Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Auction Option

There are a number of ways to buy land, and sell land at a good price range. The MLS (multiple listing services) is the most common means via a broker. A broker can guide the buyer and seller through the process. A new more risky means is buying via an auction. There are many private auctions and county auctions where land is sold. We have found in both private and public auctions the selling prices can be favorable and unfavorable. A buyer needs to be well informed regarding land before potentially losing capital in a bad purchase.

Several years ago during market highs we witnessed a County auction where prices raised twenty to fifty percent above retail. Buyers were overbidding land for greater prices then they could have negotiated from the local MLS. These auctions can create a price frenzy to buy a property that a purchaser feels is the best property on the list. The reality is there are many decent properties available at auctions if you have performed your due diligence. A buyer should have a specific maximum price range and stick to it. We have also found where auctions list parcels which are street easements, ally's, mountain sides, and flood zones. An uninformed buyer will overbid and they are left holding a useless property in many cases.

The professional auction bidders have aerial maps, plat maps, real estate software, and historical information on properties and have viewed the property. The professional investor has typically "walked the property", so they know what they are investing in.

Beware the auction option, since you should know what you are investing in. In many cases you can hire a professional to buy for you at the auction. You pay a small commission and they can do the research and bid for you in you name. You could own a well priced investment, or own an unsellable piece of land. Buyers beware the auction.

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