By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.


Industry bodies back Modern Method of Auction best practice guide

Three key industry organisations have endorsed a best practice guide for the controversial Modern Method of Auction.

The iamsold guide is aimed at agents offering or considering offering MMA and is backed by The Property Ombudsman (TPO), NAEA Propertymark and Essential Information Group.

The Modern Method of Auction, also known as a conditional auction, allows prospective buyers to place bids on a property within a given timeframe. At the end of the auction, the highest bidder is required to pay a reservation fee to secure the property.


The buyer then has 28 days to exchange and a further 28 days to complete.

The fledgling sector has been criticised for an alleged lack of transparency over the non-refundable reservation fees paid by purchasers, which often cost around £5,000 plus VAT or 5% of the agreed purchase price.

This led to the Property Ombudsman taking action in June, updating its membership criteria to ensure agents disclose all referral fees and explain the pros and cons of their recommended method of transaction at market appraisal stage.

The new guide outlines a code of conduct for agents offering the MMA service to clients.

iamsold is calling for other MMA providers to adopt the guide as a minimum industry-wide standard and is working to ensure its own agent network adopts the framework it sets out.

"MMA is on an exciting upward trajectory as many are turning to it as an alternative to the unreliable status quo," says Ben Ridgway, group managing director of iamsold's parent company iamproperty.

"Setting a benchmark for our industry with robust and transparent guidelines is vital to engage our consumers’ trust, and adherence to this guide will safeguard their needs and ensure they are at the forefront of engagement."

"No one provider owns the space, but we believe all should comply to minimum standards, so all parties involved can make informed decisions," he says.


Peter Habert, TPO's director of policy, adds: "Our focus is not just on resolving complaints but assisting the industry in raising standards and helping consumers to better understand the different ways they can buy and sell homes."

"The Best Practice guide is a step in that direction and mirrors The Property Ombudsman’s Code of Practice by emphasising the need to explain the differences, benefits and potential disadvantages of the method of sale to ensure consumers can make an informed decision," he says.

iamsold says it is keen to speak with agents and MMA providers who would like to use the best practice guide for their own client base.

  • icon

    So MMA providers will, from now on, be explaining to prospective vendor clients that a minimum buying fee of £5000 + VAT might impact the amount the seller receives compared to them selling, say for 1% + VAT, via Auction House?

  • Richard Copus

    The I Am Sold guide is a watered down version of what agents should be saying. It is full of holes which the lawyers will doubtless have great fun filling in as time progresses. The most important thing that they do not emphasise is that the seller's home will almost definitely sell for materially less than it would otherwise because of the high buyer's premium.
    Sad to see well respected auctioneer portal EIG supporting this. Understandably a money-spinner for them.

  • icon

    Let’s be clear - this is NOT the modern AUCTION method - it is the modern TENDER process. The whole purpose of an auction is that when the hammer falls the deal is done - not 28 days to give the highest bidder time to get hs act together!

  • nick chapman

    My property was for sale with online agent YOPA when a potential buyer registered with YOPA and viewed the house in March. He didn’t have the funds yet and made no offer. In April I was approached by GOTO online auctions and I agreed to a 90 day MMA auction period. During this period, the buyer who had viewed in March made an offer via YOPA, which I ignored as GOTO had sole selling rights. The offer was below the reserve price and I knew he didn’t have the funds to buy within the auction timeframe. After the 90 day auction period ended, he made another offer through YOPA which I accepted. He is now being hounded by GOTO for a “buyers fee” of £6300 despite the fact that GOTO did not introduce him, he made no auction bid and his offer was not accepted during the auction period. GOTO are claiming that my buyer “had dealings” with them during the auction period because they had a telephone conversation with him. He never signed a contract with GOTO. They cold-called him (using his number supplied in breach of their privacy policy by YOPA) to try to persuade him to make a bid. GOTO regard this cold-call as evidence of a relationship that entitles them to the buyer’s fee. GOTO bungled the entire auction process from the start, they even used the “register of title” and the “title plan” from a completely different property in the auction documents! Their behavior has been disgraceful.


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up