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Can You Wholesale Auction Properties?

Can You Wholesale Auction Properties?

Can You Wholesale Auction Properties?

In the competitive, fast-paced landscape of real estate investing, finding diverse ways to secure and sell properties is pivotal. This universal investment requirement has led many in the industry to ask: Can you wholesale auction properties? 

With the rising popularity of buying houses at auction, property investors and full-time wholesalers alike are becoming more eager to harness this avenue, weaving it into their overall business strategies. As online property auctions gain traction and more properties get sold this way every year, it’s becoming essential for investors to have a solid understanding of the nuances of this approach. Whether you’re focused on diversifying your investment portfolio or looking to find more lucrative wholesale deals, knowing how to wholesale auction properties is a great feather for your cap.

We’re going to break down the complexities of auction properties and their place in wholesaling so you can feel more confident than ever in building a comprehensive investment plan.

What Are Auction Properties?

Auction properties are real estate assets sold through a bidding process, where the property goes to the highest bidder. In traditional sales, a price is set, and potential buyers are vetted by the owner and any collaborators. Unlike traditional real estate transactions, which involve lengthy negotiations between a buyer and seller, the property auctions are driven by competitive bidding, often within a predetermined time frame.

Investors and homebuyers can consider several types of auctions for securing a property, each with distinct characteristics:

Foreclosure Auctions: 

When homeowners default on their mortgages (miss their payments), lenders or banks may sell their properties at a foreclosure auction. Typically, the starting bid for these properties is based on the outstanding loan amount, accrued interest, and any additional costs incurred by the owner prior to the auction. Foreclosure auctions can offer properties below market value, accommodating an investor’s needs. However, because of the nature of the auction, these properties may come with the risk of liens or damages.

Estate Auctions: 

These auctions occur when a property is being sold after the owner’s death, with no next of kin to take the property over. The proceeds from the sale often go toward settling any remaining debts related to the deceased’s estate or can be distributed among the heirs. Properties in estate auctions may not always be distressed, giving potential buyers a chance to bid on well-maintained assets.

Public Auctions: 

Public auctions can take place for a variety of reasons, encompassing a broad range of property types. The homes can include government-seized properties, surplus land, or even properties that perfectly above-board owners simply want to sell quickly. Attending a public auction can provide bidders with a diverse range of options, with many of these auctions featuring multiple properties at a time.

Online Property Auctions: 

With the rise of digital platforms, such as the massively popular, online property auctions are becoming increasingly common for investors and homebuyers. They offer the convenience of browsing and bidding on properties from the comfort of one’s home rather than requiring an in-person presence. Additionally, they often provide detailed information, photos, and sometimes virtual tours of the listed properties, allowing investors to feel more confident before they put a bid on a property.

Understanding the nuances of each auction type is vital for wholesalers and investors before they start putting money on the table. It helps in identifying potential deals and navigating the various risks and benefits of buying auctioned property.

Can You Wholesale Auction Properties?

The question of whether you can wholesale an auction property often surfaces among investors and wholesalers searching for unconventional avenues for property acquisition to build their portfolios. The answer is multifaceted, hinging on several factors, including the auction type, ownership rights, and the financial intricacies associated with both strategies.

Advantages of Investing in Auction Properties:

Potential Below-Market Prices: 

One of the most enticing prospects of buying houses at auction is the potential to secure said properties at below-market prices. This is especially relevant in the case of foreclosure auctions where lenders are keen to recoup their money and move on from a negative experience; the added pressure means they might be willing to accept bids that are lower than the property’s market value.

Quick Purchase Process: 

Auctions, by their very nature, expedite the property purchase process, which can often be lengthy and complicated. The prolonged negotiations characteristic of traditional real estate transactions are replaced by rapid bidding wars, ensuring swift ownership transfer; however, this also means buyers have less time to properly consider the purchase.

Diverse Property Options: 

From residential homes to commercial spaces and plots of land, auctions provide a diverse range of property types, broadening investment opportunities for professionals looking to build a diverse portfolio.

Online vs. In-Person Auctions: 

While in-person auctions allow investors to physically assess the property and get a real sense of the competition, online property auctions offer unparalleled convenience, especially if you’re investing in out-of-town homes. Digital platforms are advantageous because of their capacity to provide detailed insights, photographs, and often an extensive database of properties that can be accessed from anywhere.

Understanding the Financial Aspects:

Immediate Payments: 

Because of the nature of auctions, the seller often requires the winning bidder to make an immediate down payment or pay the total balance shortly after the auction. This urgency necessitates having a strong base of finances in order.

Wholesaling as a Strategy: 

Given the potential for acquiring properties at lower prices, wholesalers can employ auction acquisitions as part of their business plan. By securing a property at a discounted or below-market value and quickly flipping the contract to another investor or end-buyer, wholesalers can make a profit on the difference. This is particularly appealing to those who understand how to find wholesale properties in the traditional way and are now looking at auctions as a new channel.

Working with Hard Money Lenders: 

Given the quick turnaround required for auction payments, traditional financing might not always be feasible, meaning you might have to get creative. This is where hard money lenders come into play, offering short-term loans ideal for auction purchases.

Understanding Property Ownership and Redemption Rights:

Ownership Transfer: 

Despite how it may seem, winning the auction doesn’t always guarantee immediate ownership. In some states, there can be a redemption period in place, allowing the original owner to repay their debt and reclaim their property legally. Investors should be well-acquainted with these nuances and possibilities before diving into the auction world.

Potential Liens: 

Auctioned properties, especially those from foreclosures, might come with the baggage of liens or unpaid taxes. Comprehensive research, potentially involving title companies and public records, can help unveil any outstanding debts associated with the property.

It’s clear that while wholesaling an auctioned property is feasible, it demands comprehensive research, a deep understanding of the auctioning landscape, and a firm handle on the financial intricacies involved. With a carefully considered approach and well-researched insights, auctions can indeed become a lucrative avenue for wholesale real estate endeavors.

How to Wholesale Auction Properties: Step By Step

Wholesaling auction properties presents a unique set of challenges distinct from traditional wholesaling, but with a systematic, carefully formulated approach, these hurdles can be navigated seamlessly. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you get started.

Building a Buyers List:

Before diving into the world of auctions, you need to build a strong, reliable list of potential buyers with a high likelihood of turnover. It ensures a swift selling process post-auction.

Some of the best methods for building your list include: 

Leverage Social Media: Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn have a massive number of real estate groups where investors frequently communicate about deals. You can use these platforms to engage with other professionals, build relationships, and grow your list.

Real Estate Meetings: In-person interactions are still king, so attend local real estate investor meetups to connect with potential cash buyers who might be interested in auction properties.

Online Platforms: Sites like Zillow and Craigslist are great spaces for spotting active investors and cash buyers, along with connecting with people generally interested in real estate. 

Identifying a Hard Money Lender:

Because of the immediacy of many auction payments, obtaining traditional financing is often not feasible, especially for wholesalers. Communicating with hard money lenders in advance can facilitate a smoother auction process.

Research Reputable Lenders: Not all hard money lenders are created equally, and you don’t want to end up in debt to the wrong person. Look for reviews, seek recommendations, and ensure they have a history of funding auction properties.

Understand Terms: Familiarize yourself with any lender’s terms, interest rates, and potential fees before you accept any money.

Identifying Auctions:

Spotting the right auctions is pivotal to your wholesaling journey, and there are plenty of places to look.

Local Courthouse Listings: Many foreclosure auctions are listed at local courthouses or on their online databases.

Online Auction Platforms: Websites such as are perfect for searching through numerous properties up for auction across various regions.

Real Estate Agents: Some agents specialize in auction properties and can be invaluable sources of upcoming auctions—they can also offer valuable guidance throughout the process.

Preparing to Bid on Properties:

Preparation is essential to avoid pitfalls during the auction process.

Due Diligence: Conduct thorough research on the properties you’re interested in, along with their ownership history. Look for potential liens, property conditions, and market value to ensure you don’t bid on a turkey.

Set a Maximum Bid: To prevent overbidding in the heat of the moment, establish a ceiling price in advance. Don’t let the spirit of competition overrule logic.

Bidding On and Winning a Property:

Engaging in the auction and coming out as the winning bidder is thrilling and challenging, so you must have reasonable preparations in place.

Stay Calm: Auction environments can be intense, so keep your emotions in check and stick to your strategy; losing a property isn’t the end of the world.

Ensure Funding: If you’ve won a bid, payment is typically expected swiftly. Ensure your finances, especially if working with a hard money lender, are in place with plenty of time to spare.

Selling to a Cash Buyer:

Once you have the winning bid, it’s time to flip the contract to a cash buyer quickly and efficiently.

Reach Out to Your Buyers List: Given your prior efforts in building a list, reach out to the most promising potential buyers, highlighting the property and transaction’s best attributes.

Negotiate the Deal: Engineer a win-win situation where you and the buyer see value.

Close Efficiently: Time is of the essence in auction wholesaling. Work with experienced professionals while avoiding time wasters to ensure the smoothest possible closing process.

With these steps, you can navigate the world of auction wholesaling without encountering common pitfalls and by leveraging opportunities and maximizing your investment potential. The key to success is comprehensive preparation, diligence, and staying informed about the nuances of every auction property you are interested in.

How to Buy Property at Auction

Winning a property at auction can be exhilarating and profitable, but it’s also risky. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide through the process, discussing its pros and cons as an investment strategy.

Advantages of Buying at Auction:

Discounted Prices: Auction properties often come at a lower price than those in the open market; however, the nature of an auction doesn’t always guarantee this.

Transparent Process: The highest bidder always wins, ensuring a straightforward purchase without the prolonged negotiations associated with typical sales.

Opportunity for Unique Finds: Auctions can be a veritable goldmine for finding unique properties that aren’t readily available in the traditional market.

Disadvantages of Buying at Auction:

Immediate Payment: Winning bidders usually have a short timeframe to settle the payment, which might be challenging for those without properly arranged finances.

Potential for Overbidding: Auctions are, by their very nature, competitive, often leading to emotional bidding wars and potential overpayments.

Hidden Issues: There’s often limited access for investors to carry out inspections, meaning unexpected issues or property damage may arise post-purchase.

Pre-Auction Research and Preparation

As implied above, proper research and preparation are key to purchasing from an auction.

Property Listings: Regularly check auction house websites or subscribe to their mailing lists to get updated lists of upcoming auctions, ensuring you never miss an opportunity.

Visit the Property: If possible, it’s important to inspect the property in person. This allows you to gauge the condition and any potential repairs required. If renovations are needed, it could still be a good choice for wholesaling to a house flipper.

Title Searches: Investigate the property’s title for liens or other encumbrances that could affect its value or saleability. Stay in the know and never get sprung with unexpected issues.

Market Analysis: Research comparable properties in the area to ensure you’re getting a good deal that sits under market value.

Financing and Budgeting

Remember, financing for an auction purchase isn’t the same as for a traditional sale.

Secure Financing: Traditional mortgages often aren’t suitable for auction properties because of the swift payment required. Consider hard money lenders or other financial avenues to ensure you can make payments swiftly.

Determine Your Budget: Set a maximum bidding limit to avoid overspending. Remember to factor in additional costs, such as auction fees, repairs, and potential property taxes, along with marketing and networking once the property has been secured.

Bidding and Winning

When it comes to making a successful bid on an auction property, keep in mind a few key steps. 

Arrive Early: This allows you to settle in and take the temperature of the room while reviewing any last-minute property details and getting a feel for the competition.

Stay Calm: Stick to your set budget. Don’t let your desire for a property get in the way of logic, because this can lead to overbidding.

Understand the Auctioneer’s Process: Familiarize yourself with the auctioneer’s unique style and pace. Some speak rapidly, while others take it slower.

Post-Auction Procedures

Once you’ve made a successful bid, some steps must be taken.

Immediate Deposit: Upon winning, you’ll typically need to make a deposit—usually a percentage of the purchase price—so have this money ready. 

Finalize Payment: The remainder is usually due shortly after, often within 30 days. Ensure your finances are in order to avoid losing the deposit.

Property Transfer: Once payment is settled, the property title will be transferred. This can involve additional fees or taxes, so don’t go in with the bare minimum.

Inspection and Repairs: Thoroughly inspect the property once it’s yours, planning for repairs or renovations as needed.

Buying a house at auction is a blend of strategy, research, and a touch of luck, but with the proper steps, it can be an exceptional way to procure real estate.


As described, auctions provide a unique opportunity to acquire properties often below market value. This, combined with the transparency of bidding, can make it an attractive avenue for investors. Furthermore, the variety of properties available at auctions—from foreclosed homes to unique estates—offers versatility that’s hard to find in traditional real estate channels.

However, the auction process is not without its challenges. The immediate financial commitment, potential for overbidding, and risk of acquiring a property with undisclosed issues can be risky for industry newcomers. 

If there’s one takeaway from our exploration of wholesale auction properties, it’s the importance of thorough research and preparation. Make sure you’ve done your due diligence in everything from securing financing to researching the auctioneer. 

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