Property auctions used to be considered a last resort for your average home buyer or renter. However, this negative image may soon be a thing of the past, with new online auction platforms gaining popularity.
New web platforms such as Lets Bid Property (opens in new tab) promise to take the stress out of searching for a property. How does it work? The concept is simple – their online property auction platform allows users to place bids to buy or rent from the listings available, with the starting price clearly displayed by fully vetted sellers/estate agents/landlords.
With an online auction, the service allows both estate agents and buyers to reach a mutually agreed price. The estate agent can then remove the property from the website and a reservation fee is requested to secure the property for 28 days – allowing the buyer time to get funds in order. As long as the exchange happens within the agreed timescale, the reservation fee is taken off the agreed sale price.
For renters, the bidding process can reduce the time wasted viewing a property, only to discover that someone has already snapped it up earlier that morning. You can still arrange a viewing and ask the estate agent any questions you have about the property, but safe in the knowledge that no one has been accepted as a tenant yet. The transparent and easy to use service simply connects professional letting agents with prospective tenants, allowing registered users to bid for rental listings which can be secured immediately upon paying a deposit.
The website also offers (non-compulsory) pre-auction vetting, allowing you to provide referencing and a credit checks before bidding, which eliminates the possibility of being turned down at a later stage.
So, what are the potential cons to online property auctions? For one, the risk of overpaying for a substandard property still remains. We advise viewing the property at least once if renting, and multiple times if buying, and always carrying out an independent property survey prior to bidding.