Are auctions the way forward?

By Peter Hornor, auctioneer and chartered surveyor of Brown & Co in Norwich

There has always been a case for selling bricks and mortar at auction and over the years auctioneers have been able to achieve outstanding results in crowded auction rooms where furious bidding takes place to produce that outstanding sale. However, it is now back to the drawing board and like other auctioneers we now have to start the process all over again! This will involve dealing with enquiries, seeing potential vendors, deciding whether a particular property is right for an auction or not, and considering all those things that I have discussed in previous articles over the last few years.But as we start the process again, a few comment on some of the relevant factors that will affect buyers and vendors alike as we look forward to our summer auction.


Where a vendor is looking for a sale within a relatively short timeframe they should certainly consider the auction approach. At the very least an auction offers a fixed timetable of events, with good advertising, plenty of viewing days and hopefully lots of potential buyers. In the final event the market dictates what the property is worth in the public arena, offering complete transparency, which is also important.


If a seller requires a timely sale this can be the right approach. This can be the case for properties in prime locations or in the countryside or wherever really and as long as there are two or more keen bidders in a packed saleroom a property can far exceed its reserve, which is what we all want. Readers may remember that some

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16 months ago we were able to achieve a sale price of £1.2M for a property on Ipswich Road which far exceeded its guide, purely because of where it was and the opportunity it afforded.


For those looking to sell, vendors should not forget that investment properties come in various guises and some are particularly relevant for the auction market. Last year we were able to sell three terraces in our autumn sale which were let on assured shorthold tenancies, producing an income fairly well, reflecting the demand shown and bricks and mortar are certainly an alternative to banks and building societies at the present time. Remember, the beauty of an auction sale is that it generates interest across the board and investment properties often need to be sold swiftly and keenly to meet the owners objectives.


There is a misconception that auction sales can sometimes see a vendor lose out to a buyer with a keen eye for a bargain. The reserve price is here for a good reason – to safeguard vendors. Anybody thinking of selling at auction needs to understand that they will set a reserve with the auctioneer prior to the sale and this will protect them from selling the property for less than they are prepared to.

The Future

We look forward to the spring and summer 2010 with confidence. The market in our region seems to be moving forward in all sectors, but as always we urge caution

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to buyers and vendors alike about realistic expectation because the activity we see is taking place because of the realism that has crept into the market, which is still so important to enable transactions to take place.

*Peter’s on 01603 767606 or email:

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