchase and pay the balance they owe. However, rapid completions are not unheard-of and may mean they have far less time to get their finances in place.

The most commonly-used auction finance is a bridging loan, which lasts up to 12 months. Borrowers only repay the interest each month, and repay the initial sum borrowed (plus any fees) as a lump sum. This can be helpful if they need time to arrange long-term finance further down the road.

As well as offering personal and commercial mortgages and short-term finance, Together also provides specialist auction finance.

Hendry adds: “We’ve seen all sorts of properties appear in the catalogue over this time and have an open mind about the circumstances when we’re happy to lend – whether it’s an unusual property, is in a state of disrepair or you’ve got a very tight deadline.”

“Here’s where securing a bridging loan against the property for up to 12 months might be useful. This would allow you to complete the work they need to do and exit the short-term loan by selling the property – with investors expecting returns of up to 20% on the most successful renovations.”


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