Auction Terms & Definitions


Absolute Sale - all items will sell to the highest bidder, unless so stated all sales sell with-reserve (seller is allowed to decline the price)

As Is, Where Is - the property is sold in the condition it is in and where it is located, no warranty applies

Auctioneer - The person whom the seller engages to direct, conduct, or be responsible for a sale by auction. This person may or may not actually call or “cry” the auction.

Bid - a prospective buyer's indication of a price willing to pay to purchase an item

Bid Assistants - Individuals of a live auction team whose primary responsibility is to accurately interpret and effectively communicate buyer participation to their auctioneer. They should also be qualified to assist prospective bidders with the necessary information to make a better informed buying decision. Also known as “ringmen”, “bid spotters” or “groundsmen.”

Bidder's Choice - A method of sale whereby the successful high bidder wins the right to choose an asset or assets from a grouping of similar or like-kind assets. After the high bidder's selection, the asset is deleted from the group, and the second round of bidding commences, with the high bidder in round two choosing an asset, which is then deleted from the group and so on, until all assets are sold.  Also known as “Buyer’s Choice.”

Buyer's Contract - A contract between the buyer and the auction company that state the terms of the sale and the responsiblities of the buyer

Buyer's Fee - an additional charge usually expressed in the form of a percentage of the high bid to the buyer, must be stated in the terms of the sale

Estate Sale - The sale of property of a person living or deceased. An estate auction can involve the sale of personal and/or real property.  

Clerk - An individual employed by the principal auctioneer or auction firm to record what is sold and to whom and for what price.  Bidders are encouraged to not disrupt the clerk.

Commission - a sale fee assessed the seller, may be used in combination with a buyer's fee or a buyer's fee may replace commission

Consignment Sale - A sale made-up of property from multiple owners.

Hammer Price - Price established by the highest bidder and acknowledged by the auctioneer before dropping the hammer or gavel.

Opening Bid - The first bid offered by a bidder at an auction.

Opening Bid Discount - A discount given to the winning bidder if they also gave the opening bid. Sometimes used in real estate auctions.

Published Minimum Bid - The amount someone needs to bid to insure that the seller will sell the item.  Used primarily in real estate. 

Preview - Specified date and time property is available for prospective buyer viewing and audits. Also known as “Open House” or “Inspection”.

Sale With Owner Confirmation - At the conclusion of the bidding, the owner has the right to accept or reject that bid before the auctioneer can pronounce it sold.  Commonly used with real estate.

Sealed Bid - A method of sale where by confidential bids are submitted to be opened at a predetermined place and time. Not a true auction in that it does not allow for reaction from the competitive marketplace. Sometimes used in real estate auctions.

Seller - Entity that has legal possession (ownership) of any interests, benefits or rights inherent to the real or personal property.

Suggested Opening Bid -  A price that is suggested to start the bidding.  It is used as an indicator that the property owners may be thinking lower on something was previously offered, but is not a minimum price the seller would take for the property. 

Tie Bids - When two or more bidders bid exactly the same amount at the same time. This must be resolved by the auctioneer, often times opening the bidding up between only the two bidders in question.

Times the Money - The bid amount multipled by the number of items selling.  Example: 4 chairs sell to a winning bid of $5.00 = $20.00 total

True Market Value - The price someone is willing to pay.

With Reserve - A preagreed amount between the auctioneer and seller on the amount needed to sell the item. All sales may be with reserve unless otherwise stated.