Property Auctions Glossary

Property Auctions Glossary

A Plain English guide to the common terms used at property auctions.

Remember, no free information website is a substitute for professional legal advice, so don't make buying decisions solely on information you find on the World Wide Web. See the ifey disclaimer and terms of use.

ifey auctions building property


Actual Completion Date This is the date when completion of the auction sale takes place or is treated as taking place for the purposes of apportionment and calculating interest.

Addendum An amendment or addition to the conditions which are intially published in the auction catalogue. An addendum will be published as a supplement to the catalogue. Addendum can include written notices in the catalogue, other publicity at the auction, and / or announcements made at the auction.

Auction A public sale in which properties are sold to the highest bidder.

Auctioneer The person who conducts an auction. The auctioneer will introduce each lot offered for sale, acknowledges bids from bidders, and announce whether lots are sold or unsold. The auctioneer may additionally give information as to whether an unsold lot is available after the sale.

Auction Catalogue The auction catalogue gives a description of each property available, sometme with photographs. The auction catalogue will also include details on how to view each property and the General Conditions of Sale (See General Conditions of Sale below).


Bid The offer to buy property at a specific price.


Completion On completion of the sale of the lot there is usually a defined time period from the auction to the completion date in which the sale must be finalised. Penalties will be applied if the sale is completed late which can include losing your deposit. Conditions of Sale See General Conditions of Sale below.


Exchanging contracts If you are the successful bidder at the auction sale, the sale is binding on the fall of the hammer and you will then be asked to sign and exchange contracts in the auction room. See the General Conditions of Sale entry, below.

Exhibitions Simliar term to viewings, see viewings, below.


General Conditions of Sale The General Conditions of Sale are prepared by the auction house, and set out the legal framework for your participation in the auction and your contract with the auctioneers, should you decide to bid on a property.

An important point to note is that your bid on a property is binding - should the hammer fall and you be the winner of a property at auction you will be legally comitted to buying that property.

Guide Price A guide price gives an indication of the price that the property is expected to sell for and what the vendor is hoping to achieve.

Many auction houses seem to deliberately under-valu properties that they will bring to auction. The low guide prices encourages a bigger attendance at the auction by people hoping to bid on a bargain property.

Guide prices are for information only and shouldn’t be relied on as an indication of reserve price, or representing professional valuations for any purpose. Purchasers are deemed to have relied on their own knowledge or obtained the independent, professional advice of others.


In the room A bid from someone in the room (not by phone.)


Legal Pack The vendor's solicitors prepares a legal pack containing copies of all the legal papers that you and your solicitor are likely to need to make an informed decision about your lot. The legal pack should include (where applicable) copies of: special conditions of sale, title deeds, leases, office copy entries, searches, replies to pre-contract enquiries.

All legal packs will be available for inspection at the auction room. You must be aware that you buy subject to all documentation and terms of contract whether or not you have read them.

Lot Each separate property described in the catalogue or (as the case may be) the property that the seller has agreed to sell and the buyer to buy.


Previews See Viewings below.

Private Treaty The sale of a property at a price agreed by the seller and the buyer or their agents.

Proxy Bid Proxy bids are bids made by the auctioneers up to an agreed limit on behalf of absent bidders. Buyers will have made a previous arrangement with the auction house, perhaps supplying references and a substantial deposit. When you attend a property auction bear in mind that the auctioneer may have several proxy-bids from clients as well as bids from the room and telephone bids (see below).


Reserve A reserve price is the lowest price the vendor will accept. This is agreed between the vendor and the auctioneer. Most properties entered into the auction have a reserve price. This is confidential and not disclosed to any interested parties.


Telephone Bid A telephone bid is a bid taken by the auctioneer from a member of his staff who is on the telephone to a bidder. Telephone bids are usually only accepted by auction houses when they have a known relationship with the prospective buyer, and/or prior funding for the bid has been made available before the auction.

Tenancies Contracts to occupy or lease the property subject to rent. A lot may be sold subject to exisiting tenancy agreements.


Viewings Viewings of the auction properties are offered by the auctioneers in advance of the auction. Pre-auction viewings are open to the public and may be attended at no charge, though some auction sites may charge a fee for access to the booking form! Some auction houses have an open time for viewing, others will strictly insist on an appointment. Some lots may be viewed onsite without contact with the auctioneers, usually vacan land lots and woodlands.


Withdrawal Withdrawal of the lot can occur prior to the auction, if for instance the property is previously sold, or during the auction if the property fails to reach the reserve price or there is insufficient bidding. The auctioneer may withdraw the property from the auction, and notify bidders.

ifey auctions woodlands flowers