The UK has become a nation of bargain hunters when it comes to buying a property, according to new research. A survey conducted by Standard Life found that 40% of those asked would buy a property at auction, although not everyone is fully briefed about how the process works.

This is evidenced by the fact that 26% said they wouldn’t have any deposit arranged, and just half would have a mortgage organised in advance. In addition, a significant 78% didn’t know they would need to put down 10% of the purchase on the actual day of the auction.

The trend for buying at auction is fuelled by those who think that buying in this manner will help bring down the cost of a property: 98% of those questioned by Standard Life said they thought buying at auction would save money, with 9% thinking they would get over 30% off the price of a house, while half anticipate a saving of between a 10% and 30% off.

However, the lack of knowledge about how the system works could easily hamper would-be buyers: ‘It is essential that anyone thinking of buying at auction gets their financial house in order before they start the process,’ said Ashley Ramsay from Standard Life. ‘I’m sure many people don’t realise that if they bid over the market value of the property they may not get a mortgage for the full amount, and once their bid is accepted they are legally committed to buy it. Doing your homework and considering the practical implications of buying at auction is a good foundation for what can be an exiting and fulfilling experience.’

Click here for Standard Life’s top ten tips for buying property at auction.