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Property auction terminology unlocked

When dealing with property auctions in any capacity, you will likely be faced with some unfamiliar words, phrases, acronyms and expressions.

To shed some light on these, we have unlocked some popular auction terminology below.

Legal packs


A legal pack is simply a collaboration of important documents of the property or land that is going to be sold. The pack is prepared by the sellers’ solicitors and contains all the necessary and legal documentation like the title deeds, special conditions of sale, land registry search, leases and other pertinent documents.

Many people worry that the legal pack is some sort of specific, auction-only need but in fact, this pack is exactly the same as what is prepared through a private treaty sale. The only difference between the two is that when selling via auction the pack is made before auction day and when by private treaty the pack is made once an offer has been accepted. 

Sellers – Yes there is generally a fee for the construction of this legal document however it is no different than a private treaty sale as the cost would be included in your solicitor fees.

Buyers – It is advised that you read the corresponding property or land legal pack before committing to any lot purchase. Many request a legal pack after viewing a property which is the point; they decide the lot becomes a potential buy, but they will not move forward in their intent to purchase until they have read through the legal pack documents. It is also recommended that a solicitor reviews the pack, for your piece of mind.  

Buyer’s premium

People often hear all these separate fee’s and wonder if buying at auction really is as profitable as others say, and honestly, do your due diligence and it is.

A buyer’s premium is a separate charge alongside the hammer price of a lot. The winning bidder of the property or land will be required to pay this premium as well as the property deposit (usually between 5-10%) when the hammer falls on the day of the auction.

This is also when the exchange of contracts takes place.

Proxy bidding

A proxy bid allows those who can’t attend the auction in person to be able to bid on the phone through one of the Auction Houses representatives.

This process of buying would require you to complete a registration form which will advise the representative as to your maximum bid on your chosen lot. Said representative will then bid on your behalf up to your maximum bid. However, If the bidding in the room exceeds your maximum then your proxy bid would end.

If you are successful and your bid is the highest, a representative will sign the contract on your behalf in order to exchange. Once the auction has finished a member of the team would be in touch to give you the great news. You would then be required to pay your deposit and any administration/legal fees or buyer’s premium.

Telephone bidding

A telephone bid allows those who can’t attend the auction day in person to still be able to bid. Before any bids can be made you will be asked to complete a registration form which will give the auctioneers authority to sign in your absence on the exchange of contracts after the fall of the gavel if you are successful in becoming the highest bidder.

You would then receive a call, shortly before the lot you are bidding on commences.

As the auctioneer begins the sale a representative will continue to bid on your behalf until you say otherwise. If you were successful and the highest bidder of the lot, a member of the team would be in touch to give you the great news, in which you’ll then be able to pay your deposit and buyer’s premium.

Remote/internet bidding

Can’t make it to an auction room but still want to be part of the action? Bid remotely from your phone or laptop against ‘in room’ bidders. All registrants would be required to go through a vetting process, pre-auction. This registration process would typically include your personal details, verification of ID and address, proof of funds and you’re your signature on all bidder documentation provided by the auctioneer.

On the day of the auction, you would be able to login to the necessary website in order to bid on your chosen lot(s). The auction would generally be live-streamed so you can see and hear the auctioneer and bid at your convenience without having to be present in the auction room.

Un-mortgageable property

What conditions define the reasons for a property being classed as ‘un-mortgageable’?

  • Properties with structural issues – this is the most common reason and the biggest reason for a structure problem is damage due to subsidence

  • Properties that are ‘uninhabitable’ – this could be because the property is derelict, unsecure or not weatherproof. Either way banks will not lend on this type of properties

  • No kitchen or bathroom – these cause the property to be seen as ‘uninhabitable ‘

  • Properties of non-standard construction – this refers to properties that are not built from brick or stone with a slate or tiled roof. Other buildings may be considered ‘un-mortgageable

  • Short-lease property – a short lease is generally considered to be those with under 75 years left. This is around the point lenders will refuse mortgage applications

  • Sitting tenants – a lifetime tenancy means that a person holding one - a life tenant - has the right to live in their property, indefinitely, until death (It is called an assured tenancy). Typically, a tenant who is over 60.

  • Other reasons a property may be seen as un-mortgageable include severe damp problems, dry or wet rot, properties at risk of flooding, problematic commercial properties, properties that have never been registered with HM Registry and property with Japanese knotweed.

If a mortgage cannot be obtained on a property it can still be purchased via cash. With some of the points listed above there is great potential to add maximum value to a property, say, without a kitchen or bathroom so sometimes being a cash buyer is beneficial.

*Connect UK Auctions offers an interactive service. Watch the auction, live with the auctioneer and presenter, solely for the benefit of the viewer. All lots will be introduced and sold via the traditional method of auction but with an enhanced, interactive experience.

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