The Under the Hammer column with FSS Property

The competitive atmosphere of a packed auction room can make sure you get the best price.
The competitive atmosphere of a packed auction room can make sure you get the best price.

Expert Q&A: Why should I sell my property at auction?

Property auctions are held every few months in Harrogate by local auction house and estate agent FSS Property. We asked auctioneer Richard Smailes for his top tips on selling at auction.

This land in Knaresborough sold for seven times the guide price at the March property auction.

This land in Knaresborough sold for seven times the guide price at the March property auction.

Why should I sell at auction?

There are three big reasons why people choose to sell at auction: Speed, certainty and competition.

Auction is the fastest way to sell land and property and when the hammer falls, contracts have exchanged which removes the uncertainty that is often involved in selling a property. When it comes to sale day, several competing bidders in the same room means we can achieve the best possible price.

How quickly can the sale go through?

Auctioneer Richard Smailes.

Auctioneer Richard Smailes.

The fall of the auctioneer’s hammer means the sale is legally binding and everything can then be completed within just a few weeks. A typical time line would be to list a property for auction four to six weeks before the sale date and have the money in your bank four weeks after the auction.

At FSS we market our auction properties heavily before the event and carry out viewings so that bidders have all the information they need to proceed on the day.

Will I get less for my property if I sell at auction?

The vast majority of our auction properties sell at or above the guide price and we regularly achieve selling prices of 40 to 50% above the guide price. At last month’s auction one piece of land in Knaresborough sold for seven times the guide price – one of our best ever results.

The secret to success is an accurate valuation. We have been carrying out auctions in Harrogate for 25 years so we have excellent local knowledge and our valuations are realistic and designed to generate as much interest as possible.

How do I know if my property is suitable for auction?

At FSS we are experienced in selling houses by auction and private treaty (the usual way a house is sold through an estate agent). When we come to value your property we will know immediately what the best route to market will be.

Recently we have had a lot more “ready to move into” properties being listed at our auctions simply because it is a way to achieve a quick sale.

We have had excellent success with these and some have even sold prior to auction when we have received favourable offers in advance.

Other types of property that do well at auction include those in need of refurbishment or with scope for redevelopment or extension. There are always a good number of property developers and investors at our auctions looking out for exactly these types of properties.

Residential and commercial property that is currently let to tenants is attractive to auction buyers because they can assess the return on investment before working out their upper bid limit.

The next FSS Property Auction is at Pavilions of Harrogate on Thursday, May 23 at 3pm. To arrange a property valuation call 01423 501211.