Auction Specialists Kirsty and Amy talking.

Exclusive interview: Auction specialists talk television, digital hammers and property finance.

18 Mar 2024 | 5 min

In recent years, there’s been an undeniable boom in the number of homes going under the hammer. In fact, according to Essential Information Group (EIG), property auctions saw a huge 16.6% growth in the number of lots brought to sale; prompting first time buyers, rookie portfolio builders and experienced investors to explore the possibilities of the ballroom.

But it’s not the quiet hum of auction room settling, the electric silence of the paddles raising and the clicking of the online bids that are causing home buyers’ ears to prick up. It’s the sound of the hammer that is the biggest attraction – with the allure of chainless sales, varied property types and, potentially, bargain prices.

There’s the preparing, researching, budgeting and bidding; but when the gavel is dropped, the purchase is legally binding and there are bills to be paid. That’s where buyers can benefit from the expertise of auction specialists to guide them through the process, support on funding applications and help smoothly secure the sale.

But where can you access expert help from auction specialists? What do they actually do? And, what do they make of those property auction TV shows?

We sat down with Amy Schofield and Kirsty Rogers (Auction Sales Directors at Together) to find out more…

First things first, what does a typical day look like for an auction specialist?

Amy: “Kirsty and I have worked at Together for many years, and we’re lucky enough to be part of Together’s team of auction specialists. In the last 15 years, we’ve helped over 5,700 customers with their auction finance – and over 1,100 of those customers came to us in 2023, which I think just shows how auction is increasingly becoming a crucial channel for property investors.

“Essentially, my role is to manage our relationship with the auctions houses we have exclusive partnerships with, and to support their buyers by making sure we’re accessible both online and in the auction room.

“I look after customers who’ve completed our online Decision in Principle (DIP) tool – which is free, easy and takes less than five minutes to complete. Usually, customers fill in this tool before they hit the auction, so I’ll give them a friendly call to make sure all of their questions are answered. It’s part of my job to make sure they can bid on a property with confidence.

“When a winning bid has been placed the property is theirs and I’ll also be a point of contact throughout to make sure customers have everything they need to get the right funds in place so they can complete on time.”

Kirsty: “In my many years of working at Together, the nature of my role has changed a lot. Pre-pandemic, my day-to-day would include travelling around the country, going to the auction rooms and making sure people felt confident and understood the finance options available to them.

Fast forward to today, I mostly support customers remotely – particularly working with those that we have built strong relationships with as we have a number of regular, returning customers - such as those flipping properties or expanding their rental portfolios.

“As Amy mentioned, we also have lots of extremely useful online tools for customers to use, so our team spends time ensuring our customers have all the resources and information they need to set them up for success; whether that’s online or in auction rooms across the country.

So, online auctions have exploded in popularity in recent years – is this reflected in the customers and partners you work with?

Amy: “The market has definitely shifted and embraced the online format in recent years, especially post-pandemic. Online auctions have become more accessible for people who might never have considered this route before - for example, Together saw a 108% increase in the number of women seeking auction finance in 2023 compared to 2021, which shows incredible growth and probably influenced by the rise of online auction accessibility.

Kirsty: “Yes, there are some fantastic benefits to things moving online. That said, there’s also a real atmosphere in the auction room that I know many people are attracted to, so the approach moving forward will probably continue to be hybrid.

Amy: “And, that’s where auction specialists like us come in. We’re very much here to add a human touch to the journey – whether online or offline.”

Kirsty: “Many auction houses have built hugely successful customer bases with both physical and digital auctions. The online model allows for greater speed and flexibility (being able to sell more properties on the day at shorter notice). I also think bidding online makes it easier for buyers to stay within what they can afford and not get caught up in the moment or the competition.

“Buyers’ budgets are often set based on estimated renovation costs – and even when the auction hammer is virtual, it is important to keep a sense of reality and the estimated cost of work to the property!”

How do bidders access specialist auction finance support?

Amy: “Well, there’s tons of info on our auction finance page. Or, if you want to meet the team and have a chat with one of our experts, there’s a handy ‘meet the auction team’ page where you can contact us directly.

“Together is passionate about providing the best service and experience for our auction partners too. So much so, we’ve put in place dedicated support for our auction houses and their plethora of buyers (from those new to auction, right through to seasoned property investors). So you’ll find us on the website of a number of nationwide auction houses also.”

And, finally, we promised some TV-related chat. So, go on, what shows do you recommend to any property hunters that might want to get their house-flipping fix?

Kirsty: “We’re all really proud of our partnership with Channel 4’s The Great House Giveaway, which Together sponsored.

“The BAFTA-winning property programme, fronted by actor and developer Simon O’Brien and investor and mortgage broker Tayo Oguntonade, is a real hit with house hunters looking for some auction inspo. It follows a number of people who are going through the process of flipping their first auction property.

“It’s exciting to see people pursue their dreams of homeownership, develop practical renovation skills, and even kick-start careers in property investment.”

Amy: “What’s really interesting is that we get to see the types of properties we fund on a day-to-day basis, and what happens to them next. Many of the show’s contributors are up against structural issues like damp – one of the many reasons a property can end up at auction because it’s something that a lot of home-buyers are wary of. However, it’s exactly these kinds of ‘fixer-uppers’ that prove a great opportunity for property investors and landlords.

Kirsty: “Some lenders won’t consider providing finance for properties which have these types of poor remarks on valuation reports. As a company that will consider properties of various structures and valuations thanks to our flexible approach to underwriting, we are keen to raise awareness amongst potential buyers that Together can help open the doors buying at auction by providing the finance needed to make a property ambition a reality.”


Thanks Kirsty and Amy!

Whether we’ll see you face to face in the auction room in the future, or you’ll take advantage of our quick and simple online application tools – rest assured, we’ve got the experience to help you complete on time, every time. You can learn more about auction finance here, or head over to our Great House Giveaway hub to discover more from the series.

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