Just Like Playing the Sims: Selling Property at Auction

If you have ever played the life-simulation game “The Sims,” or any of its copies or expansion packs, you know the name of that real estate game: if you have the money, houses are purchased in an instant, and sold just as fast.

Those computer-simulated characters don’t wait around, or do much homework: players merely peruse the layout, consider potential changes, and make the purchase. Homes are sold in a similar fashion: merely click “Sell Home” or some similarly labelled button, and your home is back on the market, with your furniture ready-sold and the money in your pocket.

We don’t live in a world of cheat codes and push-of-a-button quick sells. But there is something that nearly parallels the ease of the Sims real estate gameplay: selling your home at an auction. But before you just jump in and click that button, consider these facts about home auctions to decide whether it will suit the your needs and home.

What’s the deal with home auctions?

Typically, home auctions are created to sell foreclosed homes in areas with high foreclosure rates. The bank starts the bid at the amount of money that it needs to regain its lost investment, and the bidders take it from there. Homes are sold relatively inexpensively, and papers are signed that very day. In a lot of ways, it sounds like the Sims click-and-furnish model.

Home auctions also occur for people who want to sell their home quickly, and skip the anxiety over offers and counter-offers, and the drama of home showings and move-out dates that stretch for weeks and even months. Some homes work better for auctions than others; the parameters below may help you decide whether to list or auction your home in the future.

Common traits of auction-ready properties

Most buyers at auctions aren’t looking for beautiful, fully-furnished, completed homes that are move-in ready. Most of them are flippers or real estate tycoons looking for properties for their tenants. These buyers are looking for a number of specific traits:

1. Tenanted properties

Landlords are always looking for an apartment house or multi-family home on the market, to increase their monthly rental income.

2. Properties for sale below market value

Buyers at auctions want a steal; that’s why they’re there. If your home is one of the cheaper properties on your block, consider putting it up for auction, instead of fighting with your more modern neighbors.

3. Older homes

Buyers eat up homes that need renovation and improvements; if your home needs some big overhaul, consider going to auction and letting professional house flippers do the work.

If your home doesn’t quite resemble any of the above items, don’t fret. Selling homes for slightly less than market value can also improve your sell time.

If you’re looking for a quick turnover rate, let your Realtor know, and he or she can make arrangements to show the house to many prospective clients and offer discounts and rates to increase the likelihood of an offer.

Drew Hendricks is a professional business and startup blogger that writes for a variety of sites including The Huffington Post, Forbes and Technorati. Drew has worked at a variety of different startups as well as large advertising agencies.