Seller FAQ

If I sell at auction, aren’t I giving it away?

•Many people believe auction means bargain. Auctioneers understand this psychology and use it to draw large crowds of people which helps to ensure that the price is good for the seller. While there are indeed many good buying opportunities at an auction, the best articles in the world are sold at auction when pricing becomes difficult. The reason why people with very expensive items, and very modest items choose auction, is control. Through auction, the seller controls the time and terms of the sale, and virtually guarantees a marketplace by creating one if necessary. In strong real estate markets around the country you may have seen properties "listed for one price" and "sold above listing price". What happens in these situations is an auction, except that rather than being open by announcements as such to the entire marketplace, they are usually conducted between the two or three buyers that have found the listing at that time, and they make offers not knowing what the other offers are and how much they have to give to beat the other. In these cases, we think of them as listings, but really a limited auction is taking place, and it is acceptable to the seller or they would not be selling.  

Why would I sell my home at auction?

•Maybe you shouldn’t. If you are a seller contented with where you live, and are considering moving up if you can get the right price, you will find the real estate agent traditional listing a better vehicle to service your needs at that time. A good auction seller is a seller who is motivated to sell his or her property and is ready, willing and able to accept the highest bid for his or her property. Remember, the goal of a well-executed auction is to provide the highest possible sale price for your property in the shortest possible time period.  Also, if you are the executor of an estate or control a vacant property, you are not the same seller, then the auction solution will suit you better.

What are the advantages of selling real estate at auction?

 •When you sell real estate at auction, you, the seller, dictate the terms of the sale. This is contrasted by traditional brokerage where the buyer dictates the terms.

•You sell your property on your time schedule, not the buyer’s. Auction marketing of real estate generally requires 4 to 6 weeks. So 4 to 6 weeks after you sign your Auction Listing Agreement, you will have your auction. Closing is then within 30 to 45 days of the auction. What this means to you is that you can plan your future more effectively and confidently and the relatively quick process will reduce your holding costs.

•Real estate auction sales are generally "as-is, where-is". What this means to you is no more "nickel and dimeing" because an inspector found this or that wrong with the house- no more disputes over condition of systems or other issues. The buyer purchases the property as they see it and as it is.

•Real estate auction contracts generally have no financing contingencies. What this means to you is you have far greater certainty of closing on an auction purchase contract than a conventional contract.

•At auction, you sell your property at the highest bid acceptable to you. You do not have to evaluate whether you left money on the table. The auction creates a competitive bidding environment. What this means to you is that you’ll have knowledge of what the market is willing to pay for your property, enabling you to make your decision to sell with certainty and confidence. The process of gathering all interested parties in one place at the same time gives you the best opportunity to obtain the highest possible price.

What if I have more than one property?

•Other criteria for choosing an auction over a traditional listing might include whether or not there are multiple properties. Through the auction process, more than one property can be sold in a single timeline; and if the properties are connected, you enjoy the benefits of buyers bidding on them as individual parcels, and in combinations. A dimension that is impossible to achieve in a traditional listing. 

What advantages does an auction have?

•The advantages are different for different sellers, but generally think of it this way. There are 3 elements of a real estate sale. The price you get, the time it takes to sell it, and the terms of the sale. In a traditional listing you don’t control any of these. You can’t predict how long it will take to sell, nor what conditions the buyer will ask for in their offer. You feel like you control price, but you really only control the right to say no and then keep the property. The buyer always decides the price. You merely accept or reject it. In an auction, you control both the time and terms because you set them. And the price is controlled to the same extent seen in the traditional listing with the seller’s ability to say no and refuse to sell. The difference with auction is that you are going to employ an aggressive marketing campaign to generate a high degree of interest and use the competition and the professional skills of the auctioneer to drive the offer to its highest level. So the advantage of the auction is control.  

How will my property be marketed?

•A key advantage of auctioning real estate is the benefits of customized advertising and marketing programs. Auction marketing typically consists of print advertisements, targeted direct e-mail marketing, property signs, social media, and web listings on and many other internet auction sites.  United Country-Four Oaks Realty & Auction has marketing professionals producing all advertisements and marketing material, with an eye toward highlighting your property’s strongest features. What this means to you is that your property is exposed to the widest possible buyer audience, thereby increasing your possibilities of a successful sale at the highest possible price. In an auction marketing campaign, your property will generally be the ONLY choice in a given category or neighborhood…not one of many listings from which a buyer may choose. In an area where multiple homes or other properties have for sale signs in the yards, the property with the AUCTION sign will garner most of the attention.

Can I get a good price at auction?

•The truth is that whether you offer your property at auction or by traditional real estate listing, the buyer is the one who is spending the money and therefore controls the price. In both cases you have the right to refuse any offer, but you can’t spend the buyer’s money for them. Our experience is that sometimes an auction leaves you feeling that you got more, and sometimes a listing leaves you feeling that way. The decision to auction or not to auction should depend on criteria other than getting the most money.

How often is United Country-Four Oaks Realty & Auction successful in selling property as a result of the auction?

• United Country-Four Oaks Realty & Auction has historically sold the majority of its auction listings. Rarely does a United Country-Four Oaks Realty & Auction auction purchase contract fail to proceed to closing. This contrasts with traditional real estate listing contracts, which historically have far lower success rates. And because of the absence of contingencies in a typical real estate auction contract, auction sales are more likely to close than traditional real estate contracts. What this means to you is a greater certainty of selling your property via a real estate auction listing with United Country-Four Oaks Realty & Auction than via a traditional real estate listing.

What is more important than getting the most money?

 •Getting the most money is important, to you and to us. But you can’t sell a property through a traditional listing and the auction process at the same time, so you should look at other information to help drive the choice. Information such as "is the property currently being gainfully used by you at this time" If it is, you may want to get a certain price or otherwise remain in the property. If not, then every day the property remains unsold is a net cost against your bottom line. Costs such as utilities, taxes, insurance, maintenance, security, depreciation, and loss of return on the money invested otherwise are ongoing and mean that the longer it takes to sell, the less you ultimately put in your pocket. Another reason that you may choose auction is that you are selling the property for an estate or a friend, and you do not live close to where the property is. You are concerned about having the property on the market for an indefinite period of time while it sits vacant. An auction will give you firm control of the time line here and ensure you are able to sell it and move on. In these situations the risk of listing the property is higher than the risk of auction because you give up more in a listing.

Do I have any protection from what I feel may be too low of a price?

•At our auctions we offer to do business with or without reserve. If you wish to sell without, then you must accept the best offer generated. Most of our properties however are sold with the seller having the right to accept or reject any offer. That is your protection against an unacceptable price.

How often do properties sell for less than appraised value?

•This is a difficult question to answer because it suggests that listed properties typically bring their appraised price which is not true. Appraisals, while helpful in making decisions are an imperfect science. They are prediction of what a property should bring based on the best available comparable sales in the marketplace. If there are an abundance of sales of very similar properties, then the appraisal is probably an excellent prediction of price. If there are few sales of similar properties, then the appraisal may be very high or very low compared to actual sale price. This holds true in both traditionally listed properties, and for auction properties. We have sold properties for substantially more than appraisal, and for substantially less. In all cases, the seller agreed to the price, and the appraisals were in error by the amount they differed from the actual sale price. 

Agent Listing vs United Country-Four Oaks Realty & Auction

• United Country-Four Oaks Realty & Auction is licensed to sell Real Estate in the State of Alabama, and is a member of the multiple listing service. The advantages of listing a property with United Country-Four Oaks Realty & Auction vs a traditional agent could be many. We provide auction services in addition to listing services. Auctions allow the seller to control the time it takes to sell, and the terms of the sale. This means that if you dictate cash on closing with no conditions, then that is the way all competitive offers will be made. Most auctions can take place within 45 days of the date of contact with the auction company.  

What about estates; do they sell well at auction?

•Estates are best sold at auction in our experience. While we do list them traditionally when a customer requests it, the auction in most cases will best achieve the goals of the estate. Estates are also typically attended by more people than a non-estate property. Competition is often greater, and prices better. Additionally, we can provide more services to the estate executor that fit with the real estate auction decision such as selling personal property in a similar time line.  

What kind of options are available to me through auction?

•Real Estate auction holds many choices. These include selling online only, live on site, live in a ballroom or office location, or by a combination of these methods. Auctions can take place with reserve, or without reserve. Most auction processes require the seller to pay for the cost of marketing the product while the buyer is responsible for the commission. Most real estate auctions can take place within 45 days of contact with our firm, with closing following typically in 30 days. Some properties can be sold faster, and some large properties may require a longer marketing period. Our firm offers all of these services plus traditional real estate listing services. We specialize in gaining a clear understanding of the customer’s needs, and then making a plan that best utilizes available technologies to best meet your goals.  

What services do you supply?

•We supply all one would expect in the auction business such as auctions of real estate and personal property. In addition we can also arrange for appraisal of personal property and real property if it is desired. We typically supply other services to estates such as cleaning, garbage disposal, maintenance, lawn and yard care, and anything else that may be important to an absentee executor. Our goal is to offer a turnkey solution to meet all of your estate settlement needs.  

When is auction not recommended?

 •We do not recommend an auction when you are very satisfied with your home, and you want to sell it only if a certain price is met, failing which you would prefer to keep it. In the meantime you have to live somewhere, so the cost of heat, cool, taxes, maintenance, security, insurance, etc. are a non-issue. You are enjoying the home and you have to have at least one set of living expenses somewhere. The reason we don’t advocate an auction in this situation is that an auction does cost some money for marketing in the aggressive manner typical for this method. You risk this cost whether or not you get the price you want. In a traditional listing, there is typically no marketing charge, so if the property does not sell, and you had to live somewhere, then there was no net cost to you. In this situation the auction is more risky.

Aren’t all auctioneers the same?

•Doctors are not the same. Lawyers are not the same. Real Estate agents are not the same, and auctioneers are not the same. Our auctioneer is a UCAS Master Auctioneer.  Auctioneers offer a variety of services from specialties to very general auction services. Some are high service providers, and some are lower. Some have professional training, and some do not. When hiring an auctioneer, ask if they have experience in the field you require. If you call us, and we can’t service your needs, we will probably know someone who can.  Also, Our Company does know how a traditional sale works and offer both Auction and Traditional Sale services.

Why would I call United Country-Four Oaks Realty & Auction over my local agent or auctioneer?

 •The one thing you can depend on from a United Country-Four Oaks Realty & Auction representative is that we won’t recommend our services when someone else’s service or another method will better suit your needs. Our approach is to learn about you and determine if we can help. If we are not the best solution to your needs, we will tell you. Many service providers today are so involved with their own perspective that they simply walk in and sign you up without ever finding out who you are and what is important to you. At the end of the day, your local providers may be the best solution for you if that is the case, we will tell you. The question you need to think about is will your local provider consider your needs in as broad a spectrum as we will. United Country-Four Oaks Realty & Auction is involved with estate settlement throughout, Alabama and we have a network of service providers for similar services throughout North America. Our approach is to take the time necessary to fully understand your needs, and recommend a process that will best suit those needs. The result for you may be the one that involves your local agent. Call us, we will help you find the best solution regardless of whether we play a direct role in it, or just pass on some free advice.