House hunters turning to auctions over estate agents


SCOTS searching for new homes are opting to find them at auction houses rather than the sales market.

Market experts at G1 Property Group say they have noticed increasing numbers of house hunters across the country heading to auctions to find their new home, rather than relying on estate agents and traditional sales.

Wilsons Auctions, a company which conducts property auctions across the UK, have noted a 25 per cent shift between buyers in Scotland registering to buy a property rather than invest.

They said that in 2008/2009 the register was made up of 65 per cent investors and 35 per cent private buyers.

In 2010/2011 that has changed to 60 per cent private buyers and 40 per cent investors.

Paul Bott, property manager at Wilsons Auctions, said: “This shift coincides with a drastic fall in the availability of mortgage products, particularly for the buy to let and first time buyer market.

“You can get a good deal at an auction, it’s transparent, you know what the next person has bid where as when you are dealing with estate agents and doing things that way you don’t know what the previous person has bid.

“You could have paid £10,000 more than the last bidder and never know.”

He added that there has been an increase in private instructions where vendors with property on the open market have become frustrated with a lack of offers or with offers repeatedly falling through.

G1 Property Group has had many of their customers admitting that they were attracted to auction sales due to convenience and price.

Dylan Short, managing director of G1, said that he expected the trend will accelerate this year as more people seek competitive prices and a quicker sale.

He added: “The price difference between buying a house on the open market and purchasing one at an auction can prove to be enormous but it really depends on the luck of the draw.

“I’ve seen high end properties go for relatively low prices and that suits a lot of people as they don’t want the hassle of getting a mortgage or dealing with an estate agent.

“There are a wide range of people attending auctions, as everyone from first time buyers to investors and property developers to professional builders wants a good, hassle free deal.

“I don’t see their popularity dwindling any time soon as value for money is at the forefront of many buyers right now.”

Dylan adds that although auction houses may seem like an easy option, would-be purchasers should still seek advice from a qualified expert before considering buying a home.

He said: “Although there are certainly good deals to be made when it comes to buying a property at auction, it is also easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment if you do not know what you are doing.

“You should always speak to a respected property company or agent and ask for their advice about the auction process and what to expect.

“The more information you get before attending an auction, the better informed you will be when it comes to purchasing a property.”