Auctions vs listings: What is the difference?

Mossy Oak Properties Land For Sale

When most people think of selling land, they imagine the typical process of listing the property, marketing it to buyers and hopefully attracting an interested party.

“[On]The listing side of it, we spend a lot of time with the seller, spend a lot of time with the property, putting together a marketing packet, put it out there with our marketing plan on the Internet or whatever we decide to do for what is best for our seller, we send it out to different prospects and prospects find it over different means of networking,” said Jeramy Stephens of Mossy Oak Properties of Stuttgart Land and Auction Company in Stuttgart, Arkansas. “Just like any other general real estate, we’re looking for buyers to buy this property. It takes time, they look at it, we have offers and contracts, we end up having a sale like that.”

However, traditional listings are far from the only way owners can go about selling land.

“[For t]he auction method, you have a sale, you have all your buyers at the day of the sale, you’re ready to sale that day, you get a buyer that day, and in 30 days you generally close,” Stephens continued. “The auction method is really the best way to sell real estate. It’s just slow to move into some of the areas like ours, it’s really, really popular in the Midwest and it’s growing in the mid-South in areas such as ours in Arkansas. Right now it hasn’t quite caught on but I think that day is coming soon.”

Weighing your options
While auctions certainly come with unique benefits, it’s important to work with your land broker to determine if it’s the right course of action for you. After all, listings also have specific advantages.

For instance, as the seller, a traditional listing allows you to set a price for your land. While some buyers will likely want to negotiate, you have the ultimate say in how much your land sells for.

Then again, if time is of the essence, an auction may be the clear choice. A listed property may be on the market for months or even years, but an auction allows you to pick a sale date and get the ball rolling quickly. Buyers come to an auction prepared to purchase, accelerating the sales process and sometimes even leading to higher sale prices thanks to the competitive atmosphere of potential buyers outbidding each other.

In the end, what option makes the most sense will come down to you, your land and how quickly you want to pass on ownership.