Auctions are fast becoming a preferred method for buying property abroad because it’s fast and relatively simple. There are advantages and disadvantages which we’ll go through here as well as some other advice if you’re looking to buy a property abroad at auction.

Types of Overseas Properties Sold in Auctions

  • Properties that are hard to sell
  • Properties that are difficult for an estate agent to value
  • Properties which are repossessions which are put up for ale by the mortgage providers. They often have low reserve prices so are perfect if you’re looking for a bargain!
  • Properties with potential for developers


There are lots of positive reasons to buy a property abroad via an auction.

  • There’s no estate agents to increase the price of properties abroad for their own commission
  • Properties put up for auction are often done so because the owners are desperate to sell or as mentioned above, they are repossessions, both meaning you can get a real bargain!
  • Buying a property abroad can take much longer than it would in your own country, however buying a property at auction is much quicker.
  • Auctions feature a range of property types from residential, commercial and land.


However, keep in mind that it has its pitfalls and it’s worth doing some research about the country you are thinking of buying first.

  • Lots of people will take the risk of trying to conclude a deal on their own without getting legal advice first
  • Not checking all of the details about the property first to make sure you’re getting what you think
  • Getting mixed up in a bidding war without considering your budget or even setting a clear budget in the first place

Auction Process

Every country is different when it comes to how it auctions its properties, so whatever strategy you are planning on taking when you plan to buy a property abroad at auction, do your research first. For example, in Spain you submit a seal tender with your offer, alongside a 20% deposit and a judge will decide on the best bid. In France, an auction takes place whilst being time by two burning candles. The auction for the properties ends when the second candle has burned out.