Important Auction Terms You Need to Know

June 03, 2021
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If you're thinking of selling via auction, or buying at auction, here are some important terms you should know.

Absentee bid – If you cannot attend an auction, but want to place a bid, you can do so by submitting an absentee bid. You will need to identify what items you want to bid on and how high you are willing to go. Some auctioneers allow you to bid via the phone as well. Check with the auction company to find out if these options are possible.

Absolute auction – An auction where the item is sold to the highest bidder without limiting conditions or reserve.

Appraisal – The process of estimating the value of the property.

As-is – Selling the property without exemptions due to the condition or the fitness of the property. It is up to the buyer to examine the property and understands they are buying it “as-is.”

Buyer premium – A percentage added on to the bid amount. It is payable by the buyer and will be disclosed in the terms and conditions of the auction.

Live auction – An auction that takes place in-person at a predetermined place and time. Sometimes it is on-site and sometimes at a separate location.

Online auction – An auction that takes place via the internet. Bids are placed on a website during a certain time frame. Some auctions are conducted both live and online.

Sealed bid – An auction where confidential bids are submitted and opened at a predetermined time and place.

Reserve – The minimum amount a seller is willing to accept for their property at auction.

Terms and conditions – Each auction will have its own terms and conditions depending on the auction type and what property is sold. Check with the auction’s website or the company hosting the auction for full details.

United Country Auction Services has auctioneers across the country ready to help you sell your home, land, farm equipment and personal property. To learn more or find an auctioneer near you, visit