Choosing an Auctioneer: 8 Simple Tips to Find the Best Auction House
If you have a property or land to sell you will want to get the best possible price for it. One of the best ways to ensure that happens is to sell it at auction.
In a rising market, sellers can benefit from the competition for properties at auction. Choosing the right auctioneer can ensure that your property is noticed by the right people in the right places.
So, how you find the best auctioneer for your property? Here are a few simple tips to consider:
1. Look for Local Knowledge and Contacts
The best auctioneers will have a team of staff with extensive local knowledge and contacts throughout the property industry.
If you are selling a residential home, their experts should understand what makes your property valuable, whether that is a good school catchment area, excellent transport links, aspects of the property itself, or local amenities nearby.
They will also have close links to local estate agents, so they understand the bigger picture of the local market, and can provide the best possible advice about valuation.
2. Explore Specialist Auctioneers
Some auction houses will specialise in certain types of property, such as residential homes or agricultural land, so it is worth taking the time to check the expertise of any firm you are considering.
Look for a specialist if that’s what you need to get the most for your property. Some auctioneers will have a team of staff, each with a different area of specialisation.
One member of staff may be an expert in selling commercial buildings, while another may focus on investment properties. These specialists may not be found locally, but could work for larger auctioneers who cover the whole of the UK.
To get an idea of the types of property that an auctioneer sells routinely, ask for copies of recent auction catalogues. Pay attention to the quality of information provided in the catalogue.
The number, valuation, and type of properties in the catalogue will give you an idea of how experienced the auctioneer is in selling property like yours.
If the auction house doesn’t have a catalogue, they may not have been established for a long time. You may need to check they are trustworthy (see tip 8).
3. Ensure Staff are RICS-Qualified
Auctioneers who specialise in property sales should have staff with qualifications from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
This qualification means they will be fully aware of all the rules and regulations around property and can advise you about any structural, boundary or legal issues that may be related to the sale.
4. Consider In-House and Online Auctions
Many modern auction houses offer two different kinds of auction: in-house and online.
A traditional in-house auction is scheduled at a set date and time, and prospective buyers look through the catalogue of stock on offer, view in advance and bid (in person, by phone, or online) on the day.
Sellers can benefit from the excitement of the auction room and the competition between buyers to obtain each lot.
Some auctions now offer Ebay-style online auctions, where buyers can browse the auctioneer’s catalogue online and bid on lots. These auctions have a time limit, and if the reserve price is not met the property will go on to be sold at a tradition auction.
The advantage of an online auction is that properties in demand can sell quickly and securely, with online bids as legally binding as those made in person.
5. Find Auctioneers who can Market Your Property Widely
All good auctioneers have links to estate agents, trade publications and property websites who can market your property to the largest possible audience.
This can mean placing advertisements in estate agents’ windows, buying classified advertisements in the specialist trade press or adding property images and information to the most trusted property websites.
All of these methods will make sure that anyone who might be searching for a property like yours knows when and where it will be auctioned. This increases the chance of a good sale.
6. Think about Location and National Reach
While it may be tempting to choose an auctioneer close to home, this may not always be the best decision for your property.
Some local auctioneers offer excellent local knowledge that can help your property sell for the best price. However, local auctioneers often hold auctions in smaller venues. These auctions will attract mainly local people, which may mean that the pool of buyers is limited.
National auction houses, on the other hand, will include hundreds of different properties from around the country in a single auction. The auction will usually be held in London and is likely to attract a larger number of buyers (though perhaps not as many people who know your local area).
Some national auctioneers have regional centres where they sell property from each area, but advertise all up-coming auction lots nationally. Their auction houses may be in easily accessible locations and for this reason they can attract a variety of buyers.
The auctioneer that you choose will depend on how important these factors are for the sale of your particular property.
7. Check out the Terms of Appointment
Another important factor to consider when choosing an auctioneer is their terms of appointment. There can be quite a bit of variation in the small print, so make sure you understand what you are agreeing to.
Some auctioneers will insist on being the only agent for your property before the auction, others will allow you to continue advertising it in a variety of places before the sale.
In some cases you may have to pay extra fees for commission, if the property sells early, or if the property does not sell at the auction. If the terms of appointment do not suit your circumstances, don’t be afraid to look for another auction house.
8. Pick a Member of NAVA
All reputable auction houses are members of the National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers (NAVA). All NAVA members have obtained a formal qualification and should have the knowledge and experience to provide an excellent service.
The NAVA website offers advice to sellers on finding an auctioneer, as well as a search function to help sellers find a NAVA-qualified auctioneer in their area.