How safe is buying a house at auction?

John Conlin / 02 January 2017

Chartered surveyor John Conlin advises a would-be landlord.


I am a would-be landlord and am told that there are bargains to be had at auction but is it safe?

Is buy-to-let a good investment?


Remember that ‘Caution’is an anagram of ‘Auction’! 

You must have cash or a loan or mortgage offer agreed before you bid. 

Attend a couple of auctions as an onlooker to familiarise yourself with procedure. Scour the auction catalogues and if you see a suitable property, download the full details and then view. 

Ask yourself: If this property is as good as it seems, why is it being sold by auction? There are many good reasons but it could point to something that is not immediately apparent. 

Seek advice from a solicitor and a surveyor – there will be fees but it may avoid a dud purchase. 

To be successful you must be ready to walk away at any stage irrespective of the time and effort invested.

How to become a landlord

For more of John Conlin's no-nonsense property maintenance
advice delivered straight to your door every month, 
subscribe to Saga Magazine today!

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.