How To Buy Renovation Property At Auction

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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 venture 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.

Property auctions are a fantastic place to view renovation properties, from habitable houses and flats to derelict properties and even the occasional completely abandoned house.

If you are confident that you can either complete the property renovation yourself or have 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 cheap properties in the UK 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)

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.

First you should decide on the kind of property you would like to find. It could be a countryside property or a perfectly livable Georgian house which needs some TLC. Narrowing your search down will yield better results when looking for suitable properties at auction.

One good resource is 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)

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 things like listed buildings consent (if applicable) and make sure there are no problems with dampness or other serious structural issues.

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)

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 intimidated by moving further afield. Looking for a renovation property for sale a little further away may be able to save you 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 but can make fabulous homes.


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.

Never begin any renovation or alterations to a property without first checking with your local authority.

Location is an important factor so if your property lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty there may be more 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 you should always check. This is particularly true for unusual properties and listed buildings.

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 underway.

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)

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