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In the ever-evolving landscape of property investments, one strategy continues to stand the test of time and prove its worth: property auctions. 

In this article, we'll delve into the reasons why purchasing property at auction can be a wise and profitable choice, highlighting how it is less reactive to market conditions, has quick completion timescales, and is often cheaper.

The Strength of Auctions in a Volatile Market


The property investment market has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the years. Economic fluctuations, geopolitical events and other unforeseeable factors can cause instability in the traditional property market. However, property auctions remain a beacon of stability, offering investors a less reactive environment in which to secure their investments.

Property auctions are largely insulated from market turbulence due to their unique nature. When you bid for a property at auction, you're not engaging in a prolonged, back-and-forth negotiation with a seller. Instead, you are participating in a competitive, transparent process that levels the playing field for all participants. Auctions are straightforward and objective. The highest bidder wins, eliminating the subjective elements that can come into play in traditional negotiations, such as personal biases or negotiating skills. The property's price is driven by market demand, not individual sellers' whims, which means you're not at the mercy of someone's shifting financial circumstances.

Furthermore, the competitive atmosphere of an auction tends to create a fair and objective price for the property. It eliminates the need for protracted negotiations, which can be time-consuming and frustrating. With property auctions, the final sale price is determined by the bidders, ensuring that the property's value aligns with the prevailing market conditions.

The Need for Speed: Quick Completion Timescales

Traditional property transactions often suffer from delays, red tape, and endless negotiations. In contrast, property auctions are renowned for their swiftness and efficiency.

On average, the completion process for auctioned properties takes just a fraction of the time compared to traditional sales. First For Auctions takes pride in facilitating quick property transactions and we attribute our speed to several factors:

- Fixed Timelines: Property auctions are governed by fixed timelines. Once the auction hammer falls, the buyer and seller are expected to complete the transaction within a predetermined period, usually 28 to 56 days. This clarity eliminates the uncertainty associated with traditional transactions, where completion dates can be elusive.

- Reduced Chain Risk: Property chains can be a major source of frustration in traditional property sales. In contrast, auctions usually involve properties with no onward chain. This significantly reduces the risk of the deal falling through due to complications further down the line.

- Serious Sellers: Sellers at auctions are usually highly motivated to sell, whether due to financial reasons, a desire for a quick sale, or other factors. This motivation can work to the buyer's advantage in terms of price negotiations.

- Focused Buyers: Auction participants come prepared to make a purchase. They've done their research, inspected the property, and have their finances in order. This level of preparedness ensures a smoother, quicker transaction.

- Binding Contracts: When the hammer falls at an auction, the buyer and seller enter into a legally binding contract. This commitment reduces the potential for last-minute haggling or attempts to renegotiate the terms.

- No Gazumping or Gazundering: Gazumping (sellers accepting a higher offer after accepting one) and gazundering (buyers lowering their offer just before exchange) are common problems in traditional property transactions. These issues are largely eliminated in auction sales due to the binding nature of the process.

Economical Investments: The Cost-Effective Advantage

One of the most enticing aspects of purchasing property at auction is the potential for substantial cost savings. Auctions offer excellent opportunities for investors featuring a very wide range of property prices, and excellent value can be found especially in properties that require work.

- Discounted Prices: On average, properties at auction are sold at a 20-25% discount compared to their market value. This discount is often a result of sellers' motivation to secure a quick sale, or the nature of distressed properties that frequently make their way into auction catalogues.

- Reduced Transaction Costs: The streamlined nature of auction transactions also means lower transaction costs. With fewer delays, less negotiation, and minimal back-and-forth between parties, you can avoid the hidden expenses that often creep into traditional property deals.

- Economic Efficiency: In addition to cost savings, property auctions offer economic efficiency. By reducing the time spent on the market, investors save on holding costs, such as mortgage payments, property taxes and maintenance expenses.

- Cash Buyers Advantage: Auctions often attract cash buyers who have a significant advantage in securing properties at lower prices. If you're a cash buyer, you can make the most of this advantage and reap even more substantial cost savings.

Property auctions often feature a wide range of property types, from homes to commercial spaces, land, and unique investment assets. This diversity allows investors to build a well-rounded property portfolio with varying asset classes. Auctions often feature exclusive listings that may not be available through conventional channels. This gives investors access to properties that might otherwise be out of reach.

Some properties at auction may be considered distressed or in need of renovation. These properties can often be acquired at a significant discount, providing an opportunity for investors to add value and increase their return on investment. If you secure a property at a lower price than its market value, you may gain instant equity. This can be leveraged for future investments or used as collateral for other financial endeavours.

Whether you're seeking value, variety, or efficiency, auctions offer a range of advantages for the savvy investor.

Customers have told us that property auctions provide a compelling investment strategy that offers stability in volatile markets, swifter completion timescales, and substantial cost savings. Whether you're a seasoned property investor or just dipping your toes into the property investment market, auctions are a tried and tested avenue.

* Daniel Gale is Head of Auctions at First for Auctions *

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