The Under the Hammer column with FSS

Properties with planning permission for conversion are always popular at auction. This premium office building on East Parade in Harrogate has planning approval for conversion to apartments. It will be auctioned by FSS on March 8 with a guide price of �525,000.
Properties with planning permission for conversion are always popular at auction. This premium office building on East Parade in Harrogate has planning approval for conversion to apartments. It will be auctioned by FSS on March 8 with a guide price of �525,000.

What Properties Are Suitable for Auction

Auctions are ideal for those who want to sell and complete quickly, within a pre-arranged timescale.

This property on Mayfield Grove in Harrogate realised �300,000 with FSS.

This property on Mayfield Grove in Harrogate realised �300,000 with FSS.

Contracts exchange when the hammer falls and the seller can have the money in their bank within weeks, avoiding the hassle of haggling over price and the risk of buyers pulling out at the last minute.

So, are some properties more suited to auction than others? We asked auctioneer Richard Smailes at Harrogate property consultancy FSS for his expert view.

Three bedroom homes

“Most people wouldn’t expect traditional three bedroom homes to be on the auctioneer’s wish list,” says Richard. “The reason they are is because these types of properties are always in high demand, both by people looking for a new home and property developers and investors who know that there are plenty of tenants looking to rent them.

This three bedroom home on Wayside Avenue sold for �405,000 at auction.

This three bedroom home on Wayside Avenue sold for �405,000 at auction.

“We have had excellent results with two, three and four bedroom houses in any condition, from those needing extensive modernisation to ones that are ready to move into.

“People are often quite surprised to hear this because they have preconceived ideas about auctions being for run-down or hard to sell properties.”

Development opportunities with planning permission

“Development land and property comes to auction with or without planning permission,” Richard explains. “Some buyers prefer bidding for lots without planning permission but many like to know that the potential for redevelopment has already been explored.”

In need of modernisation

“FSS is Harrogate’s leading letting agent with more than 1,000 managed rental properties on our books at any one time,” says Richard.

“This means we have an excellent network of property developers and landlords, many of whom are on the lookout for new projects.

“We keep them informed of upcoming auctions and arrange to show them round any properties that may interest them before auction day.”

Unique properties

“Having worked in the Yorkshire property market for many, many years and taken hundreds of homes, land and businesses to auction, I am used to valuing even the most unusual properties,” Richard says.

“Whilst securing an accurate valuation is never a problem, demand for more individual properties is always a little harder to predict than for traditional family homes.

“This is where the competitive atmosphere of the auction room can really benefit sellers and lively bidding can push the price up significantly on the day.”

The right property at the right price

Most types of property are suitable for auction but the key to success, says Richard, is in the valuation.

“A realistic guide price generates interest and this is crucial to achieving the best possible price.

“The auction room is a competitive room with lots of genuinely interested buyers, which is the secret to success and we have a very strong track record for exceeding the guide price, sometimes by as much as 50% or more.”

See for yourself

FSS holds property auctions throughout the year at Pavilions of Harrogate, at the Great Yorkshire Showground. Anyone can go along to watch and Richard says this is the best way to see how an auction works and what properties do well. The next auction is at 3pm on Thursday 8 March.