Bidders Guide to Online Auctions


This is a simple process and we set out below the main steps.

The service is provided with support from the Essential Information Group and makes use of their Auction Passport system. You’ll initially need to sign up for an Auction Passport to view the Legal Packs, but importantly please note that this does not authorise you to bid and you must complete the full registration process.

At the end of this Guide are details on how the Bidding Process works.




Please contact us at any stage if you are unsure as to how to Register, or unsure if you have been successfully authorised to Bid.

Before Bidding please make sure that you have carried out required Due Diligence. You should investigate all aspects of a potential purchase before you get to the Auction. You need to do this before placing a bid as you are committed if it is successful.

As each Buyer’s circumstances are different we cannot give you a definite list of areas to investigate, but you should at every step ask yourself what are the potential implications of acquiring the property and not just focus on the benefits. A prudent Buyer also seeks to understand any potential costs, liabilities and risks.

You want to be in a position where you have confirmed any material facts regarding the acquisition and/or to identify risk areas which might require further attention.

As a minimum, we’d encourage you to read the Legal Pack, Online Auction Terms and Conditions for Bidders, any other associated Sale documents and any Addendum, inspect and view internally (if possible) and investigate the general location both in terms of what the current situation is and what may happen in the future.

If you are in any doubt we’d always suggest engaging your own solicitor, surveyor or accountant (or other property professional as appropriate, e.g. engineers, architects, planning advisor etc.) to provide independent professional advice.


If your maximum bid is below the reserve price the system will place an immediate bid at your maximum bid amount, but if your maximum bid is at or above the reserve price the system will automatically increase your bid to be at the reserve, and will only bid again on your behalf if you are subsequently outbid by another bidder (up to your maximum bid amount).

If another bidder has already placed the same maximum bid or higher, they will be the highest bidder and the system will notify you via email so you can place another bid.

NB: Your maximum bid is kept completely confidential – it’s presence or amount are not disclosed to the auctioneer, vendor or any other bidder.

Bidding Example Showing How Maximum Bidding Works:

  1. The current bid on a lot is £90,000. The reserve price has been set at £100,000 (not disclosed) and the lots bidding increments are set at £1,000.
  2. Tom wants to bid. The minimum bid amount is £91,000 but Tom decides to place a maximum bid of £97,000. As this is below the reserve price of £100,000 (not disclosed), the system places a bid for Tom at his maximum bid amount and he becomes the highest bidder at £97,000.
  3. Jane logs on to bid. The minimum bid amount is £98,000 but Jane places a maximum bid of £105,000. The system automatically increases Jane’s bid to meet the reserve and she is now the highest bidder at £100,000. However, Jane still has a proxy bid of £105,000 "in the system" which will automatically bid on her behalf if anyone else places a bid.
  4. Tom is notified that he has been outbid. If no further bids are placed Jane would win the lot for £100,000.
  5. Tom places a bid of £101,000, and Jane’s proxy bid instantaneously outbids him at £102,000 as this is the lowest bid required to make her the highest bidder.
  6. Tom then places a maximum bid of £105,000. The current bid jumps to £105,000 with Jane as the highest bidder as she placed a proxy bid at that amount before Tom did.
  7. Tom then places a bid at £106,000 and wins the lot as there are no other bids and it is above reserve.

THE Bidding Extension Window Ensures a Fair Chance For Everyone

The online auction will close as per the advertised ‘Auction End Date’. However, if a bid is placed within the final 60 seconds of the auction’s scheduled end time, the auction will be extended by an additional 60 seconds – known as the ‘bidding extension window’.

If a bid is placed in the ‘bidding extension window’, the clock will immediately reset to 60 seconds again, and the auction will only finish when an entire 60-second bidding extension window passes without any further bid being placed, i.e. 60 seconds of ‘bidding silence’.

Bid "Sniping" – Does It Work?

Unlike eBay, bid sniping will not work on our online auction platform. There is no advantage in leaving your bid until the last few seconds; it will only initiate a 60-second bidding extension window which ensures every bidder has a fair and equal opportunity to place another bid.

Additionally, if you do leave your bid until the final few seconds you could risk your bid not being received by the controller server until after the closing time, and therefore not accepted.

How Payment Registration Works

To bid online you are required to submit details of a credit or debit card. When you register your card, we will be placing a hold on funds on your credit card (or bank account if you use a debit card), to the value of the bidder security deposit. This means that the amount we’re holding will affect the available amount you have to spend on your card, as the amount will be ring-fenced and you will not be able to spend it until the hold has been released.

If you are the winning bidder then the amount will be taken in full from your registered credit card or bank account immediately following the close of the auction. If you are not a winning bidder then the hold on funds will be released from your card, but be aware that it can take anything from a few hours up to several days for the hold to be released (dependent on the card issuer). If in doubt, contact your card issuer. Please be aware that you will not have access to the funds until the hold has been released.

Please see two example payment registrations below:

Scenario 1: Tom has a credit card with an overall limit of £5,000, and a current available balance of £4,500

  1. Tom registers to bid on an online auction lot which has a ‘buyer’s premium’ of £2,500 applicable
  2. Tom registers his credit card – a hold on funds is placed on the card to the value of £2,500
  3. The available balance to spend on the card is now £2,000
  4. Tom goes out shopping and buys a new laptop for £1,500
  5. The available balance on Tom’s card is now only £500
  6. Tom bids on the online auction but is unsuccessful and doesn’t win. The auction closes and the system automatically instructs SagePay to release the hold on funds from Tom’s card
  7. The available balance on Tom’s card will revert to £3,000 once the ‘release’ has taken place

Scenario 2: Jane has a debit card for a bank account with a current balance of £2,750

  1. Jane registers to bid on an online auction lot which has a ‘buyer’s premium’ of £2,500 applicable
  2. Jane registers her debit card – a hold on funds is placed on Jane’s bank account, to the value of £2,500
  3. The available balance in Jane’s bank account is now only £250
  4. Jane goes shopping and buys a new mobile phone for £300, pushing her £50 into an overdraft
  5. Jane bids on the online auction and wins the auction. The auction closes and £2,500 is immediately taken from her bank account
  6. Jane remains £50 overdrawn
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