Auction Terminology

Sometimes the terminology used at the sale and on the sale bills can get a little confusing.  Here’s a list of some common auction terminology to help you with the “lingo”….

Absolute Auction: A property is sold to the highest bidder with no minimum or reserve price.

Appraisal: A qualified opinion of value for an item.

As is, Where is: The property is sold as it is currently and where it is currently.

Auction: A public sale in which items are sold to the highest bidder. Latin word meaning the advance of bids.

Bid: A buyer’s indication of the price they are willing to pay at that point to purchase an item.

Buyer: The person who is the winning bidder on an item.

Buyer’s Agent: A real estate agent who is employed by and represents only the buyer in a transaction, regardless of whether the commission is paid by the buyer or the seller or through a commission split with the listing agent.

Buyer’s Premium: An additional charge, usually expressed in the form of a percentage of the highest bid, paid by the purchaser of the property.

Buyer Number: Card with number issued to person who has registered at an auction.

Chant/Crying: Can also be referred to as bid calling. The vocal announcement of the auctioneer to the buyers.

Clerk: Person who records price, item, and buyer from auctioneer.

Consignor: Person who brings merchandise to be sold at auction.

Earnest Money: A small percentage of the listing price in the form of a cashier’s or certified check that is presented by a bidder when he or she registers on auction day. The earnest money will be credited towards the final purchase price.

Estate Auction: An auction where the items of a deceased person are sold.

Lot: (1) Item in catalog or items sold together. (2) Number assigned to consignor to identify on clerking tickets.

Market Value: The price a property brings on auction day. In other words, what the general public is willing to pay. The auctioneer starts out asking market value.

Reserve: The lowest or minimum price that a seller will accept for merchandise.

Ringman: Person who is hired to assist the auctioneer in spotting bids.

Silent Auction: Term used to describe the bidding process of written bids which can be raised in writing. Usually held at charity events.

Tie Bid: Situation where two buyers bid the same price at the same time. Resolved by the auctioneer.