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Surge in property auction interest, but don’t forget your due diligence!

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

In the last few weeks, there has been a noticeable and significant rise in buyers approaching Wilson Browne Solicitors to assist them with potential property purchases at auction.

What has been quite staggering though is the volume of people who think they only need a solicitor if they are successful at auction.

The reality is that if you have a successful bid at auction, then at the moment the gavel comes down and your bid is successful, you are then contractually bound to purchase. What this means is that the opportunity for a full and detailed due diligence exercise is lost. Or rather, whilst you can instruct someone to instruct due diligence it is too late to do anything about it!

Obviously there are some protections for a buyer, such as if there has been misrepresentation or things that have not been disclosed properly, which was of course a point considered in the recent SPS Groundworks case.

That being said though, English property law has always worked on the basis of caveat emptor, meaning “the buyer beware”. That is no different at auction and in fact it would be fair to say it is heightened at auction because the chance for due diligence and having a thorough review to understand what you may or may not want to bid on, is very much an exercise that should be conducted prior to the auction.

Nick Green wrote at the end of March for the Unbiased website about the soaring popularity at property auctions and there were some quite staggering statistics in that article. A couple of months further on and that popularity seems to have been maintained. It is not just in the residential arena, but commercial property auctions are still seeing significant interest.

The key bit of advice from our point of view is that, whether you are a seller or buyer, you get your legal team on board at the earliest opportunity. You may recall this is something we look at in our website article, “Buying or Selling a Property at Auction” and the advice within that article stands true today.

From a seller’s perspective, it is important you understand what information needs to go into the auction pack and to make sure there are no accusations of mis-selling, misrepresentation or failure to disclose.

Whereas from a buyer’s perspective, it is important to see everything that was in the pack, what items may be missing or enquiries you might want to raise pre-auction, and to get the full lie of the land before you commit yourself to a contractual obligation by putting in a successful bid at the auction.

Whether you are buying or selling and whether you are dealing with commercial property or residential conveyancing, our teams here at Wilson Browne Solicitors are All The Help You Need. Contact us on 0800 088 6004

Tom Warrender


Tom Warrender


Tom is a Solicitor and Partner with 15 years + experience advising clients in relation to commercial property matters. A Legal 500 recognised lawyer, Tom is a member of SHLA and CRELA, sits on our Board of Management & Heads our Social Housing Team.