The Differences Between Buying Something Via Auction Vs a Negotiation

You have something to sell. You want someone to buy it. Should you sell it at auction or negotiate the sale price with a potential buyer? Or you’re a buyer– do you want to buy something via auction or would you rather negotiate the price over time, one-on-one?

Auction Buying

Auctions are popular primarily because they introduce the idea of competitive bidding into the selling and buying process. If you have an asset and you think it’s worth $1, what if someone else is willing to pay $5 for it? They might be! And therein lies the ultimate appeal of auctions for sellers. Meanwhile, buyers like auctions because they might “get a great deal.” They think, for instance, an item is really worth $5, but they only have to pay $1 for it?! That’s great!


Negotiation, on the other hand, is quite a game to play, involving two parties who have to exchange information and then work toward an outcome that delivers value to both.

What are some factors that influence whether an item gets sold at auction or via the negotiation process? Things to take into account include the number of potential buyers, the characteristics of the asset being sold, a seller’s priorities, and the importance of speed and transparency to getting the best price.

Say you have a house that you want to sell. You might choose to auction it off if you want to sell it quickly and you think there’s high interest in it, such that multiple bidders will go beyond the asking price to “win” it. Or maybe you’d choose the negotiation route, via a realtor, where you have many months to wait around and you don’t mind the back-and-forth of negotiations– though you’d hate to have a potential seller “pull out of the deal” at the “last minute.” Ugh.

In many cases, auctions are ideal! When it comes to auctioning off things in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, including land/property, farm equipment, and more, Wilson Auction is who you want to call at 866-870-5500.