What are Property Auctions?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 January 2020
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Property auctions are events in which bidders are invited to vie for ownership of various types of real estate. The individual who places the highest uncontested bid is declared the winner and upon payment of the bid allowed to take possession of the property. Auctions of this type take place in several different settings and may be conducted by a private auction firm or by a government agency.

One of the more common types of property auctions takes place in a local courthouse. Properties that have recently gone into foreclosure are often offered up for sale at a live auction that is open to the public. While the properties sold at this type of auction are normally city properties with homes, they can also include commercial real estate holdings or rural properties. It is not unusual for realtors and land speculators to be present at these auctions and purchase the homes out of foreclosure for rates that are below current market value.

A government auction can also involve the auctioning of various types of property. Often, these properties were seized to settle tax debt. A live auction of this type is often open to the general public, although a registration process is sometimes required. The offerings may include home auctions, land auctions, or any other type of real estate that has come into possession of a local, state, or federal government.


In addition to the public auction, property auctions may also be held as private affairs. This is often the case when settling the estate of someone who recently died. Along with a house auction, the activity may also include parcels of land also owned by the deceased, as well as any buildings on the properties that may be offered for sale and transport to other locations. Generally, an auctioneer is contracted for the structuring and publicizing of property auctions, helping to ensure that interested parties can make plans to attend the event.

One of the benefits associated with any real estate auction is that it is usually possible to acquire property at prices that would be impossible to achieve in other circumstances. Property auctions usually occur when there is a need to dispose of property quickly, rather than undergo a long process of attempting to sell the property through a realtor. However, if the property is sought after by several bidders, there is a chance that the final bid for the property will be comparable to the market price that the land and home would have commanded if it had been offered for sale through a local real estate agent.



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