Graham Penny Estates/Auctions

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Graham Penny Estates/Auctions's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Graham Penny Estates/Auctions is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Graham Penny, Consultant to
SDL Auctions
Competitive bidding in the
auction room
Graham Penny is the founder of Graham Penny Auctions,
now part of SDL Auctions, and a leading national
property auctioneer. Founded in 2006, Graham Penny
Auctions was purchased by SDL Group in 2016. Now acting as
a consultant to SDL Auctions, Graham reflects on how property
auctions can augment the current UK property market and
he explains that they should be considered as an alternative
approach by anyone looking to buy or sell a home.
Property auctions are a genuine alternative to private treaty sales and in some cases
can realise a better sale price. It’s an accurate barometer of the market at the point
of sale; if you offer a property for sale to an audience of competitive bidders, you
will secure the best price.
For those sellers who have been on the private treaty market for a while, vendors
who require a quick sale or maybe those who have a property in need of repair, an
auction is the perfect method of sale. With an unconditional auction sale, contracts
are exchanged on the fall of the hammer and completion takes place within 28
days. The speed, efficiency and decisiveness of this process has benefits for both
sellers and buyers in comparison to the uncertainty of lengthyprivate treaty sales,
and the lack of any redresswhen a sale falls through.
I built Graham Penny Auctions – now SDL Auctions – around offering buyers and
sellers a transparent, impartial and quick sales process. We have always offered
realistic advice both in terms of the likely sale price and whether an auction sale is
the right method. This transparency created solid and trusted foundations for our
business and helped us secure the position of number one property auctioneer in
the Midlands every year since 2006.
»Consultant to SDL Auctions:
Graham Penny
»Founded in 2006
»Based in Chilwell, Nottingham
»Services: Property auctions
»No. of employees: 50 to 60
SDL Auctions
SDL Auctions
SDL Auctions is now the third largest
property auctioneer outside of London
and the most successful in the Midlands,
based on Essential Information Group
statistics from the first half of 2018.
We sell a wide range of residential and
commercial properties on behalf of
both private individuals and corporate
clients via 40 auction events at large
sporting venues across the UK. In 2017
we began to offer properties for sale
by online auction every day of the year.
We are incredibly proud of the success
we have achieved over the past
decade with our traditional auction
event business and we are using that
experience and expertise to build what
we believe is an exceptional online
auctions product which really helps
set us – and our partner estate agents
– apart from the competition. We
blend together the competitive bidding
environment of an auction with the
benefits of a personal estate agency
sales experience, opening up the
market to a wider pool of buyers and
sellers, including owner-occupiers.
The auction landscape is
Until a few years ago, auctioneers only
offered unconditional sales where
contracts are exchanged immediately
on the fall of the hammer and
completion took place 28 days later.
That meant auctions were exclusive
to those with ready-money to spend,
typically investors. If a four-bedroom
detached property isn’t mortgageable
then only a small pool of people are in
a position to purchase.
Today the auction market has opened
up to incorporate conditional sales,
which requires a reservation fee
to be paid and delays exchange of
contracts, allowing buyers to secure
a mortgage or suitable finance.
We are one of only a handful of
auctioneers offering both conditional
and unconditional sales via traditional
auction events and online auctions.
We have embraced this shift in the
market and believe we are leading
the way in making auctions more
market-friendly for both vendors and
Homes Under the
the excitement of the
auction room
We blend
together the
environment of
an auction with
the benefits of a
personal estate
agency sales
Highlighting best practice
To help facilitate our expansion into
online auctions we also launched a
division dedicated to partnering with
estate agents, allowing them to set up
their own auction department using
our online auction sales infrastructure.
Our agents now have an additional
sales product to offer and we have a
platform to offer all types of property
auction to the UK property market.
Developing industry
There are a handful of rulings that the
property auctions industry must adhere
to, including one which states that a
property cannot be sold without a legal
pack. I believe this ruling is positive
for the industry as it reinforces the
transparency of auction sales; however,
there is currently no minimum content
requirement for these packs, which I
feel should be introduced.
At the moment it is possible for a
suitable legal pack to only include
a contract. This is not enough and
should be expanded to include at
least Land Registry data along with a
property information form detailing
services and boundaries, such as
the type you would get in a private
treaty sale. Understanding the value
of these legal packs, we established
a unique “no sale, no fee” legal pack
offer for our online auctions, breaking
down another barrier to entry for
In 2014, the ASA introduced guidelines
stating that a guide price must be
less than ten per cent above or below
the reserve price, meaning the guide
price really is a guide to purchasers.
When I conducted my first auction
there were no guide prices and this
introduction has definitely improved
the understanding and trust in our
industry. Auctioneers can no longer
price things low to generate interest
and mislead buyers into an overly
competitive bidding situation.
The future of property auctions
In the past few years, we have seen
a few smaller auctioneers disappear,
acquired by the larger networks. We
will see more of this in the future
and it can only be a good thing for
the industry. Larger auctioneers
have the capacity for national
marketing of properties, and bigger
catalogues ensure bigger audiences
in the auction room and genuinely
competitive bidding to achieve the
best price for vendors. With over
250 property auctioneers in the UK
today, it’s highly unlikely we’ll get to a
situation where any one business has
a monopoly.
Homes Under the
has been a significant
contributor to improving the public’s
knowledge of auctions and has
enhanced the profile of the property
auctions industry. In other parts of
the world, selling property by auction
is the main method of sale, with its
speed, security and transparency of
sale. The same emphasis should be
given to property auctions in the UK.
Homes under
the Hammer
has been a
contributor to
improving the
knowledge of
auctions and
has enhanced
the profile of
the property
Property auctions can
realise a better sale price
than private treaty

This article was sponsored by Graham Penny Estates/Auctions. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy