UNDER THE HAMMER
Are you looking for a hassle-free way to buy a property and possibly bag a bargain to boot? Auctions could be the answer.
They are becoming increasingly popular ways to buy and sell homes, businesses and development projects.
A canny buyer can snap up a bargain for less than market value while a seller can virtually guarantee a quick sale.
The advantages are obvious: no estate-agent spiel, no last-minute let-downs, no gazumping, no chains.
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Once the hammer goes down on a property, it is a done deal, a legally binding contract. The buyer pays 10 per cent on the night and expects to complete within 28 days.
The auction room can provide rich pickings for the residential buyer or seller, says Kal Sangra, of Shonki Brothers.
Those buying a home will find themselves able to target properties priced to sell rather than sit in estate agents' windows for months on end.
Meanwhile, committed sellers who price their property well should see it sold and may also benefit from competition bidding up its value.
Kal's the auctioneer at an auction on Thursday, at Leicester Racecourse in Oadby, when 26 properties are going under the hammer.
He said: "We're expecting a lot of interest – so much so, that we have had viewings on all the properties and one has already been bought."
For four weeks before the auction, people have the chance to view the properties going under the hammer during viewings held in the week and on Saturdays too.
Shonki Brothers has also organised legal packs on each lot – so if a potential buyer sees something they like, they can download the pack and send it to their solicitor.
"There are lots of advantages to auctions," explains Kal. "For the seller, it automatically generates interest. You are not relying on one person spotting your house on the internet or advertised by an estate agent. You do not necessarily lose money because you don't know what will happen at auction. Depending on how the bidding goes, you may get better than market value."
Properties are typically put up for sale at auction because the seller wants them shifted.
Sometimes sellers will be landlords or property portfolio owners who simply want to cash in and take advantage of the ease of selling and swift transaction that the auction room brings.
Often properties are on the market due to bankruptcy, repossession or to clear debts. In these instances this should mean the seller is willing to accept a discount.
Be aware, though, that buying at auction does not guarantee you are paying below the odds.
In fact, a decent property can go for more than it would do in the estate agent's window if a number of buyers start bidding it up.
Up to 300 people are expected at Thursday's auction. They must each bring two forms of ID to be registered as a bidder.