Costs for Selling a House at Auction
How much does it cost to sell a property at auction? Find out about the costs for selling your house at auction and how to save money by passing some of your costs to the buyer.
Updated: March 2020
How much does it cost to sell a property at auction? A guide for property owners.
In this guide
▷ Costs for selling your house at auction
▷ Passing your sale costs to buyer
▷ Negotiating commission with the aucitoneer
▷ Auction legal pack costs
▷ Other costs for selling a house at auction
▷ Costs for not selling at auction
▷ Cost/benefit analysis
▷ More auction help
► Next steps
▷ Property market update: March & April 2020
Last updated by Mark Grantham on 12th March 2020
Selling a property at auction costs less than most people think. The total cost is about the same you would expect to pay a traditional high street estate agent. There are 3 costs to consider when selling a property at auction:
(1) COMMISSION – The auctioneers commission is around 2% + VAT of the final sale price and that’s only paid when the property successfully sells.
(2) ENTRY FEE – Most auctioneers request an upfront catalogue/entry fee of around £200 + VAT or more, but it may be possible to postpone payment until after the property has successfully sold.
(3) AUCTION LEGAL PACK – The seller’s solicitor is responsible for preparing the auction legal pack at the cost of £200 or more, which is payable before the auction.
The starting rate for an auctioneer’s commission will usually be around 2% + VAT or more and that’s only paid when the property successfully sells. So if a property sells for £200,000 the commission payable to the auctioneer would be £4,000 + VAT.
The total cost for selling a house at auction includes a commission of 2% plus an entry fee of between £200 to £500 and the auction legal pack costing upwards of £200. Some costs can be passed to the buyer.
For higher value or particularly saleable properties the auctioneer might be prepared to come down a bit, but there is a lot of organising and marketing that takes place for the auctioneer to be able to justify their fee.
There will usually be a minimum selling fee of anything from £1,500 upwards – so if a low value property (such as a garage) sells for £10,000 the 2% commission rate will not apply, otherwise the fee would only be £200. Instead the auctioneer will charge the minimum selling fee.
TIP: Compared to some of the newer methods of selling, such as paying an online estate agent a fixed fee, selling a property at auction may seem relatively expensive. So it’s worth a quick cost benefit analysis to see if auction will pay off for you.
Most of these legal costs are not unique to selling at auction. When selling through an estate agent or privately the seller will also need to prepare legal documents for the prospective buyer. It’s only the searches (local authority search, water search etc) that are obtained by the buyer in the case of an estate agency sale, but by the seller in the case of an auciton sale.
If the property doesn’t sell at auction there will usually not be any costs or obligations to the seller, unless stated in the auction terms.
Competition – Property developers, amateur diyer’s and ambitious owner occupiers will compete to buy a property at auction in the knowledge they’ll be able to refurbish it cost-effectively and either sell on for a profit or live there themselves. The key word being compete. In an auction environment, where the price can only go one way (up) it’s the competitive bidding environment that drives the price up.
Transparency – In a closed/private sale environment, such as an estate agent sale (also known as a “private treaty” sale) the estate agent has a high level of influence over negotiations. If after a few months of marketing a property the estate agent tells the seller that £100,000 is a fair price, the seller will probably be inclined to accept an offer aroud that level. By keeping the property in the hands of one or two estate agents the the sale lacks transparency.
In fact, a highly lucrative market exists for property traders who purchase problem properties through estate agents one week and flip them at auction the next week – the properties are sold for considerably higher prices as “properties with potential” in the the transparent and competitive bidding environment that’s found at public auction!
Will the coronavirus affect my house sale at auction?
You might expect the coronavirus to put a dampener on property auction sales, but judging by recent auction sale results that’s certainly not the case. The March 2020 property auction results have been some of the best on record.
A recent article from Forbes magazine UK reveals an interesting statistic on why auction sale success is likely to continue: “…after several years of uncertainty over Brexit, and the recent election, buyers and sellers are refusing to put on hold their plans any further. This confidence looks set to continue as 69% of those surveyed responded that even if the coronavirus does become more widespread, they would not allow it to disrupt their plans.”
See a link to the full Forbes article below.
Property auction sales are not affected by virus control measures such as self-isolation or social distancing; buyers who might prefer not to attend the auction room on auction day will still have the opportunity to bid remotely (by proxy bidding or telephone bidding) which is a standard practice at auction anyway.
And as a seller, you don’t need to attend the auction room. But if you’re interested in seeing buyers compete to purchase your property on auction day you can view a live video stream online, it’s free and you don’t even have to register. All good auctioneers provide a live video stream service.
Coronavirus: How It Could Affect The U.K. Housing Market
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