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Commercial Finance

Five things you need to know about auction finance

Buying at auction is becoming increasingly popular, with both savvy buyers and investors recognising the amount of opportunities they bring.

The total spent at auction between March and May 2016 was up nearly 15%, compared to the same period the previous year, whilst May 2016 saw a huge 21.2% increase in the number of lots on offer, compared to May 2015.

Here at Together we specialise in auction finance and have attended over 300 auctions in the last 12 months, so we know a thing or two about auctions that we can share with you.

1. How it works

Each property is referred to as a ‘lot’ and has a lot number. They will offer each lot individually which means an auction can last all day. They may not go through lots in numerical order either, so if you’re just looking at one particular property you may need to sit it out. If you buy, you will usually need to put down a 10 per cent deposit on the day and then completion timescales are very tight. Buyers will usually only have 28 days to complete, sometimes even as little as 14 days. These timeframes can pose problems with some traditional lenders so it’s here a specialist in auction finance can help.

Short-term finance can be arranged prior to an auction for a particular lot, up to an agreed bid price, so that they can be sure the funding is in place before they bid to give greater confidence.

2. Is it only property professionals who buy at auction?

No, anyone can choose to buy at auction. Home improvement shows such as Homes under the Hammer, have played a part in the rise in popularity of auctions, highlighting the properties and renovation opportunities available.

Whether it’s to add to a property portfolio, for a residential purchase, to buy a second property as part a retirement investment, or for commercial premises, the demand for auction finance looks set to remain.

3. Why use an auction finance specialist?

Buying at auction requires fast and flexible lending. Our common sense approach allows us to deliver funds much more quickly than a mainstream lender may be able to. This is critical at auctions because of the tight timescales.

We’ll assess each case individually. For example, where a property is intended for renovation, we’ll take into account the post-refurbishment value if appropriate. 

4.What are the potential barriers with using a mainstream lender at auction?

The main issue with applying for funds with a mainstream lender at auction, is speed. Many mainstream lenders can’t approve an application and release funds within the 28 day completion timescale. Experience, knowledge and understanding of the market means that specialist auction finance providers, like us, will be able to act much more quickly.

When considering lending, most mainstream lenders won’t usually take into account certain factors. For example, if the property may need renovating, or could have complexities such as not having a kitchen or bathroom of a standard which is considered sanitary, which would often make it difficult to obtain a mortgage with a mainstream provider

5. The top tips for buying at auction

- Check the legal pack.
- Check planning consents and their timescales.
- Check if it’s a HMO (house of multiple occupancy) - these have to be licensed with the local council! 
- Check if the vendor has owned it for at least six months (If they haven’t it may deter a mainstream lender)
- Check the details of any tenancy agreements (they may have the right to remain in the property even if you buy it!)

Find out more about Auction Finance from Together