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A buyer’s guide to the online auction process

18.07.2017 Site Manager

Our auctions team have been busy pioneering an online auctions platform, which is intuitive to the needs of buyers and sellers. We’re always striving to align our services with the aspirations of buyers in the South East, so we’re excited to widen our scope considerably online. We’ve put together the following comprehensive guide to shed light on this entirely fresh way to buy your next home or investment.

How does the bidding process work? 

So you’ve seen a property advertised online; here’s how the bidding process works:

1)      Head to the Auction House Sussex website to view the full description of the property, which will also provide a legal pack, mortgage guides and fees to expect to have to pay.

2)      Once you have expressed an interest in an auction lot, you may go along to view the property in person at an open house where you’ll be greeted by one of our team.

3)      If you fall in love with the property, register on the Auction House Sussex website to receive a ‘Passport to Bid.’

4)      In the meantime, contact your solicitor to run through the legal pack, so when the auction bids begin, you’re in the best position to buy. If auction financing is a concern at this point, talk to our team about our finance options with three national specialist lenders that can provide short term bridging loans for auction purchases.

5)      Once the 7-day bidding window opens, you can place your starting bid.

6)      From there, the process works much like a traditional auction. Others will place bids for the same lot - much like eBay.

7)      After the 7-day window closes, the virtual hammer comes down and the auction ends. The highest bid has to remain unbeaten for at least 60 seconds to ensure the very best price is being achieved.

The usual costs associated with a property purchase at auction apply: conveyancing, surveys and costs related to obtaining a mortgage, Stamp Duty, buyer’s premium and the deposit.

Two ways to bid online:

Live bidding – you may watch the auction countdown online then place a competitive bid at a strategic time – again, think EBay.

Proxy bid – if you’re unable to bid live, you can pre-submit your highest offer in the hope that you won’t be outbid. Meeting the reserve price is crucial, so you will be notified if you have met or exceeded the price. 

What happens after I place a winning bid?

Time to celebrate! A virtual exchange of contracts takes place at the fall of the virtual gavel, so you don’t need to worry about being gazumped.

Next, you’ll pay the usual 10% deposit and instruct your solicitor to go ahead with the sale, while you take care of your mortgage arrangements.

Your solicitor and the vendor will agree on a completion date and then you can move in!


Bidding at auction is recognised as a fast, transparent and fair way to buy property. The online equivalent provides even greater transparency, speed and certainty.

·         There are no surprises – buying at auction is straightforward. The terms are all laid out before you bid and we provide a wealth of information about each lot and what to expect. You won’t be gazumped or hit by surprise charges; it’s clean and simple!

·         Everyone is committed to the process – all buyers need to register in order to receive a ‘Passport to Bid’ so you know that everyone in the virtual room respects the seriousness of the system and won’t place a rogue bid that they can’t afford.

·         You might find a few property gems – property auctions are visited by buyers looking to snap up a bargain or a quirky home that can’t be found anywhere else. We handle all types of property assets, from residential and commercial to land and garages – so there’s plenty of variety on offer.

·         Benefit from a stable timeline – as a buyer, you usually have 28 days to exchange contracts if the online auction is conditional, and a further 28 days to complete after that regardless. This provides a secure timeline for both the seller and the buyer.

·         It’s safe and secure – you will be safe in the knowledge that our online auction platform is operated by the UK’s number one auctioneer.


Contact us

Preparation is key when it comes to bidding at auction - traditional or online. Join our responsive Property Alerts service to keep abreast of the latest auction lots on the market, or contact the Auction House Sussex team for more service information.