How to Find Bank Owned Properties in the UK as of 2023

  • September 1, 2023
  • January 8, 2024
  • Shaz Nawaz
  • 12 min read

When you step into the world of property, you come across various types of properties. Knowing which one will work out best for you is no small feat. In fact, it takes research, experience, and skill to fully understand the pros and cons of different property types. Take, for example, repossessed properties. Are they worth investing in? If so, then should a repossessed property become a part of your property portfolio? Which brings us to the next question: how to find bank owned properties?

Before we embark on our quest to find a repossessed property, let’s discuss its meaning and pros and cons. So, that we are all on the same page.


What is a Repossessed Property?

We are not looking to further complicate the property business for you. Which is why let’s simplify things. Suppose you, a homeowner, stop paying your mortgage. The reason for which being that you cannot afford to make the payments anymore. Whether it is a financial downfall, or perhaps termination from your job, you cannot pay your mortgage. What does that lead to? It leads to the bank or lender seizing the property. Or in other words repossessing it. This is usually a last resort. 

What Does the Bank Do After Repossession of Property?

Once the property is in the possession of the bank, they are going to sell it. They have two ways to do so. One way is to hire an estate agent who will put the property on the market. The other option is to auction it off. Often, the latter happens when the property is on the market for far too long.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Repossessed House?

Now, the question arises, is it a good idea to buy a repossessed house? Sure, there are plenty of benefits, but you should also know about the drawbacks. Make sure to consider them all before you go down this route. Thus, you should know how to find bank owned properties.


By far, the most beneficial aspect of buying a repossessed property is its cost. That’s right. This type of property sells between 20-30% less than its full market value. Now, that is a good deal. Surely, no one wishes to miss out on that.

What is the reason for its inexpensiveness? Well, the lender has a responsibility on their shoulder. They need to sell it as fast as they can and minimise their losses. Yet, you must keep in mind that a repossessed home may require work to better its condition.

Here is another benefit. There is no chain. This means that you do not have to wait around. It is a more secure and quicker process because you do not have to look out for someone else to sell their property. There is no need to determine when you can have yours. What a relief that is.

Let’s move on to the drawbacks.


Now, you must understand that given the situation under which the bank seizes the property, the condition is likely poor. The previous owners seldom take care to upkeep it when they are falling into default.

What does this mean for you? More work, unfortunately. It is best to visit the place and see for yourself how much is required. That way you know what you are getting into, and if you can get into it.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but further complications may exist. Their existence derives from the property’s ownership, including a buy-to-let scheme. The owner may have left, but have the tenants returned their keys and vacated the property?

Suppose the answer is no. there is a risk in this situation. What if they put their foot down for their legal right to stay? Mostly, this issue is a concern for the previous owner and the lender. In come cases, if they don’t deal with it, you are going to face delays.

Another thing you must watch out for is the probability of being gazumped. It is quite high. For example, someone bids higher at the auction house. Or perhaps they make a bigger offer to the agent. Truth is, it is quite common for people to outbid you. This can take place any time from the moment the property is on the market to right before the exchange of contracts.

You must understand that lenders keep the property on the market even after you agree on a sale price. This is because they are hoping for a higher bidder to arrive. After completion of the sale, they finally take it off the market.

Pros Cons
Less expensive.
Poor condition.
Quicker completion process.
High chance of gazumping.
Property chain does not exist.
Requires finance faster.

Is Purchasing a Repossessed Property Difficult?

As mentioned earlier, repossessed properties are less costly. However, the challenge lies in securing them, and doing so as fast as possible. This is because they are desirable. People are always searching for a property that is under the market value. Usually, they sell off quickly at auctions. It is not easy to deal with the bidding process. In fact, it is overwhelming. Therefore, you might not know which strategy to put in place. Therefore, you must learn how to find bank owned properties.

Brace yourself. You also need to deal with missing electric and gas fixtures. Not to mention missing appliances. The previous owner is usually behind this. If you decide to purchase a repossessed house, then you are going toned to make improvements. This way you can make the house liveable and better its condition.

You buy a less expensive home only to spend more money on it. Therefore, unless your renovation or repairing costs are not too much, perhaps you should steer clear of repossessed homes. If you are buying it off at an auction, you will probably get to see pictures there. Although, it is ideal to go visit it in person. Thus, it is important to understand how to find bank owned properties.

How to start a property portfolio

How to Find Bank Owned Properties in the UK

So, you are interested in investing in a repossessed after all. Then, let’s get straight to how you can find one. Here are all the ways you can buy a repossessed home:


Since banks often auction off repossessed properties, they are one of your best bets. It is a quicker method and requires a fast completion from the buyer’s side. Steps to take when purchasing through auction:

Conduct Research on the Property:

Usually, there is an advertisement for the properties up for sale beforehand. Take this a chance to arrange for a viewing. That way, you can check out the property before deciding to place a bid.

You should not put in a bid without checking out the property you are going to purchase. Thus, you must arrange for a structural survey. Also, read the legal pack. This way, you can make sure there are no issues to worry about down the line. Hence, you must know how to find bank owned properties.

Inspect your Credit Report:

Another thing you must do before placing a bid is to check your credit report. You can download your credit report and check that there are no issues. Make sure there is nothing that can block or even slow down your application. If you find any outdated information, then you can ask for its removal. The same applies to any inaccuracies.

Organise your Finances:

Moreover, you must know the highest amount you can bid. Make sure you either have the necessary funds in the bank or have an agreement in principle (AIP) in place. An AIP states the estimate size of the loan that your lender is willing to offer. If you require help, then you can get it from a mortgage broker. They will guide you through the entire process efficiently.

Finally, you can place your bid. You need to pay 10% of the agreed price immediately if you are the highest bidder of the property. Both the buyer and seller commit to the sale as soon as the gavel falls. Within 28 days, this is made final. You pay the remaining 90% during this period. It is essential to comprehend how to find bank owned properties.

Estate Agents

Another way to find a repossessed property is to contact estate agents. You should reach out to agents that are in the area in which you are searching for repossessed properties. Since bank hire estate agents to sell these properties, your work becomes easier. If they know that a buyer is already lined up, they will come straight to you.

Here are all the steps you must take:

  • Locate a broker.
  • Get in touch with local agents.
  • Arrange a viewing.
  • Place an offer.

Online Property Portals

Your third option is to use online property portals such as Zoopla and Rightmove. Finding repossessed properties on such portals is not apparent, but you can read the property description. Such properties are usually on sale below the market value. Therefore, you can determine according to that. Then, you must hasten. The best thing to do is to set up alerts. This way, you do not miss out on any opportunities as soon as they appear. Now, you know how to find bank owned properties.

Using a Mortgage to Purchase a Repossessed Property

When it comes to buying a repossessed property, it is much like purchasing a traditional property. This is because you must evaluate your finances and figure out how much you can borrow. You must do this before applying for a mortgage.

After you figure out the amount, you should do the following:

Contact a Broker: You must reach out to a broker. They will guide you in assessing the type of finance you require. Whether you need a standard loan or a bridging loan. It depends on your situation when purchasing the property of your choice. Furthermore, they will consider the amount you are going to borrow to make sure it is practical. After all this, your broker will find the right lender. Their responsibility is to find someone who will offer the best possible terms to you.  

Ready the Paperwork: Next, you should prepare all the paperwork for a mortgage application or a bridging application. You should submit this application to the lender.

Get a Mortgage in Principle: Once you obtain a mortgage in principle, you should communicate with your broker. Discuss with them regarding estate agents or auction that have listings for repossessed property.

Organise Viewings and Surveys: Once you find the right property for yourself. You should organise viewings and surveys. Also, you should do research. Moreover, you should figure out if any discount on the price is worth the extra investment. The additional investment is for improving the condition of the property. Thus, you must understand how to find bank owned properties.

Organise for Mortgage Agreement: Lastly, you need to organise for mortgage agreement and send it to your solicitor. This way you can begin to finalise the paperwork and exchange of contracts.

What are the Alternative Options for Financing a Repossessed Property?

If you don’t think a mortgage or auction finance is for you, there are some other financing options you could consider.

Alternative Option No.1 Development Finance:

This option means an interest-only loan for a short term. Through it, you can fund the purchase and renovation of a property. For those who want to refurbish their repossessed property, it is a great option. The lender will deliver the loan in stages. The project needs proof of a repayment plan as it progresses. Usually, the plan is to sell or re-mortgaging. It is required for the end of the term. Hence, it is important to know how to find bank owned properties.

Alternative Option No.2 Personal Loan:

You can buy a property with a personal loan under certain conditions. However, personal loans have higher interest rates. They are between 6% and 28%. The interest rates depend on whether you choose a secured or unsecured loan. You can reach out to a broker. They will tell you the benefits and drawbacks of purchasing a property through this option.

Alternative Option No. 3 Business Loan:

This type of loan is for those who want to use their property for commercial purposes. Maybe they are going to run a business from the premises or convert it into an office. The period of a business loan is up to 15 years. Moreover, their rates are higher at 4% to 20%. Again, this depends on whether you select a secured or unsecured loan.

Alternative Option No. 4: Re-mortgaging Another property:

Through this option, you get equity, which you can then use to buy the repossessed property. Although, you must know the specific requirements of the lender. Give them assurance that you can afford to buy both properties. Make sure you understand how to find bank owned properties.


To summarise, buying a repossessed property has its benefits and downsides. Make sure you consider them all before purchasing such a property. If you are looking for a repossessed property, then your best bets are auctions, estate agents, and online property portals. Surely, it is a complex matter that you must properly research. As a property investor, it is best to stay up to date on housing market conditions. Lastly, remember to reach out for expert advice so that you can make a wise financial decision.

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