SDL Auctions

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by SDL 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 SDL 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

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
»Consultant to SDL Auctions:
Graham Penny
»Founded in 2006
»Based in Chilwell, Nottingham
»No. of employees: 50–60
»Services: Property auctioneer
SDL Auctions
Highlighting best practice
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.
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 purchasers.
Homes under the
Hammer captures
the excitement of the
auction room
We blend
together the
of an auction
with the
benefits of a
estate agency
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 auction
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
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 SDL 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 The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister