Buying an Auctioned Property: Benefits and Risks 0f Bank Auction Properties

Bank Auction Properties

Banks in India oftentimes announce property auctions as a means to recover defaulted loan dues of borrowers. The property in question here is the property pledged by the borrower to the bank as collateral or guarantee against the loan.

Even in December of 2020, just a couple of months ago, the State Bank of India (SBI) organized a mega e-auction wherein more than 3,000 residential and commercial properties, the owners of which defaulted loan amounts, were auctioned off to the general public.

As the rules and the process outlines, banks need to first send recovery notices to the defaulters in the form of a legal process to repossess the property pledged as collateral. Only the defaulter’s failure to still repay the loan EMI results in auctioning of the property under the Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act (Sarfaesi Act), 2002.

Bank auction properties in India are open for all Indian citizens, in any part of the country, to place a bid on.

How is Buying a Bank Auctioned Property Different From An Open Market Property?

Bank auctioned properties come with multiple monetary advantages that an open-market property seller cannot. The biggest benefit, for example, is that bank auctioned properties are sold at a rate much lower than the market rate; typically at least 10%-20% lower than the prevailing market rate.

It should be noted here that property being auctioned by a bank is nothing but the consequences of bad debts or bad loans. As a result, banks find ways to get rid of such properties as soon as possible, even if that means having to sell the property at a much lower price than the open market price.

If you are planning to participate in a property auction, though there are multiple advantages, one should be wary of a couple of disadvantages as well. Let us discuss the pros and cons of purchasing an auctioned property in detail!

Why Should You Buy a Bank Auctioned Property?

Why Should You Buy an Auctioned Property

Great prices: As mentioned, properties auctioned by banks are typically at least 15-20% cheaper than the open market price which makes investing in great real estate so much cheaper and affordable, at a discount.

Great Locations: There usually exists a possibility of such auctioned properties being located in posh and prime city locations. A great example would be how Air India’s premium properties like the home in Lonavala and four marque properties in Bombay were out for sale.

Great Convenience: Most properties offered in auctions are ready-to-move-in properties, free of cost-escalation, delay, or fraud risks. One needs to pay for the property and it is good to use as soon as the deal is closed. This, hence, offers a lot of conveniences and helps the buyer save time and energy.

On The Flipside, However, Here Are Some Disadvantages Of Purchasing Auctioned Properties

May become difficult to physically assess the property: Since auctioned properties are pre-existing and standing properties, sold on an “as-is-where-is” basis, the buyer will need to physically visit the location in order to assess the property in detail. One will not only need to check the operational capacity and for damages but also review the bid documents microscopically. If the said property happens to require multiple repairs upon assessment, that basically translates to extra cost and this just takes the basic advantage of auctioned properties: lower-than-market-rate.

Title due diligence: The auction notice of any property being auctioned by a bank typically highlights a clause where the bank absolves itself ‘of any surprise it may not be aware of.’ This puts the buyer in a risky situation since the entire responsibility of diligent buying lies on them. It is recommended to use a lawyer for an in-depth analysis of the property terms and to save oneself from trouble. One should also not shy from making inquiries about disturbances, claims, and the rights of the previous owner or any other entity, and financial liabilities (if any), before bidding.

Possession claim of the property: Banks, when auctioning a property, only take the responsibility of handing over the legal documents of the house. The responsibility of evicting the pre-auction tenants or residents of the property lies on the buyer. If the said current occupants refuse to move out, the buyer cannot even take the bank to the court as a bank, technically, is not a supplier of goods or services. This can put a buyer in a fixed spot and hence, it should be made sure, before the purchase of an auction property, to take physical possession and not rely on the symbolic possession issued by a bank.

Mandatory pre-bidding deposits: Even before one can be a part of the auction bidding, banks require the hopeful bidders to deposit 10 percent of the property price as deposit money. If the participant fails to win the bid, the money is reimbursed but if you do win the bid, a huge percentage of the sale price needs to be deposited to the bank in very strict timelines; at times even as slow as 15 days. Arranging such a huge amount for a common man within 15 days may not be feasible and hence, such auctions require ready funds.

Bank Auctioned Properties: What are The Legal Checks One Should Do Before Investing in The Property?

As some final thoughts, we have some tips now that you should make sure of before investing your earnest money in an auctioned property. It is true that auctioned properties are relatively safe and trustworthy, but do not forget to make sure of the following:

  1. Encumbrances
  2. Statutory dues
  3. Title and mortgage documents

The point here is to check that there are no outstanding payments like municipal taxes, society dues, litigations, electricity bills, municipal dues, and other taxes attached with the property, etc.  It is highly likely that the bank defaulter would not have paid such charges and since the properties are sold under  ‘as it is where it is basis,’ the ball will be in your court. You will need to prepare yourself in advance for how much money, over and above the sale price, you are willing to spend for possession of the property.

In terms of the mortgagor’s title and/or mortgage documents, you should take legal help and make sure there is no scam or fault as the same documents will be then transferred in your name. When you choose to invest in such a property, the key is to be aware and to make a wise, informed decision.

Bank Auction Properties FAQs:

1. Is it safe to buy property in a bank auction?

Though auctions are a great way to escape the long and tedious process of buying a house and often also offer houses at cheaper prices, it does require one to be microscopically diligent. This is so because the auctioning bank’s claim on the property is only limited to the outstanding loan on the property and the bank, hence, cannot be held accountable for 'any surprise it may not be aware of.'

2. How does a bank auction work?

The normal bank auction process is set into motion when the borrower defaults consecutively fro three times. Before the auction a notice is served to the borrower that is to be responded within 60 days stating why the bank should not initiate an auction on the said property. When the borrower pays their installements, this notice will be withdrawn.

3. What happens if finance falls through after auction?

If your auction finance pre-approval falls through after the auction of your property, then while bidding at the auction you can make legally binding and unconditional agreement for completing the purchase. Therefore, if for some reason your finance falls through you will still be liable for the contract.

4. What happens if finance falls through after auction?

Shopping online is addictive and fun even then it can quickly get out of hand. Everything is virtual in an online-store so you will tend to spend a lot more than you intended. Here are some of the disadvantages of an online auction:
  • You can’t inspect the item you are bidding for and pictures will be misleading.
  • There might be lack of information if you are bidding for a self-storage unit.
  • Since online auctions can be attended by everyone so you will have to outbid many people.
  • The website might go down for several reasons.
  • Websites might get hacked any time so you might get conned out of your money.
  • The delivery of a purchase of might take some to reach you.
  • 5. How long is the settlement of an auction?

    An auction might take around 6 weeks to get settles in general. Once your contracts are exchanged, the solicitor or conveyancer might check as well as negotiate the settlement period with the seller.
    Property Geek

    Property Geek

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