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Public Auctions: The Different Types Of Auctions

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There are many different types of public auctions. The items at public auctions vary from each auction and although some auctions will have a wide array of items up for bid, some auctions are specific to the type of items that are up for bid. Public auctions are also known as government auctions and are held to sell property which is owned by the government or the properties which have been sold under the court laws authority.

Public auctions can include many different types of items, such as surplus government equipment, abandoned property which the government has gained ownership of, or even government-owned land. At times it can even be intangible assets held for auction on which the government has the authority to sell. For example, frequencies which are used for broadcasting and mobile communication can be put up for sale at a spectrum auction.

Sometimes private properties are also sold at public auctions for a variety of reasons, such as any property that has been forfeited by the government by the judgment of the court or sometimes for liquidating a mortgaged property or tax sale. Public auctions are sometimes held for properties which are needed for things like partitioning between joint tenants who couldnt find any way of partitioning the property.

Public auctions are not limited to government-owned items.

Public auctions can also include:

Surplus jewelry

US and foreign coin and currency

Watercraft auctions

Police auctions

Why Are Some Houses Sold At Auction

Most people are somewhat familiar with how to buy a house, even if they dont know any of the details about how it works. Theres a For Sale sign, and a phone number to call. You visit the house and decide if its for you. If it is, you tell the agent, who prepares an offer and tells you what steps you need to take next. At some point, the sign is gone and the house is yours.

But there are other ways that homes are sold, and auctions are one of them. There are two main ways that a house ends up at auction: through foreclosure due to missed payments or defaulting on tax payments.

Property Tax Default Auctions

Another way a home ends up on the auction block is when the owner does not pay the assessed property taxes. In these cases, it is the unpaid tax authority, rather than the bank, that seizes the property. The resulting tax lien auction is conducted by a local sheriff, clerk, or the county or local tax authoritys comptrollers office.

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You Must Have Cash To Make The Purchase

Most auctions have very strict rules about how you can pay for your purchase, and they almost always involve cashiers checks or cash. You can finance auctioned properties and there are loans available, and we will discuss them later, but in order to bid, youll have to prequalify by showing that you have cash available to complete the purchase, often on the same day as the auction.

Thats why most purchasers of auctioned-off properties are real estate investors. They generally have the financial backing of investors, or they have set up their businesses to allow for high cash reserves.

Payment Options: Plan Ahead

Home &  Lot

Buying a property at auction usually requires a lot of cash. Each auction company and county government has its own requirements for payment, but you will probably need cash just to secure your right to bid. Down payment amounts and methods of purchasing often depend on the property and the auction house. More flexible financing options may be available by purchasing a bank-owned property the traditional way.

As for payment, bidders at an auction should bring cash, a money order, or a cashiers check for the sum required by the auction holder. Typically, you will have to pay for the property in full immediately after winning the auction. Occasionally, you may have until the next day to complete payment. Failure to complete the payment may result in forfeiting your deposit and being banned from future auctions. Be prepared to provide proof of funds to show you can complete the purchase. If you are bidding as an entity, such as an LLC, a trust, or a limited partnership instead of as an individual, you may need to show your entity documents.

Also, be sure that you understand the auction fees you will be expected to cover. Homes purchased at auctions many times have costs and fees from auctioneers, banks, attorneys, and other companies required to bring the property to the auction, says Humes. It is not uncommon to find 10% auction fees, bank interest and penalties, attorney fees, 12% sale carrying fees, and property preparation fees that are passed on to the buyer.

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How Do Auctions Work

There are a variety of different auction companies, and every one of them has their own rules. Even within one auction company, there may be a variety of auctions being offered. They must also conform to the rules of the state and municipalities in which they are located. Make sure you understand the rules of the specific auction youre interested in before you bid.

Government Surplus Real Estate Auction

90+ Parcels Throughout Trenton

Residential Buildings, Residential Lots, Multi-Family Opportunities, Redevelopment Sites and Commercial Sites

Renovation Opportunities throughout the city for Investors, Developers and End-User buyers.

10 REDEVELOPMENT SITES: Commercial and Residential Sites Former Cook School, Former Church, Mixed-Use, and Commercial Opportunities

25 COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL LOTS: Stand-Alone or Adjacent Lots Packaged Together

48 RESIDENCES/STRUCTURES: Rehab Opportunities for Investors, Builders and Rehab Specialists

10 FIVE YEAR OWNER OCCUPIED: Opportunities for the End User Buyers

Trenton is the State and County Capital and offers History, Culture, Entertainment, Industry, Arts and Education. National and Local Economic Incentive Programs are available to help you invest in the Capitol City.

35 Christoph Avenue has been removed for the Public Auction. 39 Christoph Avenue is valid, separate and apart from 35 Christoph Avenue.

For a list of properties and google map of property locations visit the Trenton auction page.

Questions? Call 888-299-1438 or email

Take the next step!

Join the bidders club, click on the acknowledgement email link, then click on the large red button on the left side of the auction page to download the property information package.

682 Dr. MLK Jr Blvd

40 Cuyler Ave

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Online Public And Sealed Bid Auctions

Surplus Property disposes of select property through varying auctions. Those include public auctions, online auctions, GSA Auctions, and/or sealed bids. Below you will find links to all current online auctions as well as upcoming Public Auctions.

Please click any of the links below to view current available auctions.

All public in-person Auctions have been cancelled until further notice.

Auctions are continuing Online and available lots can be found at: Online Auctions

No Sealed Bids at this time.

Report State Agency Fraud

To report fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement, or misconduct within or involving a state agency, call the State Inspector General at 1-855-723-7283 , or visit the State Inspector General’s website to file a complaint online.

Public Auction & Sale Of Surplus Property

$ Public Sale $ – 1.000.000 Dollars (One Cent House Mix)

The McLean County Treasurer’s Office, and the McLean County Board in conjunction with the County’s Delinquent Tax Agent conduct an annual Auction of Surplus Real Property. These items are the by-product of the County’s Tax Collection Program. This Tax Collection Program consists of the County Tax Agent purchasing unsold tax certificates at the annual tax sale. The tax agent then holds the certificates for the thirty-month redemption period. The County Tax Agent petitions the Circuit Court for a tax deed on the unredeemed tax certificates. Upon receiving the tax deed for a parcel, the County Tax Agent then holds the deed until it can be offered for public sale at the Auction of Surplus Real Property. The current County Tax Agent is Joseph E. Meyer & Associates.

The parcels are sold to the highest bidder with the County giving a quit claim deed to the winning bidder. The purpose of the sale is to return the property to someone with an interest in owning the property and paying the taxes. The proceeds from the sale are distributed to the taxing districts.

Properties not sold at the Auction are available for purchase at the minimum bid plus cost for 90 days after the auction date. Please contact the County Delinquent Tax Agent at 248-2850 or 656-5744 for a list and to find out further information about purchasing unsold properties. You may also go directly to their website at Tax Agents.

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Sealed Bid Contents Auctions

All contents on the premise of an estate property are sold in As Is condition at time of Sealed Bid Contents Auction. The Public Administrator makes no representations as to authenticity and/or value. All contents and sealed bid auctions are conducted and overseen by the Public Administrator of Nassau County. Appointments must be made 24 hours prior to the start of the auction. Once the Nassau County Public Administrator has notified the successful bidder, the bidder has five business days to confirm the bid with the NCPA in writing or the original bid is deemed null and void. After the successful bidder provides written confirmation, the bidder must submit payment for the bid to the Public Administrator of Nassau County within five business days of confirmation or the original bid is deemed null and void. When the payment has been made, the bidder has thirty business days to empty out all or partial of the contents of the property.

Please do not contact the Nassau County Public Administrator to schedule an appointment. All appointments MUST be scheduled by clicking on the hyperlink below, completing and submitting the form.

What Are The Advantages Of Buying A House At Auction

There have been countless books written and real estate workshops offered that extol the virtues of buying properties through the auction process, because it is possible to get a tremendous bargain.

Why? Because in the auction process, the lender is looking to cut their losses by recouping the balance due on the mortgage and their costs to foreclose. The same is true for municipalities with a tax lien in place. Their interest is in coming as close as possible to having the tax bill paid and their costs recouped.

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Secured Property Taxes Terms

Annual Secured Property Tax BillThe annual bill, which includes the General Tax Levy, Voted Indebtedness, and Direct Assessments, that the Department of Treasurer and Tax Collector mails each fiscal tax year to all Los Angeles County property owners by November 1, due in two installments.

Adjusted Annual Secured Property Tax BillA bill that replaces the Annual Secured Property Tax Bill due to the following reasons: a change or correction to the assessed value of the property the allowance of an exemption that was previously omitted the correction of a Direct Assessment placed on the property from a municipality or special district or the inclusion of a penalty for failure to comply with certain requirements of the Office of the Assessor prescribed by law .

Ad ValoremAccording to the value Based on value. For example, the Office of the Assessor calculates property taxes based on the assessed value of a property.

Non-Ad Valorem Not according to the value.

AssessmentThe rate or value of a property for taxation purposes.

Assessors Identification Number A 10-digit number that identifies each piece of real property for property tax purposes, e.g., 1234-567-890.

California Relay ServiceA telecommunications relay service that provides full telephone accessibility to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired.

Current YearThe current fiscal tax year in which the Department of Treasurer and Tax Collector issues an Annual Secured Property Tax Bill.


Finding Real Estate Auctions


One way to find auctions is by contacting local governments directly or visiting their websites for information and then following up by phone to confirm the details. Another is through sites such as and However, online information is not always accurate.

Properties may be listed that are in pre-foreclosure, because the owner is behind on payments. These properties may never go up for sale because their owners catch up on payments or come to an arrangement with their lenders.

Local real estate agents and brokers can also be valuable resources. Unfortunately, you may not find them eager to help, because agents and brokers do not automatically earn commissions on live auctions. However, these realtors can earn commissions through online auctions.

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Tips For Participating In Government Auctions

  • The general rule for auctions is that the highest bidder wins, and cancellation is not possible. Check with the auction site ahead of time to find out if you can cancel a bid.

  • Each auction website operates differently. In some cases, the government agency itself runs the auctions. In other cases, the agency operates the shopping site, but a third-party company handles the auction itself.

  • Find out what forms of payment auctions accept. There is no uniform payment policy across all the different auctions. Some auctions accept credit card payments or personal checks. Others, such as the Internal Revenue Service , don’t accept either of these. Most auctions accept cashier’s checks.

  • For real estate auctions, you may need to work with a broker or real estate agent to bid or make the purchase. Also, for real estate auctions, find out if financing is permitted. Many times it is not and the full purchase price is due when you win the bid.

Youll Forgo Common Protections

In the vast majority of real estate transactions, home buyers are legally offered consumer protections, lenders are required to make disclosures, and real estate agents must advise you as they would advise themselves. In the auction situation, none of that applies. In addition to having little or no access to the home you wish to buy before you bid, you are responsible for doing your due diligence to make sure the title is held free and clear.

Of course, the mortgage lender, and probably the taxing authority, have liens in place, but you have to make sure there are no other liens, as in the case of a home equity loan in default or unpaid homeowners association fees. If there are, you will be responsible for paying those liens off when you acquire the title to the property.

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Houses Are Sold As Is

Homes at auction are sold as is. In most cases, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to even get inside a home sold at auction, let alone get a home inspection prior to the auction sale.

Its possible that the house is still home to the defaulting homeowners, tenants, or squatters who have taken up residence there. In this case, as is is closer to sight unseen.

You can drive by a house but trespassing on the property is illegal and unsafe even if you did see them do it on a house-flipping reality TV show.

If you are very experienced in home improvement matters, you might be able to get clues to the condition of the property from the street or sidewalk. If youre not, youll have no clear idea what youre taking on when you bid on a home.

Multiple Listing Service Data

Public Auctions of Texas Commercial- Largest goods auction house in San Antonio!

Direct multiple listing service reports are far more valuable to potential buyers than online listings, according to White, because they contain the full data for the listing, including photos and, most important, nonpublic broker comments. Non-public comments are important because they specify critical information impacting sale price and days-on-market, says White. This information can cover property defects, financing options, occupancy, and tenant leases.

The best way to assess an auction property is to work with real estate agents, appraisers, and contractors. These industry representatives understand construction and remodeling costs and can accurately estimate the propertys value and the cost of the work it may need.

While rules vary by location, MLS and county records are often only available to real estate licensees, according to White. In his experience, they are usually happy to help free of charge if you contact them.

White also notes that in-person auctions have been disappearing because even smaller counties have been moving them online. Miami and Palm Beach are two locations where both tax and foreclosure auctions are now fully online.

Keep in mind that foreclosure auctions are often postponed or canceled, even at the last minute. The lender might not have obtained all the paperwork it needs, or the borrower may have worked out a solution to avoid foreclosure.

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Can I Get Help From A Real Estate Agent

You might, if you have a long-standing relationship with one. The problem is that real estate agents do not make commissions on auctioned properties. If you know an agent who is willing to help you anyway, they can pull comparables in the area, learn about the propertys history, and even help you get a preliminary title report.

Check For Any Claims Liens And Occupants

Before you bid, youll want to hire a title search company to see who might hold liens against the property. As the owner, you will become responsible for any liens, which means more money out of your pocket.

There may be other claims against the homenot just tax liens but also contractor liens or a second mortgage. Bidders should check with the auction company to ensure that the property has a clear title. If you do win an auction, youll want to buy title insurance during escrow or immediately after closing to protect yourself against any liens not uncovered during the title search.

In some cases, the owner or a squatter will be occupying the property, and you will have to evict theman often-lengthy process that can be unpleasant at best and expensive at worst. It could be more advantageous simply to offer them several thousand dollars upfront to move out and hand over the keys.

Refrain from doing anything until you hold the title. Avoid the urge to start renovations or move into the property immediately after getting your certificate of sale. You will still need to wait up to 10 days or so to receive your certificate of title. The property is not actually yours until you hold that certificate the owner could still retain his or her right to the home by filing an objection to the sale with the court or by paying off the loan.

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