Introducing John Francis Online Auctions

John Francis Online Auctions is a new, innovative and pioneering platform for buying and selling property.

It provides all the benefits synonymous with traditional auctions, including: speed and certainty of sale, transparency and zero risk of gazumping or double-selling, but with the added advantage of being able to bid pressure-free from the comfort of your own home or office via desktop, tablet or mobile phone.



A straightforward process from start to finish

In order to bid at John Francis Online Auctions you will first need to create an account by providing your contact details. You will be required to verify your email address, by clicking an activation link that we’ll send to you via email. Once you’ve created an account you can ‘watch’ lots that you’re interested in (you’ll be kept up-to-date throughout the auction cycle), as well as gain access to the legal packs. In order to place a bid on a lot you will need to complete the bidder registration steps, as detailed below.

Please note, the first time you register to bid you will also be asked to verify your mobile number and upload certified copies of your photo ID (e.g. driver’s licence or passport) and recent proof of address (e.g. utility bill or council tax bill dated within the last 3 months). This is required so we can easily keep in touch and helps us confirm your identify in the event of you purchasing a lot. 

To Register on our Website - click Auctions, Next Auctions and View Lots, select a property (view lots) and a property will show with a screen to register.


Accept terms

Ensure you read, understand and accept the terms and conditions

You will be asked to read and accept our Online Auction Terms and Conditions. Additionally, there may be specific documentation relating to the sale of the property you’re registering to bid on that will need to be read and accepted before you are able to bid. 

Once accepted, you will receive a copy of the document(s) via email for your own records.


Bidder security

Register your credit or debit card for the bidder security

In order to bid online you will be required to register a credit or debit card for the bidder security deposit. We use Stripes who provide a secure, online card registration facility, and they will attempt to place a ‘hold on funds’ on your account for the bidder security amount (often known as a ‘payment shadow’ as no money is taken at this stage).

On the fall of the electronic gavel, the winning bidder’s card will be automatically debited for the bidder security amount, whilst all the unsuccessful bidder’s cards will have their shadow payments released (this can take several days depending on the card provider). For more information about this process please read the detailed explanation at the end of this document.


Auctioneer review

Final step – auctioneer review

Once you have completed the bidder registration steps, John Francis will review your registration to bid. We may contact you to obtain some additional information and request proof of funds, so that we can electronically verify your identity with a credit reference agency-this is a quick and simple process which leaves a ‘soft footprint’ and doesn’t affect your credit score. You will be notified by email as soon as you have been approved to bid.


Due diligence

Recommended due diligence before bidding

In general terms, you are strongly advised to have viewed the property and taken professional advice as to its condition and suitability. You should also ensure that you have thoroughly read and understand the legal pack and any other associated documentation available online, and take proper legal advice accordingly. Finally, understand the contract you are entering into is legally binding and also the financial commitment that you will be liable for should you be the successful purchaser. 


Guides and reserves

Understand the guide price and reserve price

What is a Guide Price?

A Guide Price is an indication as to where the Reserve is currently set. It is not necessarily what the auctioneer expects to sell the lot for, and should not be taken as a valuation or estimate of sale price. The reserve will not exceed the Guide Price by more than 10% if it is a single figure Guide Price, and if a Guide Price range is quoted, the Reserve will fall within that range.

What is a Reserve Price?

The Reserve is the minimum figure that the Auctioneer is currently authorised by the vendor to sell the property for. Please note that Reserve is liable to change throughout the course of marketing. The Auctioneer reserves the right to lower the Reserve during the auction to a level that matches the existing highest bid. In the event that there were no further bids, the bidder who placed that ‘highest bid’ will be declared the purchaser at the end of the auction process if Reserve has been met.



Stress-free bidding from the comfort of your own home

When the auction opens, you will be able to place bids in line with the pre-determined bid increment levels, using the bid increase (+) and decrease (-) buttons provided. Having set your preferred bit amount and clicking the ‘Place Bid’ button, you will be asked to confirm your bid at which point it will be placed.

Every time you submit a bid you will be clearly shown whether your bid was successful, and a full list of all bids is displayed on-screen at all times.

Maximum (proxy) bids - for Online Registered Buyers

You are not restricted to placing a bid at the minimum bid amount, but can instead increase your bid and place a maximum (proxy) bid in the system. By setting a maximum bid, the system will automatically bid on your behalf to maintain your position as the highest bidder, up to your maximum bid amount. If you are outbid, you will be notified via email so you can opt to increase your bid if you so choose.

How proxy bids work with the reserve price

Virtually every lot is sold subject to a reserve price (the minimum price that the auctioneer is authorised to sell for on the day). When your submit a maximum bid, the actual bid placed by the system will depend on where the reserve price is in relation to your maximum bid, as defined below.

If your maximum bid is below the reserve price

  • The system will place an immediate bid at your maximum bid amount.

If your maximum bid is at or above the reserve price

  • The system will automatically increase your bid to be at the reserve, and will only bid again on your behalf if you are subsequently outbid by another bidder (up to your maximum bid amount).

  • If another bidder has already place the same maximum bid or higher, they will be the highest bidder at your maximum bid level and the system will notify you via email so you can place another bid.

NB: Your maximum bid is kept completely confidential – its presence or amount is not disclosed to the auctioneers, vendor or any other bidder.

Bidding example:

  1. The current bid on a lot is £90,000. The reserve price has been set at £100,000 (not disclosed.

  2. Tom wants to bid. The minimum bid amount is £91,000 but Tom decides to place a maximum bid of £97,000. This is below the reserve prices, so the system places a bid for Tim at his maximum bid amount and he becomes the highest bidder at £97,000.

  3. Jane logs on to bid. The minimum bid amount is £98,000 but Jane place a maximum bid of £105,000. The system automatically increases Jane’s bid to meet the reserve and she is now the highest bidder at £100,000. However, Jane still has a proxy bid of £105,000 “in the system” which will automatically bid on her behalf if anyone else places a bid.

  4. Tom is notified that he has been outbid. If no more bids are placed Jane would win the lot for £100,000.

  5. Tom places a bid of £101,000, and Jane’s proxy bid instantaneously outbids him at £102,000 as this is the lowest bid required to make her the highest bidder.

  6. Tom then places a maximum bid of £105,000. The current bid jumps to £105,000 with Jane as the highest bidder as she placed a proxy bid at that amount before Tom did.

  7. Tom then places a bid at £106,000 and wins the lot as there are no other bids and it is above reserve.



Bidding extensions

The bidding extension window eliminates ‘bid sniping’

Unlike eBay, bid sniping is impossible on our online auction platform. All auctions will close as per their advertised ‘Auction End Date’, however if a bid is placed within the final 60 seconds of the auction’s scheduled end time – remove and replace with online bidding? The auction will be extended by an additional 60 seconds – known as the ‘bidding extension window’.     


If a bid is placed in the bidding extension window, the countdown clock will immediately reset to 60 seconds again, and the auction will only finish when an entire 60 second bidding extension window passes without any further bids being placed, i.e. 60 seconds of ‘bidding silence’. This ensures every bidder has a fair and equal opportunity to place another bid.


Do not leave your bid to the last few seconds. It gives you no advantage, you risk your bid not being received by the server in time and you could lose the lot to another bidder. Bidding is based on the server time and not your device which could be up to 2 seconds behind the server.


Fall of the gavel

Legal position when you’ve won the auction

We offer property for sale by immediate, unconditional contract. This means that the fall of the electronic gavel constitutes an exchange of contracts between the buyer and seller. Both parties are legally bound to complete the transaction – usually within 28 days following the close of the auction but this will be confirmed within the legal documentation.

Post auction

We’ll guide you through to completion

If you are the successful purchaser, we’ll be in touch following the online auction to discuss the next steps. The system will take the bidder security amount form your registered credit or debit card (all underbidders will have their hold on funds released); the contract will then be signed on your behalf with copies being sent to both your solicitor and the seller’s solicitor.

Payments explained

How the payment registration works

In order to bid online you are required to submit details of a credit or debit card. When you register your card, we will be placing a hold on funds on your credit card (or bank account if you use a debit card), to the value of the bidder security deposit. This means that the amount we’re holding will affect the available amount you have to spend on your card, as the amount will be ring-fenced and you will not be able to spend it until the hold has been released.

If you are the winning bidder then the amount will be taken in full from your registered card or bank account immediately following the close of the auction. If you are not a winning bidder then the hold on funds will be released from your card, but be aware that it can take anything form a few hours up to several days for the hold to be released (dependent on the card issuer). If in doubt, contact your card issuer. Please be aware that you will not have access to the funds until the hold has been released.


Please see two example payment registrations below:

Scenario 1:

Tom has a credit card with an overall limit of £5,000, and a current available balance of £4,500

  • Tom registers to bid on an online auction lot which has a ‘buyer’s premium’ of £2,500 applicable

  • Tom registers his credit card – a hold on funds is placed on the card to the value of £2,500

  • The available balance to spend on the card is now £2,000

  • Tom goes out shopping and buys a new laptop for £1,500

  • The available balance on Tom’s card is now only £500

  • Tom bids on the online auction but is unsuccessful and doesn’t win. The auction closes and the system automatically instructs SagePay to release the hold on funds from Tom’s card

  • The available balance on Tom’s card will revert to £3,000 once the ‘release’ has taken place


Scenario 2:

Jane has a debit card for a bank account with a current balance of £2,750

  • Jane registers to bid on an online auction lot which has a ‘buyer’s premium’ of £2,500 applicable

  • Jane registers her debit card – a hold on funds is placed on Jane’s bank account, to the value of £2,500

  • The available balance in Jane’s bank account is now only £250

  • Jane goes shopping and buys a new mobile phone for £300, pushing her £50 into an overdraft

  • Jane bids on the online auction and wins the auction. The auction closes and £2,500 is immediately taken from her bank account

  • Jane remains £50 overdrawn

In all cases, 10% of the purchase price (subject to a minimum fee of £2,000 – whichever is the greater amount) and should it exceed the bidders security deposit already held, will become payable to the auctioneers within 24 hours of the auction ending


Auctioneer’s pre-sale announcements

You are required to pre-register if you are intending to bid on any lot at auction to comply with money laundering regulations, full details of which can be found on our website. These terms and conditions apply to all bidders.


This catalogue and website contains details about properties being sold at auction. Those details are subject to change up to and including the day of the auction. Please check our website regularly at and look out for any additional materials available on the day of the auction, in order to stay fully informed with the up to date information.

  1. The lots will be offered in the order as shown in the catalogue and on the website.

  1. An addendum to the catalogue and Conditions of Sale are available on our website and legal pack portal.

  1. This addendum is an important document providing updates and corrections to the auction catalogue.

  1. John Francis will always endeavour to inform  prospective  purchasers  of changes that may have taken place after the catalogue was printed when such changes are brought to their attention.

  1. Prospective purchasers are deemed to have read the addendum whether they have done so or not.

  1. You are bidding on the basis that you agree to our terms and conditions and have checked the General Conditions of Sale and the Special Conditions of Sale relating to each individual lot.

  1. The Special Conditions of Sale together with the title documentation have been available for inspection on our legal pack portal in the immediate period leading up to auction date.

  1. You are bidding on the basis that you have made all necessary enquiries, particularly in respect of lots the auctioneer has not inspected or had initial sight of tenancy details, and have checked the General and Special Conditions of Sale and are satisfied that you fully understand their content. Please note that some legal packs may contain additional fees (such as the requirement for the seller to pay the vendor’s legal fees).

  1. If you have a query in respect of any of the lots within the catalogue please email or call 01267 221554 prior to submitting your bid and we will endeavour to answer your query.

  1. Guide Prices shown in the catalogue are merely an approximation and the auctioneer’s opinion only. They should not be regarded as anything more. (see definition of Guide Prices below)

  1. Please bid clearly if bidding by telephone and do not delay.

  1. At the fall of the virtual hammer online the successful bidder will be in a binding contract of sale. We will then sign the Memorandum or Contract of Sale on your behalf and a 10% deposit subject to a minimum of £2,000 whichever is the greater will become payable and taken from the Auction Entry Fee funds supplied. Should your telephone/internet bid exceed this amount, the balance of the deposit must be forwarded to the auctioneers promptly. The deposit can be a bank transfer to our client account, bankers draft, solicitor’s client account cheque, personal cheques or by debit card. We do not accept cash.

  1. A successful purchaser will also be required to pay a Buyer’s Administration Charge of £840 including VAT (unless stated otherwise within the property description in the catalogue) by debit card or bank transfer.

  1. Completion of the sale and payment of the balance of the purchase money is 28 days after the auction unless the conditions of sale provide otherwise.

  1. Unless otherwise stated all property is sold subject to a reserve price whether declared or not (see definition of Reserve Prices below).

  1. Please note that purchasers will not be entitled to keys or access to properties until completion of the sale. If access is required it may be arranged through the auctioneers with the express permission of the vendor.

  1. John Francis hold regular property auctions throughout the year.

  1. John Francis operate a substantial dedicated mailing list free of charge to applicants. If you wish to be placed on the mailing list, please give your details to one of our representatives.


Guide Prices, Reserve Prices and Buyer’s Fees


An indication of the seller’s current minimum acceptable price at auction. The guide price or range of guide prices is given to assist consumers in deciding whether or not to pursue a purchase. It is usual, but not always the case, that a provisional reserve range is agreed between the seller and the auctioneer at the start of marketing. As the reserve is not fixed at this stage and can be adjusted by the seller at any time up to the day of the auction in the light of interest shown during the marketing period, a guide price is issued. This guide price can be shown in the form of a minimum and maximum price range within which an acceptable sale price (reserve) would fall. A guide price is different to a reserve price (see separate definition). Both the guide price and the reserve price can be subject to change up to and including the day of the auction.


Reserve Price

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


Buyer’s Fees

Should your bid be successful you will be liable to pay a Buyer’s Administration Charge of £840 including VAT (unless stated otherwise within the property description in the catalogue) upon exchange of contracts to the Auctioneer. We strongly recommend all purchasers check the special conditions of sale as other fees may also apply to individual properties.

Proxy bidding form for online auction

Terms & conditions for proxy, telephone or internet bidders 

Common Auction Conditions


Money Laundering Regulations                                                                                 

Due to the new changes to Money Laundering regulations for buying and selling at auction, we are now required by Law to ID check everyone who intends to bid at auction.

What the new regulations mean for you as a bidder at the auction:

  1. In the case of an individual bidding at auction, we require 2 forms of certified ID, one photographic and one proof of residence – a list of acceptable documents can be found below.

  2. In the case of an individual acting on behalf of a third party individual, we require 2 forms of certified ID, one photographic and one proof of residence from both parties – a list of acceptable documents can be found below.

  3. In the case of an individual acting on behalf of a company we will require details about the company including ownership information on the ultimate holding company and ultimate beneficial owners of the company, including current addresses and dates of birth.

  4. If you are unable to attend in person or will be sending us a remote bidding form, we will require certified ID that has been identified by a professionally recognised individual. This will need to be provided to us in advance of the auction date.

  5. Your ID will be kept on file in line with Anti Money Laundering Regulations. Any documents provided to us will be recorded and copied for audit purposes as part of our Anti Money Laundering obligations. We will also electronically verify your identity, Lexis Nexis OR ETSOS will undertake a search with Experian for the purposes of verifying your identity. To do so, Experian may check the details you supply against any particulars on any database (public or otherwise) to which they have access. Experian may also use your details in the future to assist other companies for verification purposes. A record of the search will be retained.

In all cases we will require proof of funds.

Prior to bidding you must provide 2 forms of ID, one photographic and one proof of residence – a list of acceptable ID documents can be seen below. This is a requirement in order to register to bid. 




Ref No


Valid Passport with MRZ (Machine Readable Zone – two alphanumeric lines on photo page as verifiable.)


Valid full UK photo driving licence.


Valid EU/EEA/Switzerland photo driving licence.


Valid EU/EEA/Switzerland national Identity Card.


Valid UK Armed Forces ID Card.


Valid UK Biometric Residence Permit (When copying include both sides.)


Valid Blue Badge scheme (disabled pass with photo)


Valid Freedom Pass


Valid Local Authority Bus pass


Valid full UK Driving licence (Non photo, paper) issued before 1998


Department for Works & Pensions letter confirming pension details including National insurance Number dated within the last 12 months




Ref No


Valid full UK photo driving licence.


Valid full UK Driving licence (Non photo) issued before 1998


Local authority council tax bill (dated within the last 12 months).


UK Bank / Building societies statements/bills showing activity, dated within the last 6 months. Including account number and sort code as verifiable.) (Accept internet printed.)


UK mortgage statement (dated within the last 12 months) (Accept internet printed.)


Utility bills dated within the last 6 months including – Electricity bill (with MPAN number – as verifiable.) Landline, Gas, Satellite TV, Water. (Accept internet printed.) (Not mobile phone bills.)


Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Inland Revenue (IR) Coding / assessment / statement (dated within the last 12 months) with National Insurance number – as verifiable.


Department for Works & Pensions letter confirming pension details and NI Number – as verifiable. (Dated within the last 12 months).


List A – Photographic evidence of Identity List B – Evidence of Residence

ID can be approved as follows:

  • We will certify them free of charge if we have met you in person

  • Solicitors, the bank, an accountant or other professional body can certify the relevant ID

  • The Post Office can verify up to 3 × forms of ID for a charge.

All certified ID can be sent to us at or uploaded to our bidding portal

The purpose of John Francis obtaining this information is in order for us to carry out customer due diligence in compliance with the regulations. There are no exceptions and John Francis takes its obligations very seriously.


Thank you for your understanding and helping us comply with these regulations.