How To Buy Renovation Property At Auction


Renovation property is popular is the UK
Buying a renovation property at a UK property auction is a great way to either save a lot of money or make a good profit. Photo © Alan Murray-Rust (cc-by-sa/2.0)

How To Buy Renovation Property At Auction

Buying a renovation property at auction can be a risky or very profitable property investment. However, if you get the right deal and complete the renovation successfully you could end up with a property that will be worth much more than the original purchase price.

There is no need to feel intimidated by the property auction process because it is a simple operation to navigate your way through the process as long as you do some research about any potential problems.

If you are confident that you can either complete the property renovation yourself or have at your disposal a team of workers that you trust, buying and restoring an auction property can be a satisfying project that will ultimately make you money.

There are plenty of properties available for conversion including old farm buildings and antiquated bungalows. Not all buildings sold at auction have serious problems although most need some renovation work to make them suitable to live in or for resale.

Photo of an empty property to renovate
Many properties which are suitable for renovation are already in very good structural condition. Photo © Neil Theasby (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Further Property Resources:

Finding Renovation Property At Auction


If your budget is low you may be looking for a cheap renovation property at auction so where do you start? There are several places where you can begin your search.

One good resource is the local estate agents who often have a list of run down properties that they do not include in their window display. You can also look for repossessed property for sale, which are often in need of renovation, as many of these appear at property auctions.

Many properties that have recently become empty due to the death of the owner are in need of modernisation and a lot may not have been advertised. Additionally, executors who wish to sell a run down house quickly often put them up for auction.

Photo of a derelict farmhouse for sale
Some properties are suitable for renovation but require a substantial budget. Be prepared before attending a property auction. Photo © Tom Jolliffe (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Online auction houses and those with a high street presence are other sources of renovation properties. Many auctions happen either monthly or quarterly with properties being listed in a catalogue well in advance of the auction date.

The more resources you try the better chance you have of finding a good renovation property at auction.

UK Property Auctions:

Preparing For The Property Auction

It is something of a gamble to attend an auction without doing any preparation. Even if you have found and set your heart on a particular property it is still a good idea to look at the catalogue and see if any other property could meet your needs.

Never bid on a property without physical a viewing where you can find out more details and check out the condition of the property and surrounding location.

Unless you are planning to do the renovation yourself take along a builder, architect or civil engineer so that you are getting some professional advice from the outset. You should also ask for a home buyers report or employ the services of a professional property surveyor.

You should also consider:

You can also compare the property guide price with other renovation property at auction. A successful bid at a property auction is often down to diligent research and keeping a cool head.

Photo of a listed renovation property for sale
Buying a listed building as a renovation project can present its own set of problems. Check matters with your local authority. Photo © Des Blenkinsopp (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Renovation Property FAQ

Why Are Renovation Properties Sold At Auction?

Many properties in need of renovation are put up for auction because the seller wants a quick sale. Sale at auction is usually completed within 28 days. Properties that have been repossessed are also often sold at auction and there are some properties that are in need of extensive renovations and have not sold on the open market.

Can I Get A Mortgage On A Renovation Property At Auction?

If the property has had a survey you may be able to secure financing to buy at auction. You will need a 10% deposit available on the day of the auction. Some banks and finance companies specialise in providing mortgages for auction properties.

Are There Any Additional Fees For Renovation Properties At Auction?

In addition to the 10% deposit you may be liable for a buyers fee when buying a renovation property at auction. Each property is issued with a legal pack and any special conditions and fees will be published in the pack. Consulting a solicitor to check out the legal pack will ensure there are no unpleasant surprises.

What Is The Best Type Of Renovation Property To Buy?


Location is often more important than the type of building when buying a renovation property at auction. However, you could find a really unusual building like a chapel or a water tower that would make a great home.

Alternatively, you could opt for a piece of land for sale at auction with an outbuilding which could be renovated, such as a rural property for sale, property in the countryside or even a remote cottage in Wales.

In recent years many buyers have been less intimated by moving further afield. Looking for a renovation property for sale a little further away can save a lot of money.

For example, in recent years there has been an upsurge in buying rural property in Scotland which may even come with a piece of woodland for sale or extra land such as a smallholding. Another viable option is to look for coastal properties for sale, which often require renovations.

Good resources for renovation properties:

Photo of a property for renovation in the countryside
buying a rural renovation property often means you will get a lot more for your money. Photo © Christine Johnstone (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Do I Need Planning Permission To Renovate An Auction Property?

Planning permission is granted by the local authority for extensive changes to property. Location is an important factor so if your property lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty there may be restrictions on what can be done.

Small renovations like changing windows and doors, changing bathrooms or kitchens and building a porch do not usually require planning permission but it is best to check with your local authority.

For extensive renovations planning permission is usually required. If you are buying a renovation property at auction and it already has planning permission, be sure to check the expiry date. Planning permission can run for three years but an extension may be allowed if the work is under way.

How Difficult Is It To Renovate An Auction Property?


Getting planning permission is the first step towards making a success of a property renovation. The next action is to make a plan about how and when the necessary work will be carried out.

If not already carried out, a structural survey should be done before work commences. you may also need other types of surveys, such as a professional damp survey or a survey for flood insurance.

Renovating a country cottage
Renovating a country cottage can be very rewarding although before purchase, planning and surveys need to be completed. Photo © Philip Barker (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Remedial work on problems like damp and drainage should be at the top of your list of first tasks. After carrying out any major rebuilding, fixing the roof and installing insulation, you can fit new doors and windows.

Following that the cosmetic work can start with re-plastering, fitting a new kitchen and bathrooms and final decoration. Remember to have a budget in place although it is wise to have a contingency fund for property renovations.

Finally, once you have bought your renovation property at auction, if it is likely to be lying empty for some time, make sure you have proper insurance cover for an empty property, as these are vulnerable to theft and vandalism.

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