Guide Prices Explained

Why you need to read this

When using the "price range" filters, for both future and past lots, it is essential that you understand the basis on which guide prices are issued by auctioneers. Unlike estate agents who in the vast majority of cases simply quote an asking price, auctioneers quote a 'guide price' or a 'guide price range'. The key difference here is that whilst an estate agent's client is likely to accept an offer at the asking price and sell the property, in auctions the bidding may go well above the guide and reserve before being sold to the highest bidder.

The guide price is only an indication as to where the reserve is currently set and not necessarily the auctioneer's expectation as to what it will sell for.


A ruling in 2014 by the ASA stated that where the guide price is a range of figures (for example £100,000 to £110,000) then the reserve must sit within that range, and where the guide is a single figure (for example £100,000 or £100,000+) then the reserve must be within 10% of that figure. The reserve however is only the figure at which the auctioneer by the vendor is authorized to sell the property on the day. In addition, it is subject to change throughout the marketing period depending on the interest in a lot. Remember that the lower the reserve and hence the lower the guide price the more interest there will be in a lot. It is essential therefore not to rely on the guide price as an indication as to what the property could sell for, merely as to where the reserve is going to be set.

How to set your range

In choosing your range of guide prices you must bear in mind that the actual sale price of properties could exceed the upper level of the range or guide price by some margin or indeed in some cases sell for less than the guide price. We would therefore suggest when setting the 'Min price' and 'Max price' you make it much wider (especially the upper limit) than you otherwise would do if you are searching on a regular property portal such as RightMove or Zoopla.

No guide price given

Occasionally lots can be given a non-numerical guide price such as 'Refer', 'Awaiting' or 'No Guide'. This can occur in the early stages of the marketing process as the auctioneer is still determining the reserve, and in these cases we will return the lots in every search performed on the website to ensure that you don't miss out on lots which could potentially fall within your price range.

Sold prices

Furthermore, sold lots will be included in the search results if the sale price falls within your price range. If the sale price has been kept undisclosed by the auctioneer (as will often happen with sold prior and sold post lots), then we will revert to checking the lot's guide price and only if this falls within your price range will we return the lot in the search results.

Unsold lots

For unsold properties, if we know the reserve price then we will use this to determine whether or not to return the lot in your search results. If this is not available we will use the lot's guide price.

Finally, auctioneer's will sometimes offer multiple lots together (as one lot). In these cases we will return all the associated lots in your search results provided that the guide price for each of the lots falls within your specified price range, and we will add a note against each lot to show that it is offered jointly with other lot(s).