How to Buy Property at Auction, Samantha Collett

Property Tribes: Book of the Month April 2014

How To Buy Property at Auction: The Essential Guide to Winning Property and Buy-to-Let BargainsProperty Tribes Book of the Month, April 2014Sam Collett is a familiar face and name on the property circuit, and also on some of the property forums. The author of well-known and award-winning blog What Sam Saw Today, she has now turned her attention to books as well as blogs and, of course, property.

The mechanics of buying auction property could, in the wrong hands, have been a dry and unappealing prospect to read. In Sam’s hands, however, it is more than enjoyable – I hesitate to call it a page turner as such, but it’s the closest to it I have yet found in the ranks of books about property and that is all down to the quality of her writing.

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As well as Property Tribes’ book of the month for April 2014, the book is also reviewed in the May 2014 edition of Your Property Network magazine …

I have never bought a property at auction. In fact, I probably fit Samantha Collett’s description of people for whom “auction properties hold a mystical quality that casts a dreamlike spell”. Thinking about it further, unless you count eBay, I’m not sure I’ve ever bought anything at auction, although I did do some live online bidding once for a couple of designer chairs. I didn’t get them and was rather absurdly pleased with myself. I had faced down that demon that threatens all auction-goers – you know, the one that says “go-on-go-on, keep-bidding-till-the-end-you-know-you-really-want-it-you-can’t-let-someone-else-have-it”. I knew my limit and stuck to it.

Truth be told, I have a mild fear of auctions, which stems from the age of five when my father (a farmer) took me with him to the local livestock auction market, more commonly known in our area as the ‘mart’. He told me to sit down, keep still, and not under any circumstances to scratch my nose or wave my hands about. I was too scared to move in case I bought an unwanted cow and incurred his wrath; prone to being a fidget, it was one of the toughest hours of my five-year-old life. The experience planted the seed of auction anxiety.

I have often thought about buying property at auction, but have not yet quite got around to it. I have not even attended an auction, although nearly did last month. I had planned to go and even had a Twitter exchange with Sam and told her about it … but well, deadlines cropped up and got in the way. You might prefer to think I wimped out. I make no further comment.

Into the Auction Room

However, if anything is going to get me into a property auction room, this book will. Not only is it a comprehensive guide on buying through auction, but Sam also covers the due diligence and thorough research you need to conduct before even thinking about bidding. On top of that, she talks about the potential pitfalls, and the book is sprinkled with real life experiences from the perspective of buyers, auctioneers and solicitors, together with a healthy selection of insider tips and insights.

Before getting into the essence of the book, ie, actually buying at auction, there is a chapter on The Business of Property Auctions, which is particularly helpful for people who are new to this method of purchasing property. Preparation and research is discussed thoroughly in Preparation is the Key to Success and Calculating the Bid Price of a Property. And as well as helping you navigate through the Big Day, she includes a chapter on After Auction: What Next? explaining what to do after you win – an important few weeks that is easy to overlook if you are not used to the auction process.

If you are as familiar as Sam is with auctions, then you are entitled to disagree but it seems to me that everything that you need to consider is right here in this book. So is it a manual? It could be, but it is so much more than that. Sam is a very talented writer and her enthusiasm is evident as you read. You wouldn’t call this type of book a page turner, but her writing style definitely keeps you interested.

Sam, of course, is no stranger to writing. You might already be familiar with her award-winning blog What Sam Saw Today which she has run for several years, something that has served her well when it has come to being published in print format.

Working with the Professionals

This is a professionally published book. While that might not exactly be a rarity in the world of property books, it is enough to make it stand out when it comes to quality, and also brings a bit of added clout to the publication itself. The combination of Sam’s expertise, writing style and the professional publication put it into the top notch category.

When preparing reviews, Editor Ant usually asks me to pinpoint any negatives but I really am struggling here. I can’t even find a typo. I guess the best (or worst?) I can say is, if you are not interested in buying at auction, then it’s not for you.

Who is it For?

That brings me nicely on to the subject of who it is for, and in this case the title says it all. It is for anybody who is interested in buying any sort of property at auction, or in how the auction process works. If you are familiar with auctions then there may not be much that is new to you here, but even then you might find it entertaining. It could also be a worthwhile read for trainee auctioneers and estate agents.

This is a book that goes beyond the world of property investing to target the British public’s insatiable fascination with property.

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