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Can you buy an auction property with a mortgage?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions and is the element which often leads to the most confusion from purchasers.

The simple answer is YES but buying at auction is different to buying a property through an estate agent. Once your bid is accepted on a property, you will be required to sign contracts at the auction (or they will be signed on your behalf by the auction house) and pay a non-refundable deposit to the auctioneer. This forms a binding contract between you and the seller of the property.

As you are exchanging contracts immediately, it means the conveyancing process is very fast and it won’t be long until you are officially the legal owner of the property. However, it is also quite a terrifying prospect, because as the buyer, there is no backing out!

Once the hammer falls, you are legally committed to purchasing that property and this is irrespective as to whether or not your are mortgage approved. 

What you need to do before the auction

You need to be 100% certain that you want to purchase the property and that you can afford to purchase the property before making a bid. The auction contract is non-negotiable so it will not be conditional on you being mortgage approved or drawing down the mortgage. It will provide that the sale is to complete typically 4 weeks from the date of the auction and if you don't complete on that day, then depending on what the seller wants to do, the buyer may be subject to interest penalties for delayed closing, they could lose their deposit or be subject to specific performance proceedings in court to force the purchase of the property (where possible). If you plan on purchasing the property using a mortgage then you will most certainly need to consider the following before going to the auction: 

1.Instruct a solicitor

 It will be necessary for you to instruct a solicitor so they can request and review the contracts and title documents as soon as possible before the auction. This will enable them to raise any queries that are necessary with the seller’s solicitors and to advise you of any issues with the title, planning or property taxes that may impact on your lender providing you with a mortgage. As mentioned above, if any title defects or planning issues come to light, it may mean that the property is not suitable as your lender will not lend monies on the back of it. Imagine if you hadn't done this and you were bound by the contract to buy the property with your lender refusing to provide a mortgage! “Caveat Emptor”  -  let the buyer beware.

2. Instruct an engineer

It is important that you have the property surveyed by an engineer before the auction. If a property seems like a bargain, there is usually a reason why. If a defect or major defects are discovered in the property after you have signed contracts, you are bound by that contract and you will have no recourse against the seller or the auctioneer. A solicitor's investigation is desk based so an engineer will spot things that will not be obvious to you or me. Your engineer will check any alterations or extensions and all the relevant planning documents to ensure everything is in order.

It is also advisable to have  your solicitor check the title map of the property to ensure that the boundaries on the ground correspond exactly with it. 

3. engage with your lender early

It is important to engage with your lender early in the process and definitely well in advance of the auction. Advise them what property you are intending on bidding on and that it is an auction property. You solicitor should have reviewed the title and planning documents and the surveyor will have inspected the property so any title or planning defects will have been identified. If there are any issues, they can be discussed with your lender for advices on whether or not they are acceptable to them and whether they will lend monies in light of the defects. Typically, the lender expects a solicitor to furnish a certificate of title to say that the title and planning is in order. If the solicitor is unable to do so then it may cause real difficulty.  The four week closing period in an auction contract is never enough time to remedy long standing title or planning defects.


  1. What are the steps to switch your mortgage?
  2. What are the costs and outlays in remortgaging your house?


We have extensive experience in dealing with all matters relating to buying at auction with a mortgage. We keep you informed at each stage of the process to ensure the transaction runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. If you’re looking to switch your mortgage and are looking to speak with an experienced solicitor, then pleaseget in touch today.

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