Selling your home with an estate agent can be a long, uncertain, and drawn-out process. Even after agreeing a sale, buyers can change their mind or drop their offer at any time.
If you want to avoid this, then auction could be a great alternative.
So, is it worth selling your house by auction?
Selling your house by auction can be a great option if you value speed, certainty, and convenience over getting the best price. Auction gives you a higher price than a home buying service, and a faster sale than an estate agent. However, this selling method is not right for everyone, and isn’t suited to every property.
In this article, we set out the main pros and cons of selling your house by auction. We give you our top tips, and case studies from Home Selling Expert readers who have successfully sold at auction. Plus, we reveal our four simple steps to follow to quickly find out if auction is right for you.
If you want to cut right to the chase and see if auction could be right for you and your property, we’ve created a free online quiz to help you do just that. If auction is a good fit, we’ll introduce you to the #1 Leading Auction House in your area on your results page.
Click the button below to get started.
1. Is it a good idea to sell at auction?
Selling your house at auction can be a smart move, especially if you’re looking for a quick sale or your property is unique or unmortgageable. Auctions are fast, transparent, and have a high sales rate. They attract a diverse range of buyers and encourage competitive bidding, which can drive up the final selling price.
So, how can you know if it’s a good idea to sell your home by auction? You’ll need to look at your priorities, property, and position…
Are your priorities aligned with auction?
Auction could be a good fit for you if you value speed, greater certainty, and convenience over getting the best price for your property.
Auction won’t be right for you if you want, or need, to achieve full market value (unless you have a problem property, where you’ll likely achieve more selling by auction than you would on the open market).
If you need to achieve full market value, the only way to do this would be to use a good local estate agent, price it realistically and play the waiting game.
Is your property right for auction?
If your property has a major defect, a complicated legal issue or needs renovation then it’ll be a great fit for traditional auction.
Traditional auctions tend to attract more experienced cash-buyers who are looking for a project. Investors and property developers won’t be put off by property issues and will likely see them as an opportunity to add value.
Generally, if you’re selling a “normal” house with no major defects or legal issues, then modern auction is usually the best bet. It has longer timescales and less rigid requirements. This opens the bidding up to non-cash buyers, significantly increasing the number of bidders and your eventual sale price.
Is your position a match for auction?
Auctions aren’t really an option if you’re in a house chain. Auction sales tend to take around 8-10 weeks on average and are held on set dates. There’s also no guarantee the property will sell in the first auction. This makes it difficult to coordinate with an onward purchase.
Not everyone’s priorities, property, and position will be a good fit for auction. If yours seem like a match, then read on to explore the benefits of selling your house by auction…
2. Benefits of selling by auction
Property auctions have many benefits including speed, greater certainty, and convenience. You can sell as-is and they’re a great fit for problem properties. You also have a high chance of selling at auction, especially if you price the property competitively and prepare the property with your target market in mind.
We’ve summarised the main benefits of selling by auction for you below:
- Speed. One of the main pros of selling your house by auction is speed. It’s possible to sell in as little as 4 weeks, but most auction sales take between 10-14 weeks (depending on the type of auction you choose). This can make it a great fit for people who want, or need, a quicker home sale.
- High chance of selling. On average, property auctions sell around 70-80% of the properties they list. The best auction houses successfully sell around 80-90% of properties they take on. This means you have a very high chance of selling. By comparison, estate agents tend to only sell around half of the properties they take on.
- Certainty. With traditional auction, less than 1% of sales fall through and modern auction isn’t far behind at around 5%. When conventional house sales are agreed through estate agents, no legal or financial commitments are made. This means a buyer can withdraw at any time and for any reason (which is why around 31% of house sales fall through after they’ve been agreed).
- Convenience. Simply put, auctions are just an easier and more convenient way to sell your house. This is thanks to a combination of the chain-free & experienced buyers, open house viewings, fixed timeframes, a higher level of service and real commitments up front. You can also sell your house as-is which saves time, stress, and upfront costs.
There are so many more benefits of selling your house at auction. You can read more about them here in our article: “17 Benefits of Selling Your House By Auction (Including what real customers say)”.
3. Downsides of selling by auction
While property auctions can offer fast, convenient, and more certain sales, there are some downsides. The main disadvantage is price, as you’ll typically get 10-15% less selling by auction and auction fees can be high. There is also a risk the property might not sell. However, there are things you can do to boost your odds.
Let’s explore the disadvantages of selling your house at auction in some more detail…
Downside #1: Price.
The main disadvantage of selling by auction is the compromise you make on price.
Properties in auction tend to sell for around 85-90% of what they would get on the open market. That’s the price you pay for the speed, increased certainty, and convenience that auctions offer.
Downside #2: Fees.
The fees charged by auction houses range widely but tend to be higher than estate agent fees. You can pay as little as 1% + VAT or as much as 4% + VAT.
Auction fees are made up of the commission (payable once the property has sold), and most charge an up-front entry fee of around £250-350.
Auction fees are higher because they offer you a faster and more convenient way to sell, with a higher likelihood of success. Auction companies tend to have higher costs too, so they must charge higher fees to make a profit.
Downside #3: Might not sell.
Another risk of selling at auction is your property might not sell. This can happen if:
- the property is priced incorrectly,
- people can’t arrange viewings,
- the property hasn’t been prepared suitably,
- the legal pack is not available.
If you avoid these mistakes, you’ll boost your odds of selling at auction.
Downside #4: Choosing the wrong auction house.
Choosing the right auction house can be really difficult, but it's one of the most important home-sale decisions you'll make. The right auction house can make a huge difference to the final sale price you achieve, and to your odds of actually achieving a sale at all.
So how do you choose the right one?
Here at Home Selling Expert, we want to help you choose the best way to sell your property and find the best companies to sell with.
If that’s the kind of help you’re looking for, check out our free online quiz we’ve designed for you. If auction seems like the right fit, we’ll connect you with the #1 Leading Auction House in your area.
4. Is selling by auction right for you?
Auctions are a good alternative for lots of home sellers. They offer a faster, easier, and more certain home sale versus an estate agent. This is especially true for “problem properties”, that can struggle to sell on the open market. Whether they're right for you will depend on your priorities, property, and position.
The best way to sell your home will depend on what your goal is…
- If you need to sell fast – to repair a broken chain, to free up cash or as a result of divorce or inheritance, then the best route may be to use a “Buy My House” company. You can sell your home in as little as two weeks, but you will only get around 78-83% of the market value.
- If you want the best price – and have the luxury of time to wait for offers, then the best route is to use an estate agency. You will usually get close to 100% of market value, but it can take six months or more to sell your home.
- If you want the best of both worlds – with a faster sale at a better price, then selling at auction could be your answer. You can more than halve the time it takes to sell, and still return around 85-90% of the market value.
4.1 Find out if selling by auction is right for you in 4 simple steps
You can find out if auction is the right selling method for you in four simple steps:
- Take our free quiz to find out your best selling method based on your property and priorities.
- Get a free introduction to our recommended auction house in your area and have all your questions answered.
- Get a free, no-obligation auction valuation to find out what your property is worth.
- Decide if the pros outweigh the cons for you personally now you have all the necessary information.
So, if you want to find out if auction is right for you, click the button below to get started.
If traditional or modern auction are the right fit, I can introduce you to the #1 Leading Auction House in your area for a free, no-obligation auction consultation and valuation…
By Matthew Cooper, Co-Founder of Home Selling Expert