Going Once, Twice... Sold! How a House Auction Works

Jason Hargraves
Written by Jason Hargraves
Updated June 15, 2021
Long & Foster can help buyers and sellers who are considering using an auction for their real estate transaction.
Jason Hargraves

Long & Foster expands real estate services in D.C. region

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If you want to buy or sell a house at auction in the D.C.-area market, you might try checking with the Virginia-based Long & Foster real estate firm.

The highly rated company has teamed with Williams & Williams Worldwide Real Estate Auction to start offering home sales through live and online bidding.

Pandra Richie, Long & Foster's president of corporate real estate services, tells the Washington Business Journal that auctions are a good option for sellers seeking "a time-definite sale."

She also stresses that auctions don’t mean you have to settle for a discounted price. Sellers are allowed to set a minimum.

"There's a misconception of losing money on an auction, but it actually can spur activity and interest," she tells the publication.

Williams & Williams says it has auctioned more than $7.5 billion worth of real estate in the last five years, with some 4,500 properties in the mid-Atlantic region, including the greater Washington area.

Preparation begins well before auction day

If you're considering buying a home at auction, it’s smart to understand how the process works either by reaching out to a highly rated real estate firm or auction service.

Normally, successful buyers at auctions are experienced home owners who can easily secure a loan and have at least a 10 percent deposit at the ready.

If new to the process, get familiar with auction companies in your area. Some companies advertise on the MLS, but not all.

Most auction companies are happy to let you sit in on an auction, giving you a chance to watch the process.

And remember, you’ll need to have your financing ready the day of the auction, so make sure your lender can deliver quickly. You should be prepared to hand over at least 10 percent of the purchase price if you’re the winning bidder.

On the day of the auction, you’ll probably need to register to bid and possibly show proof that you have deposit funds. If you’re the high bidder and your bid is accepted, you’ll hand over your nonrefundable deposit and sign paperwork agreeing to buy the property.

The deal will close within a set time frame, possibly as soon as a few weeks.


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