We have answered some of our most frequently asked questions about how to buy property at auction. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

What is a live-streamed Auction?

Our auctions are live-streamed via our website with bidding by telephone, proxy and online.  Potential purchasers can register on our website, provide their identification and securely register their debit card details before being authorised to bid, giving you security of sale.  All properties are sold subject to the usual auction conditions with an immediate exchange of contracts on the auction day and fixed completion date.

What happens if I can’t log in to bid online on the auction day?

If you have pre-registered to bid online you will receive an email from [email protected], you will need an Auction Passport Account (you must register with the same email address you provide to us for the system to identify you, otherwise you won’t be able to bid).   Please follow the link in the email to accept the terms and conditions and follow the instructions to ensure you are ready to bid.

On the day of the auction you can ‘Log in to bid’ from our homepage, follow the link in the email or click here to watch the auction live and join in the bidding for any lot you are interested in (do not bid on any other lots, share your log in details with anyone else or leave your devise unattended as all bids are legally binding).  If you are having problems logging in it is usually because your Auction Passport Account is in a different email address.  Try logging in from a different browser or log out, close all browsers/windows and follow the link again and enter the correct details.  If you have any further problems you can either phone EI Group direct, or you can contact our emergency help team on [email protected] or 0121 817 0740.  This is for emergencies only on the day of the auction and they will be dealt with in the order in which they arrive, general enquiries will not be dealt with until the day after the auction.

What is an online Auction?

An online property auction can start and end on any day, the dates and times will be clearly detailed on our website. Interested parties must open an account and register to bid. Once you have been authorised you can place your bids up to your maximum amount. You can see the other bids and adjust your bid up to the end of the auction if you wish to do so.

How do I create an online auction account?

To buy property at auction you will need to click the log in/create an account button on the online auction property you are interested in. You will need to submit your information and debit card details for payment of the deposit and administration fee, if you are successful (no payment will be taken unless you are the successful bidder). We will automatically undertake an AML (Anti-Money Laundering) check in order to approve you to bid. (The AML check will leave a soft footprint on your credit report but it should not affect your credit rating).

Are the properties available to view before the Auction?

Yes, the majority of properties are available to view.  We offer 360° video tours for the majority of vacant properties to give you an idea of the property before attending in person.  We include as many properties as possible on our viewing schedule with the times and dates listed on our website, Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket. You don’t need to make an appointment to attend these viewings – you can just turn up on the advertised time and day. Our staff are at each property for a maximum of 15 minutes before moving on to the next appointment so please arrive on time.

If a property states by appointment, please contact us on (0121) 312 1212 to confirm the date and time to attend.  However, please note that not all properties are available to view, particularly investment properties or properties in serious/dangerous states of disrepair, video tours will also not be available for these lots which you purchase at your own risk.

How do I know if there are any structural defects to the property?

We do not undertake any structural surveys and if you have any concerns regarding the structure, we recommend that you instruct your own structural survey before bidding on the property. Your surveyor can contact us for access arrangements.

Where can I view the legal pack before the property Auction?

It is essential that you read all the legal documentation for each property you are interested in, to fully understand the terms of your purchase and any costs that may be payable in addition to the purchase price.  We also strongly recommend that you ask a solicitor to read them on your behalf.  We upload all legal packs to our website as soon as they arrive from the seller’s Solicitors. They are all available to view free of charge (select the property from the properties page, and click ‘legal pack’ under the ‘lot information’).  You should also read the Important Information and Common Auction Conditions which are applicable to all auction lots.

Can I make an offer prior to the Auction?

Some vendors will consider offers prior to auction but they should be in excess of the guide price in order for them to be considered.  All offers will need to be made in writing to [email protected] once you have inspected the property (if applicable) and have read the legal pack. Please note that if an offer is accepted, you will need to exchange contracts and pay your deposit and administration fee in cleared funds before the Auction sale/end of the online property auction.

Can I get a mortgage on the property?

It depends on the individual property and factors such as the condition, structural defects and mining report can all have an impact.  We advise that you get your finances agreed and seek any legal advice before bidding at auction.  You can use your own finance/mortgage provider or if you don’t have someone in mind or you need to arrange your finances in a hurry, we are happy to recommend Together MoneyWhether you are having a mortgage or not, it is always recommended that you have a survey in advance of the auction so that you are aware of any defects that may exist and ask your solicitor to check the legal pack/searches. 

Will there be any changes to the catalogue entry?

There may be amendments to the catalogue particulars and we recommend that you keep yourselves updated regularly.  Please refer to the Addendum on our website which is updated as and when we are aware of any changes.  It also includes details of any properties that have been sold prior or withdrawn and won’t be offered. The latest version is always available on the properties page of our website or please refer to the individual property details for any updates (please note that any updates for online auctions won’t feature on the addendum and will be made direct to the property details).  We strongly advise that you check in advance of travelling to the auction and before bidding on any property.

What is a guide price?

The guide price is an indication of the vendor’s reserve price, being the minimum price the property can sell for on the day/at the end of the online auction. It doesn’t necessarily mean the property will be sold for this price as it depends on the level of interest which can increase the final selling price.

What is the reserve price?

The reserve price is confidential between the seller and the Auctioneer and is the minimum price that the seller is willing to accept.

Will the reserve price be the same as the guide price?

Not always. The guide price is an indication of where the reserve price might be set. If the guide price is a bracket figure, then the reserve price cannot be higher than the top end of the guide price, if the guide price is a fixed figure, then the reserve cannot be more than 10% above the guide price.  In some cases the reserve price can be lower than the guide price.

Can someone else bid on my behalf if I cannot be available during the Auction?

Yes, they will need to register to bid (either when they arrive in the auction room or remotely via our website), provide their identification, together with 2 forms of your identification and a signed letter of authority from yourself. You must inform them that if you default on the purchase they will be liable to complete the purchase themselves. For more information please click here.

Can I bid on a property which is to be owned in joint/several names?

Yes, but you must include their details as a purchaser when you register to bid, provide two forms of identification for yourself and for each person who wishes to purchase the property.  If you don’t provide all the necessary documentation in advance of the auction, as the bidder you take full responsibility, the property will go in your sole name and you will be legally obliged to complete the purchase. For more information please click here.

Can I bid on behalf of a company?

You can bid on behalf of a company if you are one of the shareholders and have 25% or more share capital.  If you own less than 25% share capital or you’re acting as an agent/employee on behalf of the company, you must provide a letter of authorisation, signed by each shareholder, authorising you to bid.  You must also provide identification for yourself and for each shareholders with more than 25% share capital. For more information please click here.

Can I buy a property if I’m a non UK citizen/resident?

Yes, but payment of your funds should come from a UK bank account (you will need to provide a recent bank statement as proof) and appoint a UK Solicitor who will need to email us at [email protected] to confirm that they have been appointed to act on your behalf.  You must also provide 2 forms of identification (certified as a true copy by a bank, solicitor or governing body in our own country) and you will need to transfer 10% of your maximum bid (subject to a minimum of £5,000) and administration fee of £1,680 inc. Vat which must clear in our client account prior to the auction sale.  This will be refunded if you are unsuccessful which can take up to 10 working days. For more information please click here.

What if I’m not available at the end of an online auction?

You can enter your maximum bid in advance of the end of the auction, the bidding will still increase in increments (usually £1,000) up to your maximum amount.

If I am successful in my bid, what deposit must I pay?

A 10% deposit of the purchase price or £5,000 whichever is the greater must be paid in cleared funds.  You must also pay the administration fee of £1,680 inc. Vat.

What if the purchase price is less than £5,000?

If you purchase a property for less than the minimum deposit of £5,000 then you pay the full purchase price plus the administration fee of £1,680 inc. Vat.

How can I pay the deposit if bidding in-person?

On the day of the auction, if you successfully purchase a property, you must pay your deposit and administration fee by debit card on the fall of the gavel. For lots offered on behalf of Birmingham City Council, you are required to pay the deposit and administration fee by banker’s draft which will be checked prior to your bid being accepted.

If any of your funds are being provided by a 3rd party such as a relative (i.e. not including a bank or financial institution), for AML purposes, you must also provide their details and ID when you register to bid.

How can I pay the deposit if bidding remotely?

If you have registered to take part remotely, as part of our registration process, you will need to submit your debit card details which will be authenticated and securely held with SagePay.

Please note, due to new legislation it is now a requirement that all online payments via SagePay are checked via 3D security. This is setup with your bank and will usually involve confirming your payment registration via text message or within your online banking app. Also, the button to register your details within SagePay will say ‘pay’, unfortunately we have no control over changing this but we can assure you that NO payment will be taken unless you are a successful bidder.

In the event that you make a purchase we will automatically take a payment from your registered card. You must therefore ensure you have sufficient funds in your bank account for the 10% deposit, subject to a minimum of £5,000 plus the administration fee of £1,680 inc Vat. Please note there is a maximum amount we can automatically take from your card and you must be available by telephone on the auction day to make a top-up payment if required.

If your funds are being provided by a 3rd party such as a relative (i.e. not including a bank or financial institution), for AML purposes, you must also provide their details and ID as part of the registration process.

If you are unable to register your debit card details for any reason (such as you are buying on behalf of a company and don’t have a debit card), please contact us to discuss your circumstances and what alternative option we are able to offer.

If you are buying as a non-UK resident, you will be required to transfer your deposit (10% of your maximum bid subject to a minimum of £5,000) and the administration fee of £1,680 (inc. Vat) to our client account in cleared funds in advance of the auction. This will be refunded if you are unsuccessful which can take up to 10 working days.

How can I pay the deposit if bidding in an online auction?

If you purchase a property in our online auction, a payment of £6,680 will automatically be taken from the card you registered at the time of creating your account. We will contact you after the auction to take payment of any shortfall.

What is the administration fee?

A buyer’s administration fee in the sum of £1,680 (£1,400.00 plus Vat) is payable on all lots immediately on the fall of the gavel/at the end of an online auction.  However, the administration fee can vary for Local Authority lots, please refer to the legal pack or speak to a member of staff for clarification.  Any further costs in addition to the purchase price will be detailed in the contract/special conditions of sale within the legal pack.

Are there any other costs to be paid in addition to the sale price?

When buying at auction it can be quite common to pay costs in addition to the purchase price, and these are added to the contact/special conditions of sale by the vendor’s Solicitor.  They can cover anything from search fees, legal fees, our fees, outstanding service charge or rent arrears, VAT and any costs associated with the property.  Please click here for further information. We therefore recommend that you instruct your solicitor to inspect the legal pack prior to you placing a bid in order that you are aware of all costs relating to your purchase.

Why is it necessary to take my photograph if I purchase a lot?

If you are bidding in-person, this is as an extra safeguard to our vendor(s), so we know exactly who has bid and is therefore legally committed to purchased the property.  This is an important part of our procedure and if you are not prepared to have your photo taken then please do not bid.

Why do you have to do an Anti-Money Laundering (AML) check?

It is a legal requirement that we undertake an AML check for all bidders, buyers and anyone providing funds for an auction purchase. The AML check will leave a soft footprint on your credit report but it should not affect your credit rating.

Do I need to arrange insurance for the property?

Upon exchange of contracts it is your responsibility to insure the property. Please speak to your insurance company to make the arrangements who will be able to advise you on the appropriate cover you require.

If I am the successful buyer, how long do I have to complete the sale and pay the balance of the monies?

Completion is usually 28 days from exchange of contracts but can vary depending on the seller’s circumstances. Please double check the contract/special conditions of sale for each property you are interested in purchasing.

What if a property does not sell by Auction?

If a lot does not sell, then we may continue to market the property for 2 weeks post Auction (depending on the vendor’s circumstances) and you may make an offer, however all offers will be under the usual Auction conditions.

If I do not complete the sale will I get my deposit back?

If you default from the sale, you will lose your deposit and administration fee and may be sued by the seller for the balance of the monies owed and for any loss they may have incurred. Please speak to our auction team for further advice.

What do I need to do to get ready for completion?

Please instruct your Solicitor as soon as possible after the auction so they can ensure everything is ready for completion. You will also need to put your Solicitor in funds and they will arrange to transfer the money to the vendor’s Solicitor on the day of completion.

Where do I collect the keys from on the day of completion?

We will arrange to release the keys once we’ve had confirmation from the vendor’s Solicitor that the property has completed. All keys must be collected from our Birmingham office. Please telephone us in advance of travelling to our office, to ensure we have had authorisation to release them. If keys are not available, then the purchaser will need to make their own arrangements for access.  You must provide photographic identification to prove you are the purchaser before the keys can be released.  If you wish for someone else to collect the keys on your behalf you must inform us by email [email protected] in advance and they will need to provide identification for you and themselves.

Can you keep my details for future Auctions?

Yes, please click here to register for our email updates to be the first to hear about our auction dates, properties and results.  If you need any more information about how to buy a property at auction, contact our team.

If you are looking for more information on property auctions or further advice about buying property at auction, please contact our auction team on 0121 312 1212 or click here to see how we can help.