Buyers Guide to Auctions


Auctions offer a whole range of different and exciting property opportunities and, most importantly, certainty!

It may seem a daunting process to buy at auction because it is something that most people are not used to. However, if you follow these guidelines you will find an auction very straight forward and an enjoyable process. Our offices and staff are also always available for guidance and to help you meet any queries or concerns.

Common Questions

Can I attend an auction to see what happens?

An auction, of course, is called a public auction because it is open to the public and therefore anybody is most welcome to attend. In fact we recommend that anyone thinking of buying by this method should attend auctions in advance to familiarise themselves with the process.

How do I find out about auction properties?

Call any of our offices to be entered onto an auction mailing list or, alternatively, look on the auction section of our website which also shows the dates of forthcoming auctions. In addition, we advertise our auctions widely within the regional weekly press and these will state when our auctions take place. Please make a special note of the days, dates and times as they can vary.  Our auctions for 2017 will be held at Parc Y Scarlets, Llanelli on Thursday 9th March, Wednesday 10th May, Wednesday 5th July, Wednesday 27th September and Wednesday 29th November, but please check with any of our offices prior as these details are subject to change.   

How do I view a property?

Contact the office that is handling the sale to arrange a viewing as you would for a normal property by private treaty. You should, however, expect that most auctions are carried out on block viewings and you will therefore be with other viewers. Our staff will be in attendance to answer any queries. One piece of advice, however, is to make your own mind up on the property viewing and do not be swayed by others who may try to use the opportunity of a block viewing to put you off. You can be sure that they are probably only doing that as they are very interested in the property and want to deter competition!

What is a price guide?

The guide price is given to assist buyers in deciding whether or not to pursue a purchase. It is usually, but not always, the provisional reserve range agreed between the seller and the auctioneer at the start of marketing. As reserves are not fixed until up to the day of auction, guide prices may be adjusted. Any changes in price guides, for whatever reason, will be posted on our website and in our auction room as an “addendum of sale”. Guide prices can be shown in the form of a minimum and maximum price range within which the reserve will fall or as a single price figure. Where a single price is quoted, the reserve will fall within 10% of the guide. The guide price is not the reserve price and both guide price and reserve price can be subject to change up to and including the day of auction.

What is a reserve price?

The reserve price is the seller’s minimum sale price at auction. It is the figure below which the auctioneer cannot sell. The reserve price is not disclosed and remains confidential between the seller and auctioneer. Both the guide price and reserve price can be subject to change up to and including the day of auction.

Can I make an offer?

Buyers may make an offer prior to auction and sellers may accept those offers. However, no offer will be considered without full proof of funds being provided and is unlikely to be accepted before the legal pack is available for inspection. No property will be withdrawn from the auction until exchange of contracts has taken place so please check on the day of the auction with a John Francis Office to see if the property is still available as we as agents will not be held liable for any abortive costs.

What if I cannot attend the auction?

If you cannot attend the auction there are two options for you. You can either bid by telephone and a representative of John Francis will relay your bids to the auctioneer in the room. Or alternatively, you can ask John Francis to accept your proxy bid and we will bid for the property on your behalf and for the best price. Such offers are not disclosed to the seller. Telephone and Proxy Bidding Forms are available on this website.

If you decide to ask a friend or a relative to bid on your behalf then to protect them as well as yourself, you should use the Proxy Bidding Form on our website and your friend or relative, if successful, should produce the Proxy Bidding Form to show that they are bidding on behalf of another. Otherwise, it will be deemed they will have purchased the property!

If you intend bidding by proxy, you will need to provide us in advance verified proof of ID, proof of funds and two separate cheques made out to John Francis, one for the Buyers Premium of £300 plus VAT and the other for approximately 10% of the maximum purchase price that you intend bidding, together with your Proxy Bidding Form. We will then register you as a bidder and give you your Bidding Number.

Proxy bidders will also need to provide their ID as well.

Should I have a survey?

We would strongly advise you to have a survey prior to the sale by a qualified person. If you are uncertain who to use, our offices can give you names of different companies. We will obviously arrange access for them to carry out their inspection outside the set viewing times.

What is a legal pack?

The legal pack contains the documents prepared by the seller’s solicitors which include the Contract, Special Conditions of Sale and Land Registry documents. In short, it is all the information that your solicitor will require to be able to advise you on the suitability of the property for you to purchase. Legal packs can be viewed and printed off free of charge via our website or we can post them to you subject to a charge of £20 (inclusive of P&P).

How much of a deposit will I need?

You will need to bring a cheque or banker’s draft to the auction for a deposit of 10% of the purchase price (subject to a minimum of £2,000) made out to John Francis. CASH IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!

Is there a Buyers Premium?

You will need to bring a separate cheque to the auction made payable to John Francis of £300 plus VAT.

Do I need to provide my ID?

In order to comply with Money Laundering Regulations, all bidders MUST bring to the auction TWO forms of identification (one photographic and one proof of address per person) to present at the registration desk prior to the auction.  FAILURE TO DO SO MAY PRECLUDE YOU FROM BIDDING.

Tips for buying at auction

  • Get organised as early as possible
  • Arrange a mortgage or have a survey at the earliest opportunity
  • Ask your solicitors to check the legal pack
  • If you are not happy or uncertain about anything, then do not bid

Good luck. It is certainly an experience you will not forget and most probably one you will enjoy greatly!!!