Property auction glossary

The jargon made simple: To help you understand the new terms used around auction sales this is a simple glossary of common terms with an explanation behind each one.


Habitable Property Test

The property must have a kitchen sink and a toilet to be deemend habitable.


Many buyers will buy unsold properties after auction and this practice which is known in the business as ‘hawking’, is fairly common. The main advantage for buying unsold property after auction is that the auctioneer will generally disclose the reserve price.

Homebuyer Report

Previously known as the Homebuyers Survey and Valuation (HSV) and often still referred to as a Homebuyers Survey, was introduced in 2009 and is completed within a standard format as laid down by RICS. It will not detail every single aspect of the building, but it does spotlight urgent matters that have a substantial effect on the value of the property and need attending to or further investigation.


It is often the case that auction houses put the lots which they believe will be the most popular towards the front of the catalogue. Typically, lot 1 will be a ‘hook’ to ensure plenty of people get excited by the catalogue and also attend the auction early hoping to pick up a bargain. Some auction house may also use ‘reverse hooks’, in which they hold back some of the most popular properties until the very end to ensure bidders attend auctions towards the end of the day when the room may have quietened down.

House Price Index (HPI)

An official statistic that captures changes in the value of residential properties in England and Wales.