What to expect at a real estate auction

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Not all real estate auctions are sad and anxious moments synonymous with desperation and bankruptcy. For years, auctions have been a convenient, private and efficient method of moving inventory in a hurry -- especially for companies that need to clear properties from their books by a specific date. For them, it's simply a matter of sound business economics.

Corporations, public agencies and institutions routinely liquidate "real estate-owned" portfolios to free up cash for other projects. These sellers are not usually affected by interest rates or economic environments, but the past few years have been atypical and the conditions have definitely added more properties to inventories. The acceptance and success of real estate auction sales has become a primary method of choice in disposing of property.

Traditional auction companies are enjoying a brisk business, not only from companies and individuals looking for a swift disposition but also from savvy buyers ...