A property purchase at auction is legally binding. On the fall of the auctioneer’s hammer the winning bidder exchanges contracts to buy a property and so becomes legally committed to buying the property. The completion date will be set at auction and is usually a very short period of time after the date of the auction. Unless a buyer has cash funds available, a buyer has a limited amount of time to arrange their mortgage funding. If there are any problems with the property (which may be referred to as “title defects”), these problems could prevent a buyer from obtaining a mortgage.
Our team at AFG Law can check your auction packs for you. We will review the legal pack for you and provide a report on the contents. This report will explain the documents that are in the pack, what issues they raise (if any) and also what documents are missing.
What is a legal pack when buying a property or land at auction?
An auction pack is a set of documents prepared by the Seller’s solicitor which is made available for the Buyer to consider. It is usually intended to provide a complete set of legal documents for a Buyer to allow them to make an informed decision about the Property before the date of the auction. Sellers will always provide an auction pack but the contents will differ for each and every property. Sellers are not required to include any particular document with an auction pack. It is common for documents to be omitted from a pack if they contain issues affecting a property.
Buyers who buy a property on the open market can, through their solicitors, ask the Seller as many questions as they wish about the property until they are satisfied it is suitable for purchasing. Such buyers can withdraw from the transaction at any stage before exchange of contracts has taken place. Auctions buyers are not able to do this. A buyer of an auction property does not have the opportunity to ask questions. They can only consider an auction pack and then decide on the basis of what is and is not in the pack whether or not they wish to buy the property.
What is included in an auction pack report?
Our experienced solicitors will consider the contents of the auction pack and provide an explanation of all the documents within it.
If there are any problems or title defects apparent within the documents then our experienced solicitors will explain the risks to you in buying the property with that title defect. Where possible they will also provide possible solutions.
Our solicitors will also explain what documents are missing from the pack, what information those documents would have provided and whether or not that presents a risk to you.
How long is an auction pack valid for?
The older a property pack is, the more concerned the buyer should be as this identifies that the property has been in auction for a while and there is a reason it has not sold before.
There are some documents that are commonly part of auction packs, such a title registers and Local Authority searches, that are accurate only for the day that they are produced and so become “out of date” very quickly. Our experienced solicitors will identify such documents to you and will advise of ways to reduce the risk of accepting such documents.
What does an auction legal pack review cost?
Our costs for a review of an auction pack with a report start from £395 plus VAT.
Do I need a solicitor after an auction pack review?
We strongly suggest that you instruct one of our solicitors to review your auction pack for you. Properties are often placed into auction when they cannot be sold on the open market due to an issue affecting it. As a buyer at auction, you need to know what problems or title defects (if any) affect the property that you intend to buy. These problems could affect your ability to get a mortgage, if you need one. If you are a “cash” buyer then you will be able to complete unhindered but any such problems or title defects could affect your ability to sell the property in the future and so could affect the return on your investment. By instructing a solicitor, you can make an informed decision on the property before attending the auction.
Successful bidders will also need to appoint a solicitor to complete the transaction for them after the auction.