Selling and Buying Property by Public Auction


Property can be sold either by Private Treaty, Public Auction or by Tender. Private Treaty sales are recognised as the usual traditional method. Sales by Tender are when offers are made usually in a sealed envelope prior to a deadline, perhaps give an impression of "mystery" and very often potential purchasers are deterred because of the nature of the process.

A Public Auction sale is a popular method of sale in order to achieve the best "open market value".


  • The whole process, from initial advertising to completion, can be undertaken within 8 to 10 weeks
  • The fall of the hammer, provided the reserve price is reached, is the contract between the seller and buyer
  • The buyer must sign the contract, available for inspection prior to the sale, immediately after the sale - and pay a deposit (usually 10%). The seller's contract is also signed, and the contracts are exchanged
  • The contract will stipulate the completion date when the balance of the purchase money is paid by the buyer
  • If the buyer fails to complete, the seller then retains the deposit - which would cover the sale expenses
  • The seller must be in a position to buy and sign a contract. There is no chain
  • All surveys should be undertaken prior to the sale
  • Open market value is achieved with competitive bidding. With spirited bidding, the realisation price sometimes exceeds expectations
  • If the property does not sell at the auction, it normally remains on the market by private treaty

Auction Procedure

  1. The property generally requires 4-5 weeks' advertising with prominent, effective advertisements. The type of property dictates the publications in which to advertise. Normally, the local newspapers and websites are adequate.
  2. The Sale Contract and Conditions of Sale are made available for inspection by intending purchasers prior to the sale, at the Auctioneers and Solicitor's offices. Your solicitor prepares the Contract.
  3. Prospective buyers must have finance arranged prior to the sale and if necessary a survey on the property. 
  4. The buyer must sign the Contract immediately after the fall of the hammer - and pay a deposit (usually 10%). The deposit is non-refundable and becomes the property of the seller.

The signing of the Contract commits the purchaser to complete the sale on the date fixed for completion. The completion date is when the balance of the purchase money is paid.

Failure to complete can result in penalties. The minimum and usual completion date is 28 days from the date of sale.

Guidelines for Prospective Buyers

Prior to Auction

  1. View the Property
    Arrangement to be made via the Auctioneers, H&H Land & Estates as detailed in the particulars of sale.
  2. Conditions of Sale
    The property is sold subject to Conditions of Sale. Different conditions may apply to separate Lots if there is more than one Lot. The Conditions of Sale are part of the Sale Contract.

It is recommended you familiarise yourself with the Contract and obtain legal advice if you are uncertain on any matter or terminology within the Contract.

  1. Advise Your Solicitor
    Please give a copy of the Auctioneer's sales particulars to your solicitors so that they can begin to make the necessary legal enquiries. Local and other Searches will be supplied with the Contract papers so that these do not need to be carried out by your solicitors but the buyer will be expected to reimburse the cost of these Searches in addition to the purchase price. You will enter a legally binding Contract if you bid is successful at the auction.
  2. Arranging Finance
    Since you will enter into a binding contract at the fall of the hammer and pay a substantial deposit (normally 10% of purchase price), it is essential that all financial arrangements are finalised well in advance. This is particularly important if you need to arrange mortgage finance. If this is the case, it must be arranged well before the auction day. The completion date is in accordance with the Auctioneer's sale brochure, as stipulated in the Contract.
  3. Insurance
    Once a property has been sold and Contracts exchanged, it will become your responsibility for insurance cover. Make sure you have taken out cover from the date of the auction up to the legal completion date. Your solicitors will advise you accordingly.
  4. Sale Prior to Auction
    Please check with us a few days before the sale that the Lot you are interested in purchasing is still available. It may have been sold prior to auction.

Auction Day Arrives...

  1. Arrive Early
    It is best to allow plenty of time before the bidding on your particular lot begins. If possible, meet the Auctioneer and let him know which particular lot you are interested in. 
    (It is possible that there may be some last minute alterations, and these will be announced at the time of the sale.)
  2. Bidding
    Be positive. Signal your bid by definite movements, for instance raising your hand or catalogue. If you have any doubts about bidding then speak to your solicitor who may arrange to do this for you.

When the Auctioneer announces "Going for the first time, going for the second time, going for the third and last time - sold" this is the final stage of the sale process and you must not leave it too late if you want to bid.

  1. Telephone Bids & Nominated Representatives
    Telephone bids to the Auctioneers' Offices prior to the sale cannot be accepted. If you are unable to attend the sale personally, then you must nominate a representative who must have full authority to bid and act on your behalf. The representative must have authority to sign the Contract on your behalf and provide the deposit money.
  2. Success
    If you are successful with the bid, come forward after the sale in order to sign the sale Contract. You will be asked to provide a cheque for 10% of the purchase price, made payable to the seller's solicitors and indicated on the particulars of sale.

Contracts are then exchanged and the seller's signed contract should subsequently be delivered to your solicitor, for them to take further action following the exchange.

Withdrawn Lots
If the property that you are interested in is withdrawn at the sale because it failed to reach its reserve price, please speak to the auctioneer, who will register your interest.

We hope these notes are helpful. If you require clarification on any point, please do not hesitate to contact us.

What Our Customers Say

  • Farm Sale. I just wanted to thank you for the sale of Housty. You’re a rose among thorns in estate agent world.

    Elaine Sparke

    10th January 2021

  • Sale | I want to thank Helen Forbes for persistence and your attention to detail and diplomatic handling of the sale throughout. I never thought I would be heaping praise onto an Estate Agent but you truly deserve it With all best wishes Alison

    Alison Young

    18th January 2021

  • We would just like to compliment you on your fantastic team in the Grange office. Last December with Jill's expertise we found just the right tenant for a small cottage we own. Jill was so professional and nice to deal with which is almost unquantifiable and we feel praise should be given where praise is due. We are about to successfully complete the sale of our second cottage with the help of Michaela in particular who directed our purchasers to us in the first couple of days it was advertised and has also been extraordinarily helpful and professional. We have nothing but praise for the team and your company and H & H will always be highly recommended by us.

    Rita and Colin Denby

    8th November 2020

  • Helen Forbes of the Durham office has been really solid during the sale of our home!


    23rd October 2020

  • Sales | I’m writing to say how grateful we are for all your help in the purchase of our new house in Keswick. We really enjoyed working with you and intend to put our current home on the market shortly with H&H, which will be entirely because of our dealings with you. We found your communication invaluable and felt informed at every stage of the house buying process. You demonstrated both integrity and honesty in all your dealings with us, and as a result we felt very confident in putting our trust in you. You gave a very positive, professional and friendly demonstration of how the job of an estate agent should be done. Thanks once again.

    K & P Mullarkey

    8th September 2020

  • Lettings | Excellent service right from day one, with an amazing team who really will go above and beyond (working hours for certain) to help ensure that their customers (prospective or otherwise) get the very best in advice and support. A genuinely good and reliable business.

    John Barnes

    16th September 2020

  • Sales | Sally and the team at H&H Cockermouth made what seemed a very stressful first time purchase during COVID-19 much easier. She was on hand to answer all of our questions, however small or obvious in a clear and supportive way. Elements beyond anyone’s control meant that the process was not smooth for us but Sally was reassuring and very patient with us. Thank you Sally and the H&H Team :)

    Ryan Tingley

    28th August 2020

  • Andrew and team at H&H were amazing. I sold my house through H&H we were about to close and then corona hit. It was unprecedented. The other thing that was unprecedented was the support and guidance that Andrew and his team offered us. He was always available and actively invested in helping us to complete our sale. Andrew and his team were professional yet friendly. We had been with another local estate agent for a month previously and the difference was huge. Most importantly we felt like people and not just a client. Thank you Andrew and your team. When I come to sell again you are top of my list.

    Paul Whittam

    26th August 2020

  • Sales | I am writing following the successful completion of the sale of my father’s house in Cartmel. I want to take this opportunity to express my thanks to Michaela and all the Grange team for their exceptional help during a very difficult time. From our first meeting I had complete confidence in the team. Following my father’s death plus lockdown, selling a house remotely could have been a nightmare; but difficult though it was I always knew that the team were there and went well beyond what is usually expected. I felt lucky to have them; I hope, but am sure that you fully appreciate the quality of service being provided despite difficult circumstances. I would always recommend H&H Land & Estates.

    Kate Gee

    20th August 2020

  • Lettings | We have used H&H Land & Estates since 2005 to manage our rental property. Everyone we have dealt with has made us feel confident in their knowledge and ability, offering expert guidance where needed. Recently we had to deal with some challenging issues and Jenna Nixon was nothing short of superb. Always returning calls promptly, offering expert advice which was very reassuring. We would never rent out a property without the help of a managing agent and they don’t come better than H&H Land & Estates. I fully recommend them. When we sell the property, we will engage their sales department for these same reasons. Expert, friendly staff with a wealth of knowledge on the local area and markets.

    Judith Rowe

    20th August 2020

  • Sales | Having had my property on the market with yourselves, shortly due to complete, I would just like to compliment the staff who work in Lowther Street. From my first dealings with the valuer who appraised my property to telephone calls with the staff in the office, I have received nothing but excellent service and I would like to thank them all for that. My biggest thanks must go to Gillian, who has helped me from start to finish, going beyond expectations to help me. I cannot thank her enough for all she has done for me and felt I must let you know what a valuable member of staff you have; her enthusiasm and humour along with her professional service has made my experience of selling my property very pleasant and for that I am very grateful. Many Thanks

    Jean Hill

    19th August 2020

  • Farm Sale | We would like to show our appreciation for everything Shirley did in the preparation and presentation of the (now successful) sale of the farm and we are sending you a small gift by way of our personal thanks. Thank you and best wishes to you The Hill Family

    The Hill Family (1)

    18th August 2020

  • Development | Although we thought this day would come sometimes miracles do actually happen! Anyway to say I am relieved and pleased is an understatement - a situation which ruled our lives for so long can now officially be put to bed. Can I take this opportunity of sincerely thanking Richard - his support is much appreciated. Also, can I please thank David for his stalwart endeavours over such a long period of time as his patience was truly amazing. Once again my sincere thanks.

    Lynn Buddles

    18th August 2020

  • Sales | Thank you for being helpful with my sale of Little Burnholme and a BIG thank you for being you. Kindest Regards Margaret


    17th August 2020

  • Lettings | We recently rented a property through H&H Land & Estates. Jenna was amazing and very professional throughout. From the first viewing through to after we had moved in, Jenna and the team were on hand every step of the way. First class service.

    Clare Everglades

    17th August 2020

  • Land Management | H&H Land & Estates manage our land holding portfolio nationwide. We trust them with their judgement and appreciate their advice at all times.

    Bellway Homes Ltd

    16th August 2020

  • I have been with H&H for over twenty years and latterly working with Tracey Jackson. I am very satisfied with their work.

    Mr Sheffield

    6th July 2020

  • Thomas, Shirley & Alan, we would like to show you our appreciation for everything you did in the preparation and sale of the (now successful) sale of the farm. Thank you.

    The Hill Family

    1st November 2019

  • Friendly and professional service at all times. Great service. Tracey is fabulous.

    Saiorse Cosgrove

    10th September 2019

  • Over the past few months, I’ve been dealing with Jenna to sort out some issues with a tenant that left and to find a new tenant for my property. You’ve been the managing agent for my flat since 2005 and the service that Jenna has given me recently has been nothing short of superb. She has promptly answered questions, given me reassurance and generally been a godsend over a fairly stressful time. You have a tremendous asset in Jenna.

    J Rowe

    25th February 2020

  • Excellent service from valuation through to completion. Very friendly staff and extremely professional. Thank you very much Andrew and Kathy in the Penrith office for your help. Can’t praise them enough.

    J Carver

    13th September 2019

  • Personal, professional and friendly, the team at H&H in Penrith truly give you five star treatment. They help you through all the issues which always arise when buying a property and give you peace of mind that everything is being dealt with. We would definitely recommend this great team and would use again in the future.

    Carol Edmondson

    15th September 2019

  • From my first dealings with the valuer who came out to look at my property and telephone dealings with the staff in the office, I have had nothing but excellent service and I would like to thank them all for that. My biggest thanks must go to Gillian, who has helped me all the way from start to finish, she has gone beyond my expectations and helped me in every way possible, her enthusiasm and humour along with her professional service has made my experience of selling my property a very pleasant experience and for that I am very grateful.

    J Hill

    21st August 2019

  • Nothing but praise for the service offered by Andrew and Kathy at H&H King, Penrith. They really put themselves out, not only to ensure that we sold our house but also to find us a house that suited our requirements in the right area. We have no doubts that they are worthy of a 5* rating. N&T

    Neil McGeown

    1st October 2019

  • We found Andrew and Kathy to be extremely professional. They guided us through the whole process seamlessly. Cannot recommend H&H highly enough. Thank you.

    Rhona King

    28th February 2019

  • Land Agency Advice | I just wanted to put ‘pen to paper‘ to give you some feedback about Robert Jauneika (Durham office) who was recommended to me by Martyn Hunter of JW Woods. I contacted Robert for advice and to do some work for me relating to a parcel of land I was selling ( now sold subject to buyer getting planning permission). I would like to say that Robert has been extremely professional, prompt, efficient, knowledgeable, a great communicator, patient and pleasant throughout all our communications. In fact I have worked with many people both in my professional and private life and have yet to come across anyone as good as Robert.

    Carolyn Hough

    16th November 2020

  • Thank you so much [Mike] for all your help with the Mid-Tier Application. I couldn't have possibly done it myself and it was such a relief to be able to hand it over to you.

    L. McArthur

    22nd August 2018

  • We are very pleased with the way you dealt with the Scroggs Wood programme. There seemed to be a number of difficulties, but you overcame all these problems and got the timber extracted in good time, and sold it well - we were delighted with the cheques we received. So we wish to thank you warmly for all your efforts, your expertise and your thoroughly professional approach.

    H. Summerson

    31st January 2020

  • I just wanted to put ‘pen to paper‘ to give you some feedback about Robert Jauneika (Durham office) who was recommended to me by Martyn Hunter of JW Woods. I contacted Robert for advice and to do some work for me relating to a parcel of land I was selling ( now sold subject to buyer getting planning permission). I would like to say that Robert has been extremely professional, prompt, efficient, knowledgeable, a great communicator, patient and pleasant throughout all our communications. In fact I have worked with many people both in my professional and private life and have yet to come across anyone as good as Robert.

    Carolyn Hough

    16th November 2020

  • Telecoms Mast Lease Renewal We will definitely recommend your services again. Your assistance has been excellent.

    Robin Moiser, Solicitor

    15th December 2020