Auction properties: Regent's Park and Canterbury

Our auctions expert Samantha Collett finds properties for all budgets — and buyers — in the spring sale rooms
Regent's Park
Guide price £650,000: two-bedroom maisonette in Albert Street, NW1
Every week thousands of properties are sold at auction. Even in desirable parts of London there are bargains to be found, with properties to suit every budget and every kind of buyer, whether they are seeking a family home, a buy-to-let investment or a development project.

Buying at auction is a fast and convenient way to buy property. There is no gazumping, changing of minds or complicated housing chains to worry about. And once you've bid and won, it's yours.

This speed can be scary for some. But if you have done your homework thoroughly before the auction you should be confident enough to go ahead and bid to the price you have in mind.

Research is the key to successful auction buying — and unlike buying property with an estate agent, much of what you need to know will be available for inspection before you buy. Legal documents are prepared in advance and many solicitors will check these details ahead of an auction sale for a set fee. Finance has to be organised and agreed ahead of the auction sale date.

There will usually be reasonable time to view the property before auction, giving you a chance to plan any works you may want to carry out and obtain builders' quotes.

Not every property sold at auction is a snip, and many are flawed — auction fever is a well-known phenomenon — but buying in this way can be profitable if you are sensible. I have bought and sold at auction for many years and have learned how to read the descriptions of properties and interpret the small print.

In this occasional column, I'll be turning auction detective to bring you top tips on bidding and recommending my best buys from the country's top sale rooms.

Reach for the high life near Regent's Park
Guide price: £650,000 - two-bedroom maisonette in Albert Street, NW1

Admit it, we're all suckers for a central London pad and this long-leasehold, split-level, two-bedroom maisonette in this handsome Grade II-listed house is no exception — especially as the guide price is £650,000-plus.

Described as "requiring modernisation" and given this is an executor sale, this flat is going to take some work to make it a prime piece of real estate. But with approximately 83 square metres (893 square feet) on offer, plus the potential to extend into the roof space (subject to gaining freeholder approval) this flat offers a huge opportunity to the new owner.

However, as the building is listed, you will need permission to do any work. With houses in the area regularly changing hands for millions, agents believe that when this flat has been modernised it could easily exceed the magic million — so there is plenty of scope for building in potential value.

Albert Street is a sought-after area close to Regent's Park and just moments from the buzz of Camden and the delights of Primrose Hill. There is a wealth of facilities on the doorstep — not to mention Tube and train connections aplenty, all within a few minutes' walk.

Who: McHugh & Co (mchughandco.com)
What: Lot 8: Albert Street, Regent's Park Auction: BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, W1
When: May 1, 2013.

Havelock Street, Canterbury
Guide price £150,000-£170,000: two-bedroom house in Havelock Street, Canterbury
Canterbury, Kent
Guide price £150,000-£170,000: two-bedroom house in Havelock Street, Canterbury)
This two-bedroom end-of-terrace with a guide price of £150,000-£170,000 may not look much from the outside but location is everything. For this little terrace house is located in a key city-centre location near Canterbury cathedral.

Demand for houses in Havelock Street has gone crazy and there is a waiting list, say the agents. However, the house is next door to a nursery and near a small local pub. The popularity of Canterbury as a place to live, work and invest looks set to rise given the great transport links and ability to get to St Pancras in less than an hour.

Who: Clive Emson (cliveemson.co.uk)
What: Lot 90: Havelock Street, Canterbury, Kent
Auction: Kent County Show Ground, Detling Hill, Detling, Maidstone, ME14 3JF
When: May 10, 2013.

Dunkirk
Guide price £380,000-£400,000: three-bedroom house in Staple Street Road, Dunkirk
Dunkirk, Kent
Guide price £380,000-£400,000: three-bedroom house in Staple Street Road, Dunkirk

If you are looking for the quintessential village life — but with all the convenience of good commuter links — Dunkirk, less than six miles from Canterbury, could be the perfect spot.

The Manor House offers major potential for redevelopment and an email received by the auctioneer's from Swale council has confirmed "that the site lies within the defined built-up area of Dunkirk and that there is a presumption for sustainable residential development and subject to acceptable standards… residential development is likely to be supported".

Who: Clive Emson (cliveemson.co.uk)
What: Lot 148: Manor House, Staple Street Road, Dunkirk, Kent
Auction: Kent County Show Ground, Detling Hill, Detling, Maidstone, ME14 3JF
When: May 10, 2013.

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