You've been successfully unsubscribed.

The easiest way to find, save, and personalize your search for the perfect piece of land.

Thank You

Thank you for signing up for a Account!

Please check your email for instructions on how to activate your account with one click.

If you do not receive an email from us, please check your spam folder.

Buying LandSelling Land

Land for Auction: How an Auction Works For Land

January 26, 2023

Quick, convenient, and hassle-free – those aren’t words usually associated with buying property, but in the world of auctions, buying property can be all of those things. 

That applies to land auctions too. Your next farm, ranch, or even timber land can be purchased at an auction. But before you get started, you need to understand the benefits of land auctions, know the importance of land loans, and understand the general auction process. 

If that sounds like a lot, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to understand how a land auction works and how what to expect.

Benefits of Buying Land at Auction

In a land auction, competition for the auction property is level. All buyers are bidding at the same time and are given the same information about the land. There are also no negotiations, which is good news for those that can’t (or hate to) negotiate. 

Overall, buying land at auction makes acquiring property a much faster experience. You can do your research ahead of time on the sale and know the exact date of the sale.

Important Terminology

When looking for land for auction, there are a few terms you should familiarize yourself with:

  • Minimum bid – sellers often set a minimum bid price to ensure costs are covered 
  • Absolute auction – auction in which the seller agrees to accept the highest bid, regardless of how low it may be
  • Selling with reserve – the seller has the right to reject any bids on the property
  • Sealed bid – usually done online, bidders send their bid prices to the seller by a certain date and the highest bidder is announced

Knowing these basic definitions will provide you with the knowledge necessary to make a successful bid. 

The Auction Process

If you’ve been to a real estate auction before, then a land auction will seem familiar. An auctioneer will lead the auction. Bidding will continue until no one else has outbid the highest bid. Each bid may be required to be in increments, such as thousand-dollar increments. This is done to weed out negligible bids. 

The auctioneer or auction house should have already completed necessary closing paperwork like title searches, deed research, surveys, and appraisals to speed up the closing process. Upon winning at auction, a formal contract for the land will be signed by all parties and a good faith deposit will be required. This contract will give the winning bidder a set time period, usually 30 days, to close on the property. This closing window is very important to understand before placing bids. The buyer will need to make sure that they can pay for the loan down payment and closing fees at closing. The good faith deposit will go towards this amount. Closing fees often consist of, but are not limited to, taxes, document fees, and commissions. 

Be Prepared

You need to make sure you have the funds available to buy the property. Before an auction, get pre-approved for a loan. The last thing you want is to find the perfect property for purchase – only to miss out because you don’t have the funds, and didn’t plan in advance.

It’s important to know about the land you are buying. Make sure to research the property zoning and land uses, utilities available, topography, and access. Contact the auction company to get a better idea of the closing timeframe and how much money the winner will need to pay on the day of the auction for a good faith deposit.

Once that’s done, start looking for auctions. Newspapers, websites, and classified ads are all great places to start. Contact your local real estate company, auctioneer, or auction company to see what they have scheduled. Bank or government options can be the easiest to find since these are often advertised publicly. 

Auctions for land properties are fairly straightforward. If you’ve been to a real estate auction before, a land auction isn’t too different. Do your research and understand what type of land you’re looking for, and you’ll do great!

If you’d like to learn more about land auctions, contact your local NLR Land Professional today!

About the Author
National Land Realty specializes in farm, ranch, recreational, timber, country estates, and commercial development properties. We’ve created the world’s best way to buy, sell, lease, and experience land. One seamless hub of knowledge, unprecedented data, and game-changing technology— accessible from anywhere. Our agents offer local expertise, with the support of a national network.