About Auction.com

If you’re looking to purchase a new property, you may have heard about Auction.com, which claims to allow you to buy and sell residential and commercial property in an online auction format. In fact, Auction.com claims to have sold more than $25 billion of residential and commercial real estate since opening its doors in 2007.

But when it comes down to it, can Auction.com really help you find your next real estate purchase, or is it just a way to scam you out of your hard-earned money? We sifted through the facts, and here’s what we found out.

How Auction.com Works

At its most basic, Auction.com claims to be a real estate marketplace that uses “world-class marketing and cutting-edge technology” to help bring buyers and sellers together in an easy to use format. All Auction.com real estate auctions—including bank owned and redemption properties, foreclosures, short sales, bankruptcies, bulk sales, and residential and commercial notes—are date and time-specific, so you’ll always know exactly when they’ll begin and end. In fact, in some instances, Auction.com claims that some of their properties may be newly available and not listed anywhere else.

Auction.com claims to work over 3 steps:

  1. Search for properties that meet your criteria, including by state, county, city, zip code, address, or property ID, and then save them as your favorites. You can also sign up to receive email alerts any time a new property that matches your criteria is listed.
  2. Once you’re ready, you can then register for the property’s auction, place your deposit, and begin bidding. Bids are placed directly through the Auction.com website, and you can bid on more than one property at a time. However, you may be required to contact a bidder qualification representative, submit additional documents, and/or provide proof of funds prior to placing your bid. Auction.com also offers the ability to practice bidding before going through a live auction.
  3. If you end up being the high bidder, you’ll pay for the property and begin closing (we’ll talk more about this in the Bottom Line section).

During an Auction.com auction, the property’s home page will include important details such as type, address, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, estimated amount owed by the current owner, and pictures, as well as current bid, bid deposit, time remaining, if financing is available, and whether or not the reserve has been met. With this in mind, while most residential auctions occur directly through the Auction.com website, some foreclosure auctions will take place live at public venues (e.g. courthouses).

If you’re looking for properties on the go, Auction.com also offers an iPhone app.

Auction.com Pricing & Refund Policy

Signing up for Auction.com is free of charge, which gives you the ability to save searches, create custom alerts, and to receive auction announcements and advance notifications for new auctions that you may be interested in.

However, once you’ve decided to start bidding on a residential property auction, you’ll be required to put down a deposit of anywhere between $1,000 and $2,500, which must be placed on a credit card. On top of this if you’re the winning bidder, you may be required to pay a buyer’s premium in addition to the final purchase price, which is typically 5%. For example, if you purchase a home for $100,000, you may be required to pay an additional $5,000 directly to the seller on top of the sales price, which in most instances is a bank.

If you’re the winning bidder once the auction has concluded, your credit card deposit will be returned after earnest money has been received and purchase documentation has been signed. However, if you’re not the winning bidder, your deposit will be returned to your card within 2 business days.

It appears that there are no refunds associated with use of Auction.com, which seems to weigh heavily in the seller’s favor. We’ll talk more about this in the Bottom Line section.

Other Auction.com Reviews Around the Web?

Auction.com appears to have a relatively poor online customer reputation, with the most common complaints citing:

  • Numerous seller’s fees (often initiated by the banks) on top of the winning bid, many of which were not disclosed in the original auction.
  • Homes are already overpriced before auctioning even begins.
  • Accusations that these homes are not salable on the open market due to very poor condition (e.g. presence of mold/termites, serious structural problems, etc.). In fact, we read several reviews claiming that even when documentation for problems such as these were provided to Auction.com, they refused to list them in the property’s auction.
  • Poor customer (rude, unhelpful, attempt to rush you into signing an agreement that essentially waives all your rights as a seller).
  • Extensive shill bidding.

What’s the Bottom Line About Auction.com?

Similar to HomeSearch.com, Auction.com claims to be the “nation’s leading online real estate marketplace.” But does this mean that you should use them for your next residential or commercial real estate purchase? Like so many things in life, the answer is that it depends. Here’s why:

First and foremost, keep in mind that you’re solely responsible for performing all due diligence on any property you’re thinking about purchasing through Auction.com, including any existing liens and hazardous conditions. On top of this, most properties are not contingent upon financing and are sold “as is/where is” with no other contingencies available (such as an inspection). In other words, it’s up to you to find out as much as you can about a property before bidding, and if something comes up after you’ve agreed to purchase it, you have no recourse against the seller.

Second, it’s important to note that just because you win an auction doesn’t mean that you’ve purchased the property. Instead, Auction.com essentially acts as a buyer’s representative and submits your highest bid to the bank, who can then accept or reject your offer. As such, in addition to the complaints noted in the previous section, numerous customers stated that banks would take a very long time to respond to these offers, and even when they did, they would often change the terms (e.g. sales price, down payment/deposit amounts, seller’s/legal fees, etc.). And if you decide to back out of the deal once this occurs, Auction.com will then keep your deposit for “failing to close.”

Finally, although Auction.com holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau with just 12 closed complaints over the past three years, their online reputation is much less rosy. In addition to the complaints noted in the previous section, the company has a reputation for rushing buyers to sign contracts that essentially strip you of any rights you may have.

Bottom line: If you decide to purchase a residential or commercial property through Auction.com, it appears it’s pretty much a coin toss as to whether or not your high bid will be accepted by the bank. And if it is, remember that you’ll essentially be subject to whatever last-minute changes the bank decides to make, while having almost no recourse throughout the process.

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17 Consumer Reviews for Auction.com

Average Consumer Rating: 1.8
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 1 4 star: 1 3 star: 0 2 star: 6 1 star:  9
Bottom Line: 12% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 17
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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Don't waste your time!

    • Las Vegas, NV,
    • Sep 28, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Honestly, you will waste your time going to most online house auctions. The price is never there.

    What they do is to keep you bidding when you don't know, in must of the cases, of the reserved price. And on top of that, they can bid as well against you to raise the price, making you the sucker! Just like a scam.

    I will be happy the day a government agency regulates and penalizes this type of business that the only purpose is to scam the customers!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Lacking

    You can find good deals here but be prepared for your money to be tied up for an absurdly amount of time. I purchased a property, and it has taken two months to close. As a cash purchase with no contingencies, it shouldn't take even close to this long to close. Another thing to consider is finding your own company to close. I used theirs, and they charged me over $1500 on a $7500 purchase!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Auction.com is rigged.

    Auction.com is rigged. A lot of shill bidding. I tried Aucton.com for one month, even for the same property twice, I could not take on the shill bidding and ended up buying from a realtor for less than my max bids.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    They do what they say

    I've bought foreclosure properties from Auction.com. Their staff is friendly and usually knowledgeable. They don't have the greatest terms and conditions on their website if bidding online, since the terms are mainly just to protect themselves. But, they do a great job in person.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Service is horrible. They only protect the buyer.

    I had the worst experience with this people. After going through the running and the stress of submitting the signed contract, the proof of funds, and the earnest money within a limited time. After almost two months they send a cancellation. Obviously, the seller was protected at all times according to the contract! All the time wasted, and the wire money was a total loss. Shame on them! At least they could return the earnest money. Be careful with them!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 17 out 17 people found this review helpful

    Looks like a scam

    • Mississippi,
    • Feb 20, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I tried bidding on a house, and the auctioneer was the only one bidding against me. They want you to keep bidding even if you have already reached the seller's reserved price so that they can get more percentage. It should be illegal for the auctioneer to counterbid the real bidders.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 10 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Shady, buyer beware

    • Albuquerque, NM,
    • Feb 19, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    We located a property on Auction.com that is near our existing property. We have been trying to buy additional property in the area for our daughter and her family. This one would be perfect, and it is a 5-minute walk from our house.

    We consulted our realtor about her experience with the site, and she said that her husband purchased a house through them. It wasn't an easy process, but he was ultimately satisfied with the process.

    So far we have been through two rounds of bidding, being outbid by their shill bidding process. The reserve has not been met yet, and we suspect it is in excess of the value of the property.

    The biggest problems are:

    1. The picture they have is not the house for sale, it is the one next door.

    2. The house is a manufactured home, which is not mentioned anywhere.

    3. The map location is wrong.

    If the home wasn't a manufactured home, it would probably be worth whatever their reserve is but, but it's not. I have pointed out the above issues twice to Auction.com. We will start the third round of bidding on Monday, and there have been no corrections to the listing. I guess they hope that buyers don't do their due diligence.

    I also was told that because the home had FHA mortgage insurance, so ultimately the Feds will pay the bank the appraised value of the house if it doesn't sell, so they have no incentive to sell at a lower price.

    I believe it would be safer to wait and see if the Feds do buy it and put it on the market. Then we will deal with them.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 23 out 24 people found this review helpful

    Hurry Up And Wait

    • Myrtle Beach, SC,
    • Oct 25, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    Hurry up and wait has been my experience with Auction.com so far. I won the winning bid in the middle of July. The first thing they do is send you a very lengthy contract that you should be able to have a lawyer review but they only give you 2 hours to sign and return it or you lose the chance to buy the home. Then they give you 2 days to wire the earnest money and any other paperwork they send you must be taken care of right away.

    I was told that we could close on the house in 30 days since it is a cash deal. We were scheduled to close on August 15 but told a few days before that date that we would not be able to because the seller (bank) had not signed and returned the sale contract. I was then scheduled to close in another 30 days which did not happen because I was told that the seller (bank) has not returned the deed but on the extended contract, I could clearly see that the seller had signed the sales agreement in plenty of time to close on the first original date. I am on my fourth time having them extend the closing date which they say is due to them not receiving the deed back from the bank which frankly I don't believe because they have already lied to me once.

    Unfortunately, it is easy to believe they would lie because of the customer service. I have been given the name and number of a few contact people during different parts of this process and anytime I've tried to reach out to any of these special people I've always got an answering machine with a message that my call would be returned within 24 hours. My calls have not been returned once! It's a joke, I don't know why they bother to give you these numbers? So here I am waiting until they are good and ready to let me finish this deal. I will write again to up date on my progress.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 16 out 19 people found this review helpful

    Terrible Website

    • Miami, FL,
    • Oct 24, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    So I got everything ready to start bidding on a property listed on Auction.com. Three days before the bidding even started, they took it off and said they had accepted an offer. What kind of B.S. is this? How do you take something off before it even auctions? This website is a piece of garbage and waste of time. Don't ever use this site.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 26 out 27 people found this review helpful

    Auction.com bidding is rigged

    • Los Angeles, CA,
    • Jul 19, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    Went to a live auction run by Auction.com today in Corona, CA. Out of 150 properties on the board, only 14 actually went up for auction, the rest were either canceled or postponed. Of the 14 that went to auction, around 8 to 10 were "won" by creditors and the auctioneer made that clear. I think there are shill bidders in the back of the room that bid against investors to get the price up to some pre-determined reserve.

    There are several helpers roaming the room trying to entice higher bids. I think banks use auction.com to try to sell less desirable foreclosure or REO properties sight unseen to unsuspecting buyers and investors. We had a budget and once the bidding got above our budget we stopped bidding so we didn't win the property.

    When I checked on a real estate sold online website later that day, the property that was supposedly "bought" by the creditor didn't show up on the list as sold. There may be some good deals to be had on auction.com but buyer beware!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 45 out 47 people found this review helpful

    Auction.com is a scam

    • Indiana,
    • Apr 3, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    I can not believe that such practice even survived so long in the United States. I want to warn anybody who are thinking to buy from Auction.com. There are several things you need to pay attention to. First, when you bid online, the Auction.com will bid against to raise the price. If your bid does not meet the reserve, they will keep up bidding against you. If nobody wins the bid, they will post the property one day later. Second, Auction.com has terrible closing services. You need to be careful what you signed for. Usually, you will have to pay the closing cost for the seller. The closing agency they are using is called Service Link. Both Auction.com and Service Link have terrible services. They only want money. They do not want to do the work. Most important, you need to ask them whether they have the key to the property. Our experience is that we paid everything for the closing and waiting for the key. Auction.com told us that they do not have key to the property. You have to break the door to gain access.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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