What to expect at your first property auction

Why go to a property auction?

Looking for your next property investment?

There are a lot of advantages to buying a property at auction. As well as the chance to acquire a property below its market value, you don’t have to worry about the uncertainty of an under-offer period or the danger of last-minute renegotiation.

Contracts are typically exchanged within 28 days, so auctions can also appeal to those wanting to buy or sell in a hurry.

Not sure when is the best time to buy property at auction, check out this Q&A where I answer questions from property investors like you about what phase of the market cycle you should buy.

Why invest in student property?

Before the auction

So what do you need to do before you’re ready for your first auction?

The first step is of course to find some properties up for auction that you are interested in.

Search online for auctions in your area and subscribe to their mailing lists to get information on the properties they have at each auction.

Once you have this, you can do all of your usual due diligence researching the property. Visit the property, get a feel for the neighbourhood and crunch the numbers to make sure the property will work for you.

Take additional costs like the auction fees and a 10% deposit into account, you will need these on the day if you win the bidding. If there are substantial extra costs from legal fees or auction fees, adjust your maximum bid to account for that.


So what do you need to do before you’re ready for your first auction?

 

The first step is of course to find some properties up for auction that you are interested in.

Search online for auctions in your area and subscribe to their mailing lists to get information on the properties they have at each auction.

Once you have this, you can do all of your usual due diligence researching the property. Visit the property, get a feel for the neighbourhood and crunch the numbers to make sure the property will work for you.

Take additional costs like the auction fees and a 10% deposit into account, you will need these on the day if you win the bidding. If there are substantial extra costs from legal fees or auction fees, adjust your maximum bid to account for that.

 

If you don’t include these in your calculations, you could be in for a nasty surprise later on!

 

The guide price can help here, but bear in mind the guide price may be set low in order to entice you, or high to drive up the price, so do your own research on its market value, decide your maximum bid and stick to it!

It may be worth getting the property professionally valued if you are unsure, and you will have to do this if you will need a mortgage to buy.

Here are some quick tips to get you started:

As a growing market with no sign of slowing down, student accommodation is rife with opportunities for smart investors and can make a great addition to any portfolio!

Student properties have high tenancy rates compared to other buy-to-let properties, and it is usually fairly easy to find tenants each year.

With returns often between 9% and 15%, this kind of investment offers higher returns than other forms of buy-to-let property.

You NEED to be prepared for these!

If you don’t include these in your calculations, you could be in for a nasty surprise later on!

The guide price can help here, but bear in mind the guide price may be set low in order to entice you, or high to drive up the price, so do your own research on its market value, decide your maximum bid and stick to it!

It may be worth getting the property professionally valued if you are unsure, and you will have to do this if you will need a mortgage to buy.

If you don’t include these in your calculations, you could be in for a nasty surprise later on!

The guide price can help here, but bear in mind the guide price may be set low in order to entice you, or high to drive up the price, so do your own research on its market value, decide your maximum bid and stick to it!

It may be worth getting the property professionally valued if you are unsure, and you will have to do this if you will need a mortgage to buy.

Why invest in student property?

Look for these types of property at auction for a great deal:

  • Out of area.

A property in a location far from the auction it is listed at might not interest a lot of people, reducing the bidding on it.

  • Out of character.

If, for example, most of the properties at an auction are 2 bedroom flats, it is probably safe to assume that is what most of your fellow bidders are interested in.

Look for properties that are out of character with the other listings, and you may face less competition at auction.

  • Withdrawn from auction.

There are many reasons why a property might be withdrawn from auction but still be for sale, for example the seller might have received an offer and cancelled the listing, but the offer later fell through.

If the property you want is removed the auction listing, make sure you chase it up and find out why; you might still be able to buy it!

  • Guide price too high.

If you do your research you should be able to tell when a property’s guide price is overly optimistic. This could put off other bidders and give you a better chance of acquiring the property, but it could also indicate a high reserve price.

Next, you want to build up some auction experience before you start bidding for real.

Too many property investors get carried away at auction and end up making investments they will never recover!

Attend two or three auctions with no intention to bid, just to observe the proceedings and get acclimatised to the atmosphere. This is going to help you keep a cool head and make smart decisions when the time comes to actually bid.

Listen to how the auctioneers run the auction, and ideally research a few properties beforehand even though you are not bidding. Test your predictions about how those properties perform at auction, and you will have better judgement when it comes to getting the property you want at the right price.

Try to get in conversation with the auctioneers before or after the auction in order to understand how their auctions usually go, and get any other useful tips about the auction or the properties that can get from them.

Looking for some more quick tips from auctioneers themselves? Watch this video where I talk to John Stockley of Clive Emson Auctions to get his take on the current market.

Look for these types of property at auction for a great deal:

 

·         Out of area.

 

A property in a location far from the auction it is listed at might not interest a lot of people, reducing the bidding on it.

 

·         Out of character.

 

If, for example, most of the properties at an auction are 2 bedroom flats, it is probably safe to assume that is what most of your fellow bidders are interested in.

 

Look for properties that are out of character with the other listings, and you may face less competition at auction.

 

·         Withdrawn from auction.

 

There are many reasons why a property might be withdrawn from auction but still be for sale, for example the seller might have received an offer and cancelled the listing, but the offer later fell through.

 

If the property you want is removed the auction listing, make sure you chase it up and find out why; you might still be able to buy it!

 

·         Guide price too high.

 

If you do your research you should be able to tell when a property’s guide price is overly optimistic. This could put off other bidders and give you a better chance of acquiring the property, but it could also indicate a high reserve price.

 

Next, you want to build up some auction experience before you start bidding for real.

Too many property investors get carried away at auction and end up making investments they will never recover!

Attend two or three auctions with no intention to bid, just to observe the proceedings and get acclimatised to the atmosphere. This is going to help you keep a cool head and make smart decisions when the time comes to actually bid.

 

Listen to how the auctioneers run the auction, and ideally research a few properties beforehand even though you are not bidding. Test your predictions about how those properties perform at auction, and you will have better judgement when it comes to getting the property you want at the right price.

Try to get in conversation with the auctioneers before or after the auction in order to understand how their auctions usually go, and get any other useful tips about the auction or the properties that can get from them.

 

Looking for some more quick tips from auctioneers themselves? Watch this video where I talk to John Stockley of Clive Emson Auctions to get his take on the current market.

Here are few more factors to think about:

·         High degree of development and management risk. Do your research on everybody involved in the deal, you aren’t going to have the same level of control that you would have over other investments.

In many cases, you will pay a steep price upfront, which is in fact being used to subsidise that fantastic-sounding guaranteed income. Once the guaranteed income period ends, many investors find the profits dry up and all that is left is the sinking realisation they have been getting paid with their own money!

Student pods are also exposed to a high degree of development and management risk, so do your research on everybody involved in the deal, and make sure they know what they are doing and have the track record to prove it!

Student pods can be unpopular with money lenders, who also have concerns with the re-sale and long-term tenancy prospects with this type of property, as they don’t have a great deal of appeal outside of the student property market.

Investing in clusters of apartments, particularly those within halls of residence, offers more realistic and reliable returns, but they can be hard to get your hands on as they are usually owned by university institutions. If you spot an opportunity to acquire a property like this, don’t delay!

Now that you have found a property you want and you have decided to go to auction and bid for it, it’s time to do some last-minute checks:

  • Check the property you are interested in is still for sale.

Some properties may be sold before auction, so call ahead to confirm and avoid disappointment.

  • Bring your ID.

You will need 2 forms of ID, photo ID like a driver’s license or passport, and a recent utility bill, will do the job.

  • Bring you solicitor’s details.

You will need to exchange details with the vendor to start the process of getting a contract written and signed.

Now that you have found a property you want and you have decided to go to auction and bid for it, it’s time to do some last-minute checks:

 

·         Check the property you are interested in is still for sale.

 

Some properties may be sold before auction, so call ahead to confirm and avoid disappointment.

 

·         Bring your ID.

 

You will need 2 forms of ID, photo ID like a driver’s license or passport, and a recent utility bill, will do the job.

 

·         Bring you solicitor’s details.

 

You will need to exchange details with the vendor to start the process of getting a contract written and signed.


 [vd1]I like this, but is there anyway we can avoid people going off of hour site? Maybe embed the document in someway?

A House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) means each bedroom in the property is let individually to tenants, which can give you great rental yields.

In some areas councils are trying to cut back on the number of HMO licenses they give out, so it pays to look into this before making an investment!

Retail funds available for HMOs can involve a little risk as these funds are often based offshore and unregulated, so think carefully about how to fund your investment. Ask yourself:

Will I be able to get my money out when I want to?

There are a lot of changes coming to HMO legislation on October 1st, don’t get caught out! Archie Maddan and I break down the changes for you in this video:

In many cases, you will pay a steep price upfront, which is in fact being used to subsidise that fantastic-sounding guaranteed income. Once the guaranteed income period ends, many investors find the profits dry up and all that is left is the sinking realisation they have been getting paid with their own money!

Student pods are also exposed to a high degree of development and management risk, so do your research on everybody involved in the deal, and make sure they know what they are doing and have the track record to prove it!

Student pods can be unpopular with money lenders, who also have concerns with the re-sale and long-term tenancy prospects with this type of property, as they don’t have a great deal of appeal outside of the student property market.

Investing in clusters of apartments, particularly those within halls of residence, offers more realistic and reliable returns, but they can be hard to get your hands on as they are usually owned by university institutions. If you spot an opportunity to acquire a property like this, don’t delay!

HMOs

A House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) means each bedroom in the property is let individually to tenants, giving you much higher rental yield than a comparable to-let property.

You need a license to make your property an HMO. In some areas councils are trying to cut back on the number of HMO licenses they give out, so it pays to look into this before making an investment!

There are retail funds available for this type of student accommodation; however these can involve a little risk as these funds are often based offshore and unregulated, with high charges and poor liquidity sometimes making it difficult to get your money out when you want to.

Thoroughly research the companies involved and make sure you fully understand what you are getting into, get someone to help you with this if you need to!

If you want to get started investing in HMOs, or you already are, don’t miss the Premier Property Club event covering the major legislation changes coming October 1st. You NEED to be prepared for these!

At the auction

The most important point to remember about the auction is…

Don’t get carried away!

There is always another auction and another property.

That doesn’t mean you should hesitate forever, but if you have done your homework and know how much you can spend on a property for a successful investment, don’t keep bidding past that point!

Too many people get tunnel vision at the stage and end up trying to ‘win’ the auction, rather than make a sensible investment.

Don’t get emotionally invested in bidding!

While it is possible to exit a bid after the auction, it will be difficult and expensive and could damage your reputation with the seller or auction house.

There is no good reason to put yourself in this situation!

Watch this quick video for some more tips on keeping a level head at auctions.

The most important point to remember about the auction is…

 

Don’t get carried away!

 

There is always another auction and another property.

That doesn’t mean you should hesitate forever, but if you have done your homework and know how much you can spend on a property for a successful investment, don’t keep bidding past that point!

 

Too many people get tunnel vision at the stage and end up trying to ‘win’ the auction, rather than make a sensible investment.

 

Don’t get emotionally invested in bidding!

 

While it is possible to exit a bid after the auction, it will be difficult and expensive and could damage your reputation with the seller or auction house.

There is no good reason to put yourself in this situation!

 

Watch this quick video for some more tips on keeping a level head at auctions.

When it comes to the bidding process itself, everything should be fairly simple – just keep bidding up to the maximum you calculated beforehand.

Some investors prefer to sit at the front to be close to the auctioneer or at the back in order to see who is bidding on what, I always recommend sitting at the back in order to gauge the room.

Finally, remember that if your target property’s reserve price was not met, there is nothing stopping you from approaching the seller after the auction.

You already know they are shooting for a quick sale, and someone else might have the same idea, so talk to them at the earliest opportunity!

When it comes to the bidding process itself, everything should be fairly simple – just keep bidding up to the maximum you calculated beforehand.

Some investors prefer to sit at the front to be close to the auctioneer or at the back in order to see who is bidding on what, I always recommend sitting at the back in order to gauge the room.

 

Finally, remember that if your target property’s reserve price was not met, there is nothing stopping you from approaching the seller after the auction.

You already know they are shooting for a quick sale, and someone else might have the same idea, so talk to them at the earliest opportunity!

If you have any students in your family you will know how critical the Internet connection can be for them.

Think about:

·         An inclusive or subsidised Internet package. Having their internet bill included in the rent is one less thing for your tenants to think about, and a good connection is a selling point!

·         Speed. A good rule of thumb is at least 10 Mb/s. DSL Checker is an excellent resource for fact-checking providers’ claims about their connection speeds.

·         Reliability. Simply Googling Internet reliability in your location should tell you enough here. If you find dozens of complaints of outages or poor speed, save yourself the headache as these issues can go on for years.

It is smart to consider the Internet connection even if your tenants will be arranging the package themselves.

What happens next?

Once your bid has won the property you are in a legally binding contract, and the seller’s solicitor and yours will usually be required to sort out all of the payment and paperwork within 28 days.

You will also be asked to pay the buyer’s premium or admin fee at this stage, which could be a lump sum or a percentage of the sale, as well as any contribution to legal fees you are required to make.

Managing a student property

In many cases, you will pay a steep price upfront, which is in fact being used to subsidise that fantastic-sounding guaranteed income. Once the guaranteed income period ends, many investors find the profits dry up and all that is left is the sinking realisation they have been getting paid with their own money!

Student pods are also exposed to a high degree of development and management risk, so do your research on everybody involved in the deal, and make sure they know what they are doing and have the track record to prove it!

Student pods can be unpopular with money lenders, who also have concerns with the re-sale and long-term tenancy prospects with this type of property, as they don’t have a great deal of appeal outside of the student property market.

Investing in clusters of apartments, particularly those within halls of residence, offers more realistic and reliable returns, but they can be hard to get your hands on as they are usually owned by university institutions. If you spot an opportunity to acquire a property like this, don’t delay!

HMOs

A House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) means each bedroom in the property is let individually to tenants, giving you much higher rental yield than a comparable to-let property.

You need a license to make your property an HMO. In some areas councils are trying to cut back on the number of HMO licenses they give out, so it pays to look into this before making an investment!

There are retail funds available for this type of student accommodation; however these can involve a little risk as these funds are often based offshore and unregulated, with high charges and poor liquidity sometimes making it difficult to get your money out when you want to.

Thoroughly research the companies involved and make sure you fully understand what you are getting into, get someone to help you with this if you need to!

If you want to get started investing in HMOs, or you already are, don’t miss the Premier Property Club event covering the major legislation changes coming October 1st. You NEED to be prepared for these!

Choosing a student property

Assessing demand for student property could not be easier, simply investigate the number of students attending college or university there and the number of properties available for students to let.

The government currently invests the most funding into accommodation for universities focused on science, technology, mathematics and engineering, as well as universities accepting large numbers of overseas students, so you can save time by focusing on these areas first.

It is worth noting that any property in London will require a significantly higher initial investment than other properties, although high demand means it can be worth the extra cost.

As most students do not own a car, arguably the most important factor when choosing a student property is its location. Students will pay a lot more in rent for accommodation within 20 minutes’ walk of the university.

Many students are living away from home for the first time, so the safety of an area is also usually very important to them. When looking at a location, ask yourself:

Would I want my kids living here?

If the answer is no, you will probably have a tough time getting tenants.

Students need a fast and reliable internet connection and will often ask about this. Offering a good subsidised or inclusive internet package is a major bonus that will make you stand out. Try to avoid locations where internet is poor, a quick Google search for speed and reliability should tell you all you need to know.

When it comes to the property itself, try to focus the search on properties with large kitchen and lounge areas as these appeal the most to students.

As a general rule, students don’t care about gardens - so don’t invest in one. They can be costly to maintain and won’t add much value.

Assessing demand for student property could not be easier, simply investigate the number of students attending college or university there and the number of properties available for students to let.

The government currently invests the most funding into accommodation for universities focused on science, technology, mathematics and engineering, as well as universities accepting large numbers of overseas students, so you can save time by focusing on these areas first.

It is worth noting that any property in London will require a significantly higher initial investment than other properties, although high demand means it can be worth the extra cost.

As most students do not own a car, arguably the most important factor when choosing a student property is its location. Students will pay a lot more in rent for accommodation within 20 minutes’ walk of the university.

Many students are living away from home for the first time, so the safety of an area is also usually very important to them. When looking at a location, ask yourself:

Would I want my kids living here?

 If the answer is no, you will probably have a tough time getting tenants.

Students need a fast and reliable internet connection and will often ask about this. Offering a good subsidised or inclusive internet package is a major bonus that will make you stand out. Try to avoid locations where internet is poor, a quick Google search for speed and reliability should tell you all you need to know.

When it comes to the property itself, try to focus the search on properties with large kitchen and lounge areas as these appeal the most to students.

As a general rule, students don’t care about gardens - so don’t invest in one. They can be costly to maintain and won’t add much value.

Now that you’ve got your new property, it is time to start maximising your returns on investment. Read my recent article on maximising the value you add to your property for everything you need to know on this.

If you have any questions about your first property auction, or tips to share with your fellow investors, join the discussion in the comments section below!

Now that you’ve got your new property, it is time to start maximising your returns on investment. Read my recent article on maximising the value you add to your property for everything you need to know on this.

 

If you have any questions about your first property auction, or tips to share with your fellow investors, join the discussion in the comments section below!

Looking for more tips on furnishing your property? Have a read of my recent article on adding value to your property investments.

The basics of managing a student property are the same as any other property, but there are a few extra things to think about here.

Make sure the property is clean, well-maintained and has robust furniture and fittings. Students are not known for taking good care of their accommodation!

You will probably be re-decorating on a pretty regular basis so keep it simple and don’t splash out.

On that note, get landlord’s insurance with good cover for damages. Although the parents or guardians of students usually make reliable guarantors, make sure the insurance also covers lost rent.

When it comes to providing kitchen appliances, anything that saves your tenants time is a major selling point. The big three every student looks for are:

·         Microwave.

·         Dishwasher.

·         Washing machine.

You definitely want to provide all three if you have the space.

Student lettings agents are where the most tenants can be found. With a lettings agent you get the assurance of referenced and credit-checked tenants, and it saves you the trouble of finding tenants every year.

Advertise all year round. It used to be that student landlords could take advantage of inflated rent prices during the ‘Christmas rush’, but more and more students are disregarding their University’s advice to find a house before Christmas in search of a better deal.

If you want to get started investing in student accommodation, or you already are, don’t miss the Premier Property Club event covering the major legislation changes coming October 1st. You NEED to be prepared for these!

The basics of managing a student property are the same as any other property, but there are a few extra things to think about here.

Make sure the property is clean, well-maintained and has robust furniture and fittings, as students are capable of inflicting significant wear and tear on a property. You will probably be re-decorating on a pretty regular basis so keep it simple and don’t splash out.

On that note, ensure the landlord’s insurance has good cover for damages. Although the parents or guardians of students usually make reliable guarantors, make sure the insurance also covers lost rent.

Time-saving kitchen appliances such as a microwave and dishwasher add a lot of appeal to a student property.

Renting through a lettings agent rather than privately is generally a good idea as you will have the assurance of knowing your tenants have been referenced and credit checked, as well as reducing the amount of hands-on time you have to spend finding new tenants each year.

Students are usually pressured by their universities to find the next year’s accommodation before Christmas, but many savvy students know to avoid the higher prices of the ‘Christmas rush,’ so advertise your property throughout the year.

Outside the Property Market

Although some improvement will be seen on the interest rates of savings accounts, there will not most probably be any major increases, as banks tend to utilise such rate rises to widen their interest margins and profits, and are usually slow to reflect base rate increases in the interest rates of their savings accounts.

The price of the Pound dropped sharply after the hike announcement, however this can be expected to bounce back to its pre-hike position as the anticipated change will have been priced in and accounted for by traders.

Finally, it is important to remember that outside of the property market in London, the base rate increase can be expected to be of minor impact, for a number of reasons. Firstly, the rate increase has been anticipated for some time and the affected markets have largely already taken it into account in advance. Secondly, although this hike is a nearly unprecedented fifty percent rise, 0.25% is a relatively small increase considering the length of the freeze on rate increases and the 6% base rate that was in place before the financial crisis, and the banking sector has been keen to iterate that the increase represents a reflection of the UK’s improving economy rather than an alteration to it. Thirdly, with so much dependent of the still uncertain EU trade deal, many markets, the property market included, are likely to reserve major changes for once a definitive deal has been announced, or at least the lack of a deal has been definitively announced.

Although some improvement will be seen on the interest rates of savings accounts, there will not most probably be any major increases, as banks tend to utilise such rate rises to widen their interest margins and profits, and are usually slow to reflect base rate increases in the interest rates of their savings accounts.

The price of the Pound dropped sharply after the hike announcement, however this can be expected to bounce back to its pre-hike position as the anticipated change will have been priced in and accounted for by traders.

Finally, it is important to remember that outside of the property market in London, the base rate increase can be expected to be of minor impact, for a number of reasons. Firstly, the rate increase has been anticipated for some time and the affected markets have largely already taken it into account in advance. Secondly, although this hike is a nearly unprecedented fifty percent rise, 0.25% is a relatively small increase considering the length of the freeze on rate increases and the 6% base rate that was in place before the financial crisis, and the banking sector has been keen to iterate that the increase represents a reflection of the UK’s improving economy rather than an alteration to it. Thirdly, with so much dependent of the still uncertain EU trade deal, many markets, the property market included, are likely to reserve major changes for once a definitive deal has been announced, or at least the lack of a deal has been definitively announced.

About the Author

Kam Dovedi is a leading UK property expert. Known for testing, taking underperforming strategies and accelerating them, and teaching people how to create their own personal wealth, he has become the 'go to' person for investors and developers that would like to create, grow and accelerate their property investing and developing. Having been a property investor and developer for over 28 years, and having successfully implemented (and still does implement) a range of strategies from: buy to lets, HMOs, Permitted Developments, New Builds and Commercial Conversion means he has built-up a significant Multi Million Pound Property Portfolio. Kam passes his information, knowledge, and experience to his mentees in the Premier Property Inner Circle and people who read resources and attend training by Premier Property Education.

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