Has anyone purchased investment properties from auction.com?

4 Replies

A colleague has told me she thinks we can BUY competitive deals through this service. Has anyone actually BOUGHT from auctions.com? If so, can you buy competitively? I never buy for more than 50% retail. 

Has anyone actually SOLD through this service? If so, how was it? I am always looking out for another exit strategy.

(I have no affiliation with auctions.com)

I've tried to buy, but haven't been able to get prices I was willing to pay.  I won one bid that had been listed as occupied.  After winning the bid I found out it was not occupied and had been foreclosed a while back.  After poking around some more I believe they just didn't want people to see how bad it really was.  They advertise extremely low starting bids, but the reserve prices are often 3 or more times higher than the starting bids.  People do buy there, but I'm about ready to stop wasting my time.

I buy them occasionally when they do trustee sales but they're few and far between.  To their credit, Auction.com is GREAT at marketing and getting all sorts of new buyers out of the woods to bid on their properties.  This usually means that they're getting bid up until they don't make sense anymore.  Also - I've seen a dozen or so investors buy properties on them with SIZABLE federal tax liens, something I'm pretty careful at looking into before I bid on a house.  The disadvantage of being great at marketing is pretty tough competition for deals.

I have purchased 3 properties through them, though most were a few years ago when the overall market was still down and there was less retail buyer interest.  Nowadays the prices generally rise to above what an investor would be interested to pay for a property, though sometimes properties will come back to auction quickly for follow-up rounds since either Auction.com placed a bid for the seller and bid it up too much, or it didn't meet a high reserve (which is almost always well above the stated starting price), or the auction winner didn't perform.  You can occasionally get a deal there, but it's a numbers game and the vast majority sell too high for flip level profits.  If you are only buying for 50% of retail, then Auction.com would rarely - if ever - meet your criteria.

Some auction properties do have lockbox access and it is frequently a 30 day close, so on the plus side you have more time and information than courthouse steps auctions.  They also will frequently provide title reports, interior photos, and some additional info.


Scott Price

So, consensus is it may be a good place to SELL, but not so good to BUY.

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