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Auction: property sales method

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At auction property sales can be quicker and more profitable than selling through other methods such as an estate agent or private sale. Of course, that’s the best case scenario and it’s useful to assess the pros and cons of property auctions and selling property on the open market. How you sell your property depends greatly on your individual circumstances as well as personal preference.

Auction pros:

  • Sale is final – the winning bidder can’t back out, which means you won’t be gazumped * Bidding wars – there may be two or more people who really want to buy your property and enthusiastic bidding against each other can lead to a high sale price * Quick sale – an auction sale is not ‘subject to contract’, so you’ll get your money quickly * Lots of potential buyers – hundreds and even thousands of people access the larger auctioneers’ property database

Open market pros:

  • The property is on the market for an indefinite time, which means longer to find a buyer willing to pay the price you want * Bidding wars – this can still happen if you have more than one person interested in buying your property * Professional valuations – before you select an estate agent, get valuations of your property from several of them. The valuations you get may vary slightly, but you’ll be able to get a good idea of what it’s worth

Auction cons:

  • The sale is final – while you should set a reserve price you’re happy to accept, if the bidding only just reaches it you can’t change your mind * Bad luck – if your property doesn’t sell in the day, it will be disappointing and you’ll have to try in another auction which would delay the sale and cause frustration

Open market cons:

  • The sale is ‘subject to contract’ – once you have received an offer on your property, the sale isn’t guaranteed until the contracts have been signed which means the buyer can pull out
  • The estate agent – some are great, some aren’t. If you’re unlucky and end up with one who doesn’t market your property well or enthuse potential buyers enough, this could affect your chances of finding a buyer and/or getting a good price
  • Limited marketing – while the internet has revolutionised the housing market, not all estate agents use it as effectively as a marketing tool as some auction houses, and this reduces the exposure your property will get

At both estate agents and auction property sales can go either way, so use the method you’re most happy with and think will be best for your situation.