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Going under the hammer: your need-to-know guide to selling at auction

Wed 29 May 2019

Julia Richardson of Stags Farm Agency shares her need-to-know guide for selling your property at auction.


Stags sells a wide range of land lots, buildings and even whole farms under the hammer, with auctions taking place regularly throughout the West Country. Here are the most commonly asked questions about the auction process:

1. Why sell at auction?

An auction can achieve a better price by generating interest and bringing the property to the attention of a large number of buyers. It’s also a relatively swift process, avoiding the frustrating delays which can slow down private treaty sales. Auctions offer certainty to the seller because, once the gavel has fallen on the auction day, the sale is legally binding and contracts are exchanged. Completion usually takes place 28 days later. 

2. What is the difference between the guide price and reserve price?

The guide price is the marketing price for the property, publicised during the marketing process. The reserve price, by contrast, is confidential. It is the lowest price that the auctioneer is authorised to accept and is agreed beforehand. The reserve price is usually agreed between vendor and auctioneer based on the response to the marketing, including the number of viewings, feedback from viewers and any offers received prior to auction. 

3. How does Stags auction publicise its auctions? 

Stags auctions attract a lot of attention and are attended by a healthy number of buyers. This is thanks to high profile advertising in print and online and our specialist auction search facility on stags.co.uk. We also promote our auctions to our extensive buyer database by phone, post and email. 

4. How much is the deposit?

The deposit is payable by the buyer on the day of the auction and is usually 10% of the hammer price.

5. What is an auction pack?

An auction pack is prepared by the vendor’s solicitor and contains the searches and other relevant legal information about the property. Potential buyers apply to the solicitor for copies prior to the auction, to show to their solicitor.

6. Can would-be buyers view the property before the auction?

Yes. Often Stags will organise a block viewing day with timed viewing slots. In the cases of some land sales, viewers sometimes show themselves around by arrangement, at others Stags staff will guide the viewings.

7. Where are Stags auctions held?

Stags auctions take place throughout the year and right across the West Country, in prominent locations such as hotels and racecourses.

8. Is my farm or land suitable for auction? 

Here at Stags, we always discuss with our clients whether an auction sale is the right route for both the property and clients’ circumstances. We base our recommendations on knowledge of local market conditions and demand, as well as comparable evidence from similar properties that we have sold. Our Farm Agency surveyors are always happy to carry out a free, no-obligation market appraisal and then agree a plan of action that is best for you.   

Julia Richardson is negotiator for the Stags Farm Agency, farms@stags.co.uk. View all our forthcoming auctions here.

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