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Building Survey of Auction Properties

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

Properties sold under an auction house can seem attractive due to their fast track nature from the initial bid, the hammer coming down and getting the keys. But you may not always be getting what you ought to be, especially if you ‘bid blind’. In the UK, historically, auction houses were perceived to sell properties which may have been repossessed - where a home owner fails to make regular mortgage payments - or were probate sales i.e. a family home being sold by the heirs. However, more recently, selling at auction has become an alternative option for a normal property sale due to the speedy nature of the entire process.

What are the benefits of buying a house at auction? The main benefit is speed. If you are a buyer who has your finances in order, auction houses will require that you complete and exchange contracts within 3-4 weeks of the winning bid being accepted.

Whilst that may sound good for a keen buyer looking to hear the jingle of their newly handed over front door keys – A building survey may be warranted depending on the age and condition of the building. I guess this is where the first issue arises for most buyers. Why would you want to pay for a building survey for an auction property if you may not end up being the winning bidder on the day? This is always a risk of course. However, I would still advise in getting a building survey done. ZFN Chartered Surveyors offer a ‘compressed’ building survey for auction properties that cover the main salient points which we would normally send over in an e-mail format with photographs attached. This is normally 50% cheaper than a full building survey that would come in our bespoke building survey report template. This way, you can ensure that there are no ‘nasties’ hiding such as abnormal structural distortion, severe damp, issues with the roof and – to put it crudely – to make sure the ceiling isn’t going to fall down. The summarised building survey will also give you budget costs of the required remedial works; which is handy when it comes to big day of bidding on your property at the auction house – it should allow you to make a more informed bid on say a 2 bedroom ground floor flat within a Victorian Townhouse going for £700,000 if you know that there are £80,000 of remedial works required!

Usually, you will be given a viewing date and time of the auction property and we at ZFN are all for being flexible! We can attend at the same time of the viewing to minimise inconvenience or doubling up on accessing the property. We are also available to survey at weekends too as sometimes access can be awkward with auction properties. Case Study: Building Survey of Auction Flat in London

We recently undertook a building survey to a lower ground floor basement flat within a large Victorian House in North London. We found a whole host of issues such as damp penetrating the flat, lath and plaster walls and ceilings which had seen better days and leaks from the flats above. Our client found it useful to know that there were leaks originating from the flats above and liaison would be required with the above neighbours to put things right.

If you are thinking about buying a house at auction and wanted some initial free advice then feel free to contact us to discuss further.

ZFN Chartered Surveyors can undertake surveys of auction properties, visit our quote page now to get a fee estimate and one of our surveyors will be in touch! ZFN CHARTERED SURVEYORS

T : 020 7862 6363



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