Smart ways to recover funding for councils

As president of the National Association of Valuers & Auctioneers (NAVA), I am immensely proud of what the association stands for and the values that we as members in our profession work to. The organisation is aiming improve the standard and professionalism of auctioneering across the UK. The association is part of the National Federation of Property Professionals that also covers the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) amongst others.
If you are looking for an auctioneer, get the peace of mind you deserve by choosing one of our members. All of our members are qualified professionals and must follow strict rules of conduct. Use the ‘Find An Agent’ tool on our website to find a leading auctioneer in your area. Our members have untold experience in any specific area whether it be property, cars, fine art, roman coins, helicopters or general household items and you will find an expert in whatever you need to be sold near you.
Therefore, our NAVA members stretching the length and breadth of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales are ideally placed to assist you when the need arises to sell assets that have been seized from criminal activity.

Exceeding expectations
Personally speaking, I can only give examples of properties that I have sold, as that is my specialist area. However, NAVA members’ experiences would stretch to every discipline of auctioneering. Whilst working in Scotland my firm were appointed as auctioneers for the Scottish Government to act as their agent on properties seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act, where the properties had been purchased with funds from criminal activity. During a five year period I acted on properties that were seized in Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh.
One particular case involved 10 properties in Dundee. The portfolio was included in a catalogue of 71 properties in Scotland brought to the market in ahead of the auction in August 2006 in Glasgow. As I am sure you can imagine this created quite a stir locally and generated wonderful interest ahead of the  auction. However, it was public knowledge as to who the former owners were, and many understandably had reservations about this. As the auction day arrived, the auction room at the Central Hotel, Glasgow was full, with approximately 500 people in attendance. As the auction started there was clearly some tension in the room. But as soon as the first property in Dundee was introduced bidding was frantic, with all 10 properties exceeding their expectations and selling raising £540,000 to be reinvested into the local community.

Striking a deal
The next example was again in Scotland, slightly further down the east coast in Liberton, Edinburgh and featured on the BBC programme Homes under the Hammer. This property was a two-bedroom upper villa arranged over two levels and benefitting from a garden and garage. At the point of my initial inspection the property appeared to have been deserted for many years. In fact the table (which I will come back to shortly) was still laid for dinner. The owners had simply left the building and, it was estimated some seven years later, never returned. At the time the property was given a guide price for auction of £150,000. Our client decided that in order to maximise the proceeds from the sale of the assets, they would auction of the contents of the property separately. The majority of the furniture was pretty standard however the dining table was made of solid marble. The main worry was not how much
they would sell it for, but how they would get the table down the stairs and out of the property as it was so heavy.
The property eventually came to auction on 30 April 2010, under very different market conditions compared to what was the case at the height of the market in 2006. The property was offered as lot 1 on the day with approximately just 50 people in the auction room. However, as it turned out most of those 50 people where interest in this property and as a result there was competitive bidding which saw us achieve the best possible price on the day, again above the guide price, with the gavel finally falling at £186,000 to a private buyer who was looking at the property to live in themselves.

An open service
I now work for Dedman Gray Essex Land and Property Auctions based in Southend-on-Sea and regularly act for Local Authorities on assets that are part of their disposal strategy.
NAVA members are available to give advice and act on any goods or properties that have been seized by a Government Department.

The process of selling at auction means that you know you have achieved the best price for that asset on a said date, as all the interested buyers will be in the auction room on the day. Public auctions are exactly that, public. So everybody is welcome to attend.

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