More and more, people are choosing to make real estate purchases online. Whether it’s a vacation property, rental property, a property to flip, or a primary residence, rather than undergo the traditional experience of combing through listings, dealing with agents or spending hours at a live auction, many have found that they can meet their real estate goals more efficiently and cost effectively through online auctions.
For many years, properties that had been foreclosed on or seized by the government for various reasons have been auctioned off to the public both live and online. Increasingly, however, properties that are not seized or foreclosed on are being sold through online auction. For example, developers are selling new properties online, bank-owned homes and short sales are also being listed, along with commercial properties.
There are many benefits to online property auctions, most important of which is that the entire process is based on your schedule. Plus, you can broaden your scope of property searches to those which you may not have seen using a real estate agent.
When you’re ready to explore the online real estate auction route, there are some amazing property deals to be had. These are some points to consider:
(a) Even before you begin researching, know your end goal and ask yourself these questions: What type of property are you looking for and what’s your timeline. Do you have access to the required funds? And even, do you have a network of contractors for repairs or renovations?
(b) Do some initial prep work so your experience runs smoothly and hiccups are avoided. For example, register with your chosen site, ensure your financing is in place and all the necessary paperwork in order. Paperwork required can include proof of funds (i.e. recent bank or brokerage statements), and entity documents (if you are bidding under a company name or entity). Each site should tell you exactly what documents are required to finalize a purchase.
(c) Once you’ve registered on your selected auction site, look around at the properties available. Most sites provide a lot of detailed information about the properties they list.
(d) Financing: Find out what the minimum bids are, how much you’ll need to put down and whether it is non-refundable. Keep in mind that you may need to factor in a Buyer's Premium which is typically a small percentage of the winning bid.
(e) And last but not least, consider title insurance to find any kind of ownership issues on the property which will save you headaches in the long-run.
Here is a list of the top online real estate auction sites:
1. Auction https://www.auction.com/ — One of the leading online real estate marketplace, this site focuses on the sale of bank-owned and foreclosure properties, as well as live trustee sale events.
2. Hubzu http://www.hubzu.com/ — This online real estate marketplace was updated last year and offers auctions, traditional sales, short sale and bank-owned properties, including studios, single-family homes, multi-unit, multi-family residences, condominiums, town-homes, mixed-use properties, mobile homes and land.
3. Treasury Gov https://www.treasury.gov/auctions/treasury/rp/ — Here you can access several types of properties across the United States and Puerto Rico that have been seized and forfeited because of federal law violations. All auctions listed here are free and open to the public.
4. Bid4assets https://www.bid4assets.com/ — Founded in 1999, Bid4Assets has sold over 70,000 properties nationwide. They auction below market value real estate and personal property for private investors, government agencies, and many counties throughout the United States.
5. Landwatch http://www.landwatch.com/Auctions — Listings here include investment or recreation property, farms, hunting land, large acreages, homesites, land for development, cabins, log homes and second homes. Once you register on this site (it’s free) you can save searches, receive notifications of new listings, updates on listings, as well as their newsletter.
6. Foreclosure https://www.foreclosure.com/auctions.html — This is among the largest provider of distressed properties, with more than 1.8 million foreclosure, pre-foreclosure, bankruptcy and tax lien listings across the United States.
7. Realtybid https://www.realtybid.com/ — Founded in 2001, this site has auctioned more than 100,000 properties online. RealtyBid.com has agreements with more than 100 national banks and mortgage services and includes listings from real estate agents, builders and major corporations.
8. Williams Auction https://www.williamsauction.com/ — In the last 10 years, Williams & Williams has sold more than $10 billion in real estate across the 50 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, Central America and Europe.
9. Auction Network https://www.auctionnetwork.com/live-auctions - Around since 2007, Auction Network provides a global marketplace for buying and selling real estate online, including residential, commercial, luxury, farms and ranches.
10. Realtytrac http://www.realtytrac.com/mapsearch/auctions/ — Realty Trac was founded in 1996, and there are over a million foreclosures listings across the United States on their site.
By now, you should have enough information to start your search. I welcome your comments and feedback below.