The successful sale of residential property by auction

Associate director and auctioneer, Matt Burrows, offers some useful advice for those considering selling residential property by auction.

In the world of estate agency and auctioneering, navigating the sale of a residential property under time constraints and financial pressure can be a daunting task.

Such was the case with a recent customer of ours who was selling a three-bedroom semi-detached property located in the outskirts of a bustling market town in Warwickshire.

This property, while holding sentimental value, became a necessity to sell due to the owner’s move into a residential care home.

This case study shows how a strategic decision to opt for a public auction not only ensured a swift sale but also provided the seller with peace of mind and financial security during a challenging period.

The property and the challenge

The property, nestled in a semi-rural setting, was a family home for over 40 years, not only for the owner but also her daughter. The owner had moved into a care home and the daughter, needed to cover care home fees so urgency became paramount.

The daughter, holding Power of Attorney, faced the challenge of finding a solution that would meet both the financial requirements and the emotional strain of selling the family home.

Exploring options

The urgency of the situation left little room for traditional methods. Renting the property was quickly dismissed due to the inability to generate sufficient funds to cover care costs.

Selling on the open market presented its own set of challenges, primarily the uncertainty of securing a buyer within the required timeframe.

The concern wasn’t finding a buyer willing to pay the market price, but how long the process would take while the property was sold subject to contract. In addition, the risk of a buyer withdrawing their offer before exchange of contracts was a significant concern.

Decision and execution

After careful consideration, the decision was made to pursue a public auction. Setting a guide price at £375,000 aimed to attract potential buyers while ensuring a fair market value.

A focused six-week marketing campaign generated significant interest, with 15 viewings indicating a promising level of engagement.

However, a pre-auction offer of £475,000 presented an unexpected opportunity. With the client’s approval, the offer was accepted, paving the way for a swift resolution.

The outcome

Contracts were exchanged within 24 hours, showcasing the efficiency and reliability of the auction process. Four weeks later, the property completed, providing the seller with the necessary funds to cover care expenses. Beyond the financial relief, the successful sale alleviated the emotional strain associated with parting with a cherished family home.

Key takeaways

This case study underscores several key lessons: flexibility in pricing and strategy is imperative to attract bidders in auction sales; pre-auction offers can present lucrative opportunities, often exceeding initial expectations; and property auctions offer a reliable solution for sellers seeking a swift and secure transaction.


The success of this property sale by public auction showcases the effectiveness of considering all potential options, and with advice from a professional, choosing the right option that best fits the requirements of the seller.

By embracing the auction process, the seller not only achieved their financial objectives, but also concluded the sale in time to pay for the impending care home fees being due.

This case study serves as a great example of how, when speed and security are the primary objectives, a sale by public auction will often be the best course of action.