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(Updated April 2017)

Real estate sale by auction is an innovative and unique method for completing real estate transactions. This process often accelerates the sale process, exposing a property to numerous buyers in a short period of time. Read below to learn the benefits and drawbacks to real estate sale by auction. (A. Siudzinski, Senior Library Information Specialist)


E - EBSCO articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the EBSCO Access Information page.

Auction: Th​e Pros

  • Generates a list of ready, qualified buyers
  • Offers clients and customers new selling and purchasing options
  • Increases revenue and market share
  • Develops your own market niche
  • Assurance that property will be sold at true market value
  • Property is sold within a relatively short period of time
  • Exposes the property to many potential purchasers
  • Auctions bring people in to look at all your listings, not just the auction listing
  • Successful auctions result in referrals and return business
  • Agents can earn commissions as referring agent/broker, cooperating agent/broker, or as the listing agent/broker

Source: Auctions: The Basics and the Benefits, (National Association of REALTORS®, n.d.)

Brokers See Benefit of Auction Process, (National Real Estate Investor, May 20, 2014).

Auction: The​ Cons

Despite stigma, real estate auctions are ‘purest’ marketplace, (The Memphis Daily News, Mar. 27, 2017).

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

A Guide to REO Properties, (®, 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).

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

About Auctions

Real estate auctions provide options in low inventory market, (The Street, Oct. 24, 2016).

4 reasons to sell your home at auction, (Forbes, Oct. 11, 2016).

The lowdown, dirty truth about buying a house at auction, (, July 20, 2016).

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

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, (®, 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).

The Auction Option, (Commercial Investment Real Estate, Jan/Feb 2011).

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

SFR All-Stars: Xome Auction features intuitive search and bidding process, (HousingWire, Apr. 3, 2017).

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).

Recent Develop​ments & Case Studies

MLB’s Matt Kemp’s California home goes to auction—with a twist, (Mansion Global, Apr. 14, 2017).

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).

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 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, Overdrive Audiobook, Adobe eReader)

Buying and Selling Property at Auction (Kindle, Overdrive Audiobook, Adobe Reader)

Buying Bargains at Property Auctions (Kindle, Overdrive Audiobook, Adobe Reader)

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

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Services. 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 Information Services 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).

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Effective Online Marketing

Field Guide to Marketing Tips for REALTORS®

Information Services Blog

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