Repossessions now make up over 20% of all the properties for sale at auction, according to the Essential Information Group. Banks and mortgage lenders are keener on making sales on the day rather than achieving high prices and as a result, some excellent deals are currently available.

Here are some top tips from the Telegraph:

* Research the property

If you are buying-to-let, it’s worthwhile reading Phil Spencer’s advice about choosing the best location.

Don’t be tempted to buy a property in an area you know nothing about.

* Visit the salesroom

Familiarise yourself with the process, order some catalogues to see what guide prices are for the area that you’d like to buy in and read the conditions of sale for any properties that are of interest. Some auctioneers have a pack about the property including details of title deeds, leases and searches.

* Visit the property

And if possible, take a builder with you to assess work. There are usually only around four weeks between the time the catalogue is issued and the date of the auction. Check out Houseprices.co.uk to see sold prices in the street.

* Get a survey

This is essential when buying at auction

* Set a price limit

Set a price limit and stick to it

* Arrange a mortgage

If your bid is successful, you are legally bound to purchase the property and must exchange on the day. Never bid on a property at auction unless you are certain you can get a mortgage and complete the deal within 20 days.

* Prepare your deposit

You will need to put down a deposit at the auction of 10pc of the property’s price there and then if your bid is successful, so make sure you have the funds available. Take your chequebook with you to the auction and at least two forms of identification.

* Check the extras

There may be a buyer’s fee to pay at the auction houses (usually from £150 to £500) so check this before the day.

For more information:
Essential Information Group, 0870 112 30 40, www.eigroup.co.uk