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Five words you may never expect to enter into Google. Why?

Auctions are sometimes perceived as a dumping ground and one which is often frequented by problem properties – a last resort rather than a first stop. Our residential catalogues are certainly varied. Dilapidated buildings and development sites sit alongside buy to let opportunities and ground rent investments.

We continue to enjoy offering the so called ‘problem lots’ together with ‘investor / developer stock’ but increasingly, we are supplying auction marketing advice to private sellers. Driving this trend is the slowing down of UK house price growth, which is now at its slowest rate since 2013*. Moreover, the rate of aborted house sales in the UK currently stands at nearly 40%, a figure which has nearly doubled since 2016.

The case of not being able to sell via the traditional estate agency route is increasingly common. Auction, however, is all about transparency and certainty. The market can see clear intent to sell rather than just another aspirational seller. The seller, in turn, can use the threat of the auction date to make a buyer act. Less slowing the pace and more cutting to the chase.

One of our best examples was seen earlier this year. The sale of 20 Somerset Place in Bath, an elegant Grade I Listed five storey Georgian townhouse. The property had experienced a rough ride on the local market. The seller initially contacted us in 2017 and we recommended at the time that a failed attempt to sell by auction would do more harm than good. In early 2019 the seller got back in touch with us – there was genuine interest in the property but a sale was still not forthcoming. Upon careful consideration we advised the vendor on an effective marketing strategy utilising the deadline that the auction room provides.

Over an ensuing (extended) three-week marketing period, 42 parties registered their interest via the newly relaunched auction website and Allsop App. The marketing collateral looked impressive and we received excellent feedback on the internal video tour. Property viewings rose quickly and legal document downloads were soon occurring on a daily basis.

The end result was the exchange of legally binding auction contracts at £1.1m. The property had previously been marketed by three local estate agencies over a four-year period without success. In contrast, the auction marketing process had served to create competitive tension that helped us to secure the sale of the property in just four weeks.

The seller contacted us immediately after the sale and said: “What I found so refreshing about the auction process, was the way you took it from my hands, handling everything with ease and transparency. Viewings were organised on specific days and my solicitor organising the legal pack. Within four weeks the house was sold. I absolutely want people to know that it is a viable option and not just somewhere to go if you want to buy a wreck. Personally, I think it’s the new way forward in selling houses!”

* Source:

Notes to editor

Tom joined Allsop’s Residential Auction Team in 2006.  He provides residential disposal and acquisition advice to private and institutional clients in the UK.

He has also managed a disposal for a major Banking Group and has experience working with asset mangers, property companies, local authorities and charities.


If you would like to get in touch with Tom, please contact him: or +44 (0)20 7344 2651