Real estate auctions often experience unfounded negative images in the marketplace. The majority of auctions today don't result from foreclosure of distress situations, but rather are the result of a seller choosing a cost-effective, accelerate method to sell a property.

Auction allows the seller to eliminate virtually all long-term carrying costs, passing the savings directly to the purchaser in the form of a reduced price. The result is a win-win situation: sellers obtain immediate cash and buyers purchase properties at fair market value, the price determined by open, competitive bidding.

NAR can help you understand the basics and benefits of a real estate auction. Learn about different auction types, how you can get involved, find online training, locate an auctioneer and more.


We've already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require a password.

Auction: The​ Cons

The Smart Way to Buy Foreclosures, (Chicago Tribune, n.d.)

The Pitfalls of Buying Houses at Auction, (finance.zacks.com, n.d.)

What Are Property Auctions? The Pros and Cons, (Owners Advice Blog, Apr. 16, 2016)

A Guide to REO Properties, (realtor.com®, Jan. 22, 2015)

Real Estate Auction Pros and Cons, (Online Trading Academy, Sept. 16, 2014)

Feds Target Bid-Rigging Scams at Foreclosure Auctions, (REALTOR® Magazine, June 2013)

Foreclosures Spark Crime, Report Says, (REALTOR® Magazine, Feb. 2013)

Man Pleads Guilty to Bid Rigging at Auctions, (REALTOR® Magazine, Mar. 2011)

Price Discovery in Real Estate Auctions: The Story of Unsuccessful Attempts, (The Journal of Real Estate Research, Jan-Mar 2006) E

About Auctions

The Advantages of Real Estate Auctions, (homeguides.sfgate, n.d.)

Should You Buy a House at Auction?, (Investopedia, Mar. 17, 2016)

Buying a Investment Real Estate at Auction: The Basics, (Auction Blog, June 10, 2015)

7 Differences Between Buying a Home at Auction vs. Traditional Sale, (Mashable Blog, Mar. 30, 2015)

How to Buy a House at a Real Estate Auction, (realtor.com®, July 18, 2014)

What Is The Commission On Auction Properties?, (REALTOR® Magazine, June 14, 2012)

Real Estate Auctions: The Future of Home Sales? (CBS News, Apr. 2012)

Types of Auctions, (National Association of REALTORS®, n.d.)

Auction Glossary, (National Association of REALTORS®, n.d.)

What Factors Impact the Success of a Real Estate Auction? (National Association of REALTORS®, n.d.)

Online Real Estate Auctions

Buying Real Estate at an Online Auction, (The Balance Blog, July 8, 2018)

Online Auction Platforms Move Further into Mainstream Sales, (National Real Estate Investor, June 15, 2016)

Buying Real Estate or Homes in an Online Auction, (The Balance Blog, May 5, 2016)

Your Guide to Online Real Estate Auctions, (Zillow Blog, Dec. 14, 2015)

Online Auctions?: Future of the Housing Market? | Tomorrow’s Technology for Today’s Market, (LinkedIn Blog – David Brooks, III, Nov. 5, 2015)

7 Best Sources for Finding Real Estate Auction Listings, (Inman, Aug. 24, 2015)

Recent Develop​ments & Case Studies

10 Must-Knows About Buying Properties at Auctions, (Strategic Real Estate Coach, Jan. 21, 2016)

Popularity of Auctions Calls for More Education, Says Auctioneer John Dixon, (PR Newswire, May 14, 2014)

Half Auction, Half Private Sale: New Selling Method Gathers Pace, (Real Estate Business, Mar. 25, 2014)

The Role of Bidding in Determining Sales Price for Residential Property, (Journal of Housing Research, 2013) E

Grand Estates Auction Company Takes Local Real Estate Global, (PRWeb, May 2013)

Going Once, Going Twice… (Mortgage Banking, 2011) E

Mansion May Fetch Record Amount at Auction, (REALTOR® Magazine, Aug. 2011)

REO Auctions Should See Uptick Soon, (REALTOR® Magazine, 2011)

The Auction Market & Marketing

Why Real Estate Brokers are Turning to Auctions, (Auction Blog, Mar. 17, 2015)

Auctions in Some States Blaze as Haze Falls on Foreclosures, (Investor’s Business Daily, Mar. 2014) E

Auction.com Amasses $147M in Feb. Deals, (ALM Real Estate Media Group - Globest, Mar. 24, 2014)

Foreclosed Sales U.S. Auctions Double as Prices Gain, (Bloomberg, Nov. 26, 2013)

Foreclosure Activity Drops to 6-Year Low, (REALTOR® Magazine, May 2013)

Auction Resources &​ Education

Real Estate Auction, (National Association of REALTORS®, n.d.)

Federal Real Estate Auctions, (U.S. Government Services Administration, n.d.)

On the Govsales.gov website, search for a variety of government surplus and seized property—including real estate. In the left navigation bar, mouse over Real Estate and make a selection, such as houses, buildings and land, farms, or international real estate.

National Auctioneers Association

Auctioneer State Licensing Boards, (Alabama State Board of Auctioneers, n.d.)

Seized Real Property Public Auctions: General Terms of Sale, (U.S. Dept. of the Treasury, n.d.)

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

The All-New Real Estate Foreclosure, Short-Selling, Underwater, Property Auction, Postive Cash Flow Book (Kindle, Audiobook, eBook)

Buying and Selling Property at Auction (Kindle, Audiobook, eBook)

Buying Bargains at Property Auctions (Kindle, Audiobook, eBook)

Future Shop: How the New Auction Culture Will Revolutionize the Way We Buy, Sell, and Get the Things We Really Want, (Audiobook)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Member Support. Up to three hard copy books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Member Support at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Besner auction and realty policy and procedure manual, (Acme, MI: Besner Auction, 2004) HF 5438 B46

Buying Bargains at Property Auctions, 2010, Howard Gooddie

The All-New Real Estate Foreclosure, Short-selling, Underwater, Property Auction, Positive Cash Flow Book, (Wiley, 2009)

The Pre-Foreclosure Property Investor’s Kit: How to Make Money Buying Distressed Real Estate – Before the Public Auction, (Hoboken, NJ, Wiley, 2005)

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The inclusion of links on this page does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this page complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.


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