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Do you have a property to sell or let?

The decision to sell a property often comes with the subsequent dilemma: Should one opt for the traditional sales method or venture into the world of property auctions? Over the years, property auctions have gained momentum, and for many sellers, they have become the preferred method of sale.

Here’s a comparative look at the benefits of property auctions versus traditional sale methods.

What are the Likely Timescales and Speed of a Property Sale?

Selling Your Property By Auction:

One of the most significant advantages of property auctions is the speed at which properties can be sold. Once the hammer falls, the deal is legally binding, which means there’s no protracted negotiation or chain of buyers to wait for. Most auction properties are completed within 28 to 42 days from the auction date.


A Traditional Property Sale:

A traditional property sale can drag on for months. From initial listing to completion, there are multiple stages, including marketing, viewing, negotiation, and sometimes renegotiation. Delays can occur due to various reasons, such as chain breaks or changes in buyers’ financial conditions.


What Is The Certainty of Sale By Each Method:


Sale of Property By Auction: A Binding Commitment and Reduced Uncertainties

The property auction realm offers a unique approach to real estate transactions. Distinct from traditional sales, auctions possess a dynamism and clarity often sought by sellers and buyers alike. One of the most significant advantages lies when the auctioneer’s gavel descends, signifying the end of the bidding and the commencement of a binding agreement.

When the gavel falls, it’s more than just a ceremonial end to the bidding war; it solidifies the buyer’s commitment. At this pivotal moment, the buyer becomes contractually obligated to proceed with the purchase, having already signalled their intent through bidding. The process starkly contrasts conventional property sales, where verbal or even written offers might only possess the same degree of commitment once contracts are formally exchanged.

This feature of property auctions is particularly advantageous for sellers. Unfortunately, in the traditional market, a significant proportion of property deals do not progress to completion. These fall-throughs can occur for various reasons, from a ‘change of heart’ or unexpected survey results to difficulties securing financing. Such uncertainties lead to financial implications and take an emotional toll on sellers who have to restart the selling process afresh.

In the property auction environment, buyers are generally well-prepared. They arrive with a clear understanding of the auction’s terms and conditions, often having done their due diligence on the property in question. They would have typically surveyed the property, reviewed any legal packs, and arranged their finances before placing their bid. This preparation ensures that when they do bid, and consequently when they win, they are wholly ready to finalise the purchase.
Moreover, the swift nature of property auctions from listing to completion discourages any potential change of heart. The process is streamlined, eliminating prolonged waiting periods which might otherwise allow buyers to reconsider or be influenced by external factors. The buyer’s immediate financial commitment, often as a non-refundable deposit post-auction, further cements the transaction.


Sale of Property By Auction vs Traditional Property Sale: Complexities of Commitment

While promising lucrative returns, real estate transactions also come with their fair share of uncertainties. The route one takes to sell or purchase property can significantly influence the outcome. The dominant methods of property auctions and traditional property sales have unique strengths and weaknesses. Here, we delve into the inherent uncertainties of traditional property sales juxtaposed against the comparative certainties provided by auctions.

Traditional Property Sale: The world of conventional estate agent-led sales has long dominated the property landscape in the UK. This method, familiar to many, allows for a more extended dialogue between the buyer and seller, often mediated by the estate agent. While this dialogue provides room for negotiation, which can be advantageous in certain scenarios, it also introduces variables that can jeopardise the deal.
Deals within the traditional property sale framework are susceptible to disruptions. These disruptions can emanate from:

Changing Minds: The extended period from an initial offer to a contract exchange gives buyers ample time for reflection. This duration, coupled with external influences or personal circumstances, can lead to a change of heart. A buyer’s initial enthusiasm might wane, or they might find another property more appealing, resulting in them retracting their offer.

Financial Hiccups: A buyer’s financial circumstances can shift between making an offer and finalising the sale. Mortgage applications can be declined, or initial offers from lenders can be reduced upon more in-depth scrutiny, rendering the buyer unable to meet the agreed price.

Survey Results: After an offer is accepted, buyers usually commission a property survey. Discrepancies between the perceived and actual condition of the property can lead to renegotiations. In some instances, structural issues or significant required repairs unearthed by the survey can deter buyers altogether.

Sale of Property By Auction: Auctions offer an antidote to these uncertainties due to the fast-paced nature of property auctions and the immediate commitment required to streamline the process. Once the auctioneer’s gavel falls, marking the acceptance of the highest bid, the buyer is contractually bound to the purchase. This immediacy curtails prolonged deliberations and potential change of heart.
Buyers at auctions typically enter the fray well-prepared. They’ve already assessed the property, examined the legal packs, and secured their finances. There’s little room for surprises, and the non-refundable deposit post-auction further solidifies their commitment.

While traditional property sales offer flexibility and the potential for nuanced negotiations, they also bear inherent uncertainties. Auctions, on the other hand, trade this flexibility for speed, transparency, and certainty. Both methods have their rightful place in the UK property market, and the choice between them should align with the seller’s or buyer’s priorities, risk appetite, and the specific attributes of the property in question.

Birmingham man remote bidding on a auction property within the West Midlands.


How Transparent is The Property Sale Process with Both Methods?


Transparency in Property Transactions

The property market is a web of complexities, and one of the chief concerns for both buyers and sellers is transparency. A transparent process not only ensures fairness but also provides confidence and clarity to all involved parties. Both auctions and traditional property sales offer differing degrees of transparency, each with its advantages and shortcomings.

Property Auction Transparency: Auctions are a showcase of transparent bidding contests.

Open Competition: Every bid is public in the auction room and online property auction platforms. There is no behind-the-scenes negotiation, no shadowy offers; everything is out in the open. This public bidding system ensures that every interested party has an equal chance to secure the property.

Immediate Feedback: Sellers can witness the demand for their property in real-time. They can gauge interest levels, observe competitive bidding, and ultimately feel more connected to the outcome of the property sale.

Set Terms and Conditions: Before the auction, all participants are provided with a comprehensive legal pack detailing the property’s specifics. This upfront clarity ensures bidders are well-informed, reducing the potential for disputes or renegotiations post-sale.

Finality Of Property Sale: The fall of the gavel represents an unambiguous end to proceedings. This clarity of conclusion brings with it a surety that is often missing in traditional sales.

Traditional Property Sale: The more familiar method of property sales in the UK, the conventional route offers a different experience.

Negotiated Deals: Unlike the open forum of an auction, traditional sales often involve one-on-one negotiations between the buyer (or their representative) and the seller, typically mediated by an estate agent. While this can allow for more tailored deals, it lacks the complete openness of the auction process.

Offer Ambiguity: Offers made on properties are usually relayed through estate agents. While professional agents maintain integrity in this process, sellers don’t witness firsthand the enthusiasm or hesitation of potential buyers.

Flexible Terms: While this flexibility can be an advantage for some, allowing for bespoke arrangements between buyer and seller, it can also introduce uncertainties. Terms can be adjusted, and conditions can be appended as the sale progresses, sometimes leading to confusion or disputes.

Extended Timelines: The elongated nature of traditional sales, with their various stages of viewings, offers, and negotiations, can sometimes muddy the waters. Delays or unexpected developments can introduce uncertainties, sometimes leaving parties in the dark about the sale’s progression.

In conclusion, property auctions take the lead when it comes to transparency. Their open, competitive nature, combined with the immediacy of the process, offers a crystal-clear picture for sellers and buyers alike. However, with their more nuanced approach, traditional property sales can be advantageous for those looking for a more tailored, albeit potentially less clear-cut, property transaction. Both methods, each unique in their approach, have carved their niche in the diverse landscape of the UK property market.


Potential for Higher Final Price For Property:


Potential for a Higher Final Price For a Property: In The Property Auction Arena.

In the bustling world of property sales, sellers are perennially pursuing strategies to maximise returns on their property. One avenue that has consistently demonstrated its ability to harness a property’s potential value is the auction platform. Let’s delve deeper into why and how property auctions in the UK can often lead to a more favourable final price.

Competitive Environment: At the heart of an auction is competition. With multiple interested parties in one room, either physically or virtually, the desire to outbid competitors can drive prices higher than initially anticipated. This real-time competition can propel a property’s price as bidders engage in the contest, each trying to secure their desired asset.

Transparency Ensures Confidence: Given the open nature of bidding at auctions, participants can directly observe the interest levels in a property. This visibility assures bidders of the genuine demand for the property, often encouraging them to stretch their budget a bit more, knowing that others value the property similarly.

Clear Timeframes Stimulate Action: The fixed timeline of an auction creates a sense of urgency. Bidders are aware that if they don’t act promptly, they might lose out on the property. This urgency can nudge participants to make higher bids, fearing they might miss out on a potential gem.

Broad Marketing Reach: Leading auction houses in the UK employ comprehensive marketing strategies to showcase their listed properties. From digital platforms to print media, properties gain exposure to a wide audience. This extensive reach can draw in a diverse group of potential bidders, each bringing their valuation perspective, leading to a robust bidding process.

Well-Informed Bidders: Prior to the auction, detailed information about the property, including legal documents, surveys, and other pertinent details, is made available. Well-informed bidders are more likely to commit with confidence, often leading to higher bids as they are fully aware of the property’s potential and nuances.

Immediate Commitment: The requirement for an immediate deposit after winning a bid ensures that participants at the auction are serious buyers. Having done their research and secured their finances, these genuine buyers are often prepared to commit higher amounts to ensure they clinch their desired property.
In summary, the environment and structure of property auctions in the UK are conducive to realising potentially higher final prices for properties. While there’s never a guarantee in any sale method, the competitive, transparent, and well-organised nature of property auctions creates a fertile ground for sellers to achieve a price that genuinely reflects the market’s property valuation.


A Traditional Property Sale:

In the realm of UK real estate, traditional property sales have always been accompanied by the age-old dance of negotiation. While this process can bring both excitement and trepidation, it’s essential to understand the underlying dynamics that see prices frequently being negotiated downwards.

Initial Offer Tactics: It’s a common tactic among buyers to commence negotiations with an offer below the asking price. Often more conservative than their maximum budget, this initial bid is deployed as a strategic manoeuvre. It not only provides them with a starting point but also gives them an insight into the seller’s flexibility and eagerness to sell.

Psychological Leverage: Buyers aim to anchor the negotiation process by tabling a lower offer. The anchoring principle rests on the premise that people inherently give disproportionate weight to the first piece of information they receive. Thus, by setting a lower initial price, buyers hope the subsequent negotiations will orbit around this anchor, even if the property was initially priced higher.

Room for Compromise: By initiating with a price below their maximum spend, buyers provide themselves with a cushion to navigate the negotiation waters. It gives them the latitude to increase their offer incrementally, creating a perception of compromise and goodwill, which can be instrumental in securing a property deal.

Capitalising on Market Dynamics: Buyers feel empowered to push for a more favourable deal, especially in a buyer’s market, where the supply of properties outweighs demand. They are aware that sellers might be keen to close a sale and, therefore, be more receptive to a lower offer.

Property Appraisals and Surveys: Buyers typically commission a property survey once an initial offer is accepted. If this survey uncovers issues not previously disclosed or acknowledged, it can serve as a tool for further negotiations. Buyers may use any negative findings to justify reducing their offer, banking on the fact that the seller might want to avoid the hassle of relisting the property.

Strategic Delay: Some buyers employ the tactic of a strategic delay. By stretching out the decision-making process or showing hesitance, they hope the seller might become anxious and be more open to accepting a reduced offer.

Estate Agents’ Role: Agents keen to secure a sale and their commission might sometimes encourage sellers to consider lower offers, mainly if the property has been on the market for an extended period. Their expertise in gauging market temperature and buyer intent can influence the negotiation direction.

The downward negotiation trajectory frequently witnessed in traditional property sales is a blend of psychological tactics, market dynamics, and strategic manoeuvres. While it can be challenging for sellers, understanding the intricacies of this process is essential.


Property Sale Timelines: Auction vs. Traditional Sale


Time is often as valuable as the property itself within the UK’s real estate milieu. Understanding how the sale timeline varies between auctions and traditional sales is crucial for sellers to manage their expectations and plan ahead.


Timescales By Property Auction:

Defined Schedule: From the onset, auctions operate within a pre-determined framework. Sellers are apprised of the auction date well in advance, allowing them to prepare all necessary documentation and make any required arrangements.

Shorter Marketing Window: Properties destined for auction are typically marketed intensively for a few weeks leading up to the auction date. This concentrated effort ensures maximum visibility in a short span, negating the need for prolonged exposure.

Immediate Commitment: Once the hammer falls, the winning bidder is usually required to pay a deposit, often amounting to 10% of the purchase price. This immediate financial commitment substantially reduces the risk of sale fall-throughs.

Swift Property Completion: Post-auction sales generally have a quicker route to completion. The legal framework set out before the auction ensures that most administrative tasks are expedited, leading to a typical completion timeline of 20 to 28 days after the auction.


Traditional Property Sale Timescales:

Initial Uncertainty: The traditional route lacks the prescriptive timeline of auctions. While estate agents might provide estimated timeframes based on market conditions and property specifics, these are often fluid and subject to change.

Prolonged Marketing Phase: Unlike the condensed marketing window of auctions, traditional sales can see properties being marketed for extended periods, sometimes spanning months, depending on market dynamics and property appeal.

Negotiation Delays: Price negotiations, integral to traditional sales, can introduce temporal uncertainties. The back-and-forth between buyer and seller, often mediated by estate agents, can extend the sales process, especially if there’s a chasm between the asking price and the offers tabled.

Extended Legal and Administrative Procedures: Traditional sales usually instigate property surveys, legal checks, and mortgage approvals after the acceptance of an offer. Each of these stages can introduce delays contingent on unforeseen issues, buyer or seller circumstances, or third-party inefficiencies.

Risk of Fall-Throughs: Traditional sales are susceptible to fall-throughs, where deals collapse due to a myriad of reasons – buyer financing issues, negative survey results, or mere change of heart. Such setbacks can mean the property has to be reintroduced to the market, restarting the timeline.

In summary, while property auctions offer a streamlined, time-bound pathway to property sales, traditional methods, with their inherent flexibilities, come with a degree of temporal unpredictability. Sellers venturing into the UK property market must weigh these timeline dynamics and other factors to choose the most suitable route. While the traditional property sale has its rooted presence and familiarity, auctions are breaking the mould, offering sellers an avenue that brings speed, certainty, and sometimes even unexpected windfalls.

Choosing between the two boils down to the seller’s priorities – is it speed they’re after, or are they seeking the opportunity for extended negotiation? Both methods have their place in the UK property market, with neither being universally ‘better’ than the other. It’s about aligning method with motive, ensuring the choice resonates with the seller’s aspirations and the property’s unique proposition.


Looking To Explore Your Best Route To Market Your Property?


Speak To The Bond Wolfe Property Experts

Bond Wolfe stands at the forefront of the UK’s digital property auction landscape, distinguishing ourselves as the premier online property auctioneer. Our track record is unmatched: in 2022 alone, out of 1,110 properties showcased, 972 found new owners. This impressive 88% success rate led to a staggering £150 million in property sales, taking our cumulative sales since revitalising our auction branch to a near £518 million.

Our expert property team, celebrating over 500 collective years of hands-on experience, consistently breaks records and earns accolades. Their expertise spans the breadth of the property market, from residential and commercial properties to mixed-use estates and investment opportunities. Notably, we’re the singular auctioneer in the Midlands, boasting dedicated professionals for every property type.

This expertise extends to unique properties, from public houses, churches, police precincts, or care homes.

Bond Wolfe ensures a blend of time-tested values with the innovation of modern technology. Our committed team, driven by passion and experience, prioritises the well-being of both clients and their properties.
Conducting seven major auctions annually, in addition to our continuous online auction presence, we offer sellers unparalleled flexibility in choosing when and how to market their assets.


Maximising Your Properties Exposure Before Sale

Every property benefits from a minimum of 3 weeks of exposure. With the guidance of our internal media division, we strive to attract maximum interest, ensuring that every property garners its true value through spirited bidding.

Bond Wolfe is a multi-faceted property firm specialising in property auctions and estate agency. This year, we’re delighted to mark our 40th anniversary. Many of our dedicated and seasoned team members have been with the company for over 30 years.

Our main office is located in the heart of Birmingham City Centre. Since 1983, we’ve had the privilege of representing the region. Moreover, we serve numerous clients throughout the UK and internationally. Bond Wolfe boasts a robust history of selling, letting, and managing properties nationwide. Our diverse client base ranges from major corporate entities and private investors to smaller organisations and individual landlords.

If you would like to find out more about selling property by auction, whether this is for residential or commercial property auctions, please click here to arrange a free no obligation auction appraisal or call us on 0121 312 1212.  

One of our auction valuers will take the time to talk you through all of your selling options so you can make an informed and knowledgeable decision based on your individual circumstances.

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