Lessons Learned When Buying Auction Property

I’ve always been interested in property, having completed studies in interior design and have had a few lucky purchases when it comes to houses.

I picked up a bargain with my first house, an ex-local authority end terraced place that I purchased for an absolute snip. After the usual updates eg. new kitchen, bathroom and windows etc, I was able to sell it with a profit margin enough for a decent deposit on a beautiful Victorian property that needed a fair bit more work, albeit cosmetic.

I did become quite attached to this house but due to a nasty divorce, I found myself in the position of having to sell up again. I was sorry to put it on the market but got used to the idea and have been looking at my options.

The one that appeals to me most at the moment is buying an auction property. The house sale has gone through relatively smoothly and I have convinced my parents to let me move in with them. My father keeps stressing at the thought that I might get fleeced with an auction property but I believe I’ve done sufficient research, and that I can be restrained enough, to not go over budget or do anything silly.

I’ve been devouring property papers, I’ve even been to see what goes on at the auction and how to bid. I have to say, it’s very exciting. Watching the professionals bid on auction property is gripping stuff and totally absorbing. I see some of the houses sell for next to nothing and I’m sure I can grab a bargain of my own.

I’ve read enough to know that when I buy an auction property, I will need a 10% deposit on me on the day so I wait until the money comes through from my house and find the excitement is building. I’ve received my listing from the auction house and narrowed my choice down to three houses. I’ve made arrangements to view all of them this weekend and, at my father’s insistence, will be taking a builder with me, just in case there is anything wrong that I don’t pick up.

By the day of the auction I have one house that I have set my heart on. More like setting myself up for a fall, according to my father but he’s always scornful of everything he doesn’t understand.

The builder is concerned about a crack in the wall but it looks old to me so I’m not going to worry. He’s also making noises about something called ‘asbestos’ in the garage roof. Like I’d be concerned about the garage! Anyway, I’m hoping I’ll have enough cash to buy it outright so I don’t have to worry about a mortgage.

The auction gets under way and it takes about an hour to get round to the property I want. Bidding begins and I feel sick with anticipation, and sick with the thought of ‘what if I don’t get it’. I hold back to start to see how the bidding goes but I’m soon waving my hand in the air like I’m trying to guide a plan into landing.

It’s all over so quickly and within minutes, I am the proud owner of my first auction property. If only I had the money I could do this all day – it’s such a buzz! Money exchanges hands and I set off with my keys to show my father the house.

He, also, is concerned about the crack in the wall. To ease his concerns I’m getting in a structural engineer, just to make sure everything is above board and my investment is safe.

Oh dear, he says, scratching his head and sucking in his breath. Don’t you just hate it when they do that, it doesn’t mean anything! However, it turns out that due to a coal mine that used to be active in the area many years ago, the house has suffered some subsidence. It has been left derelict for some so nobody was bothered about it.

Looks like I’ll be staying with my parents for a little longer after all! While the workmen are underpinning the wall against the garage, they dislodge the makeshift roof and find this asbestos stuff. After downing tools, they tell me I have to get this stuff professionally disposed of before they will continue.

So, that’s just under 25,000 pounds for all the structural work before I even think about the cosmetics! I couldn’t get a mortgage on the property because of the structural problems so I’ve had to borrow it from my father. I can’t believe that my bargain auction property has become such a problem and now it looks like, once I’ve done all the hard work on it, I’ll have to sell it on again just to pay my father back.

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