How Do Online Real Estate Auctions Work?

Posted on Mar 2 2020

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Technological advancements are changing nearly everything about the way we live, and real estate transactions are not exempt.
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As the traditional real estate transactional model gives way to new formats and approaches, the online auction is emerging as one of most popular methods of buying and selling property of any type, regardless of whether the property is a residential or commercial property. And as countless people have discovered, bidding on real estate is safe, secure, and easy.

Though the online auction process has evolved to the benefit of buyers and sellers, some basic real estate protocols remain. Every property that is posted, for example, will have a broker listed so that there is a local person available to answer questions and help overcome any obstacles.

The pre-online auction process offered through online real estate auction websites also includes traditional options such as viewing the property in person; however, technology has made virtual visits comparable to an onsite visit. Though auction sites can vary, the same technology provides access to interested online auction parties for documents such as floor plans, surveys, property memoranda, and more. Everything you would have received through the traditional system is available, and often much more.
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Bids, Escrow, and More…

Online auctions also retain the value of the opening bid price as the minimum bid allowed, and allow bidding in specific increments, which vary relative to the minimum bid or the reserve price, which is the lowest price the seller will accept.

One misconception about online auctions is the origin of the property in question. Though some online auction properties are bank-owned properties or may even be foreclosure listings, many are offered online because sellers recognize that their pool of potential buyers does not have to be limited to those in the immediate area. Online auctions bring the world to the seller’s doorstep.

There are common threads running through the auction bidding process, but there are differences, too, such as with real estate bidding. Sometimes bids may be placed throughout the sales process; other times, bids must be placed at the same time on a specific day and time.

Bid deposits through auctions sites may be required to help pre-qualify serious buyers, and this is refundable if the potential buyer does not produce the winning bid.
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With FRE’s Auction Plus format buyers can stipulate contingencies with the bid to allow for financing considerations. In the Classic Auction format, transactions are all cash with a 30-day escrow.

Though the process is improving and evolving, online real estate auctions and the process of real estate auction online bidding has become an accepted, mainstream way of buying and selling property.