5 Things You Should Know About Buying a Home at Auction in TN

5 Things You Should Know About Buying a Home at Auction in TN

Purchasing a home at an auction can be both thrilling and nerve-wracking. The competitive nature of the auction, combined with the potential for a great deal, makes it an enticing option for many potential homeowners and investors. However, it’s essential to be informed before diving into this unique purchasing process, especially in Tennessee. Here are five crucial things to consider before raising your paddle.

1. Types of Home Auctions:

In Tennessee, there are primarily two types of home auctions:

  • Foreclosure Auctions: These are homes that have been repossessed by a lender due to the previous owner’s inability to make mortgage payments. The primary goal of the auction is to recover the outstanding loan balance.
  • Tax Lien Auctions: This is when a homeowner has failed to pay property taxes. The local government can auction off the lien, and if the homeowner doesn’t pay the tax debt, the winning bidder has the right to foreclose on the property.

Being aware of which auction you’re attending is crucial, as the risks, procedures, and potential rewards differ significantly.

2. Researching the Property:

Due diligence is essential. Many homes bought at auction are sold “as is,” meaning that once you’ve made the purchase, you’re responsible for any issues with the home. Here’s how to research effectively:

  • Physical Inspection: In many cases, potential buyers won’t be allowed inside the property before the auction. However, you can still drive by and assess the exterior. Checking the condition can give you some insights into potential repair costs.
  • Title Search: This ensures there are no liens or encumbrances on the property other than what’s disclosed at the auction. In Tennessee, undisclosed liens can sometimes be a significant issue, especially with tax lien auctions.
  • Market Value Assessment: Compare the property to similar homes in the area to get an idea of its actual value. This helps in setting a maximum bid.

3. Financing and Payment:

Most auction houses or institutions require payment in cash or cashier’s check immediately after winning a bid. This means you must:

1. Secure Financing Ahead of Time:

  • Benefits of Pre-Approval: When you’re pre-approved, you’re not only affirming your serious intent to purchase but also setting clear boundaries on your budget. This preliminary step helps you avoid overbidding and ensures you can immediately act on a property that fits within your financial capacity.
  • Speed is of the Essence: The auction world operates on swift timelines. Having your loan pre-approved means you won’t be left scrambling for financing after placing a winning bid, thus providing a seamless transition from bidding to ownership.

2. Have Payment Ready:

  • The Necessity of a Cashier’s Check: In the high-stakes environment of an auction, personal checks or promises won’t suffice. Holding a cashier’s check, which is essentially equivalent to cash, signifies your readiness to finalize the transaction swiftly. Preparing a check for the maximum amount you’re willing to bid ensures you can immediately seal the deal if you emerge as the winning bidder.
  • Being Prepared for Immediate Financial Obligations: Auction protocols often demand immediate financial commitments. Whether it’s a deposit to participate or a percentage of the winning bid required instantly post-auction, being forewarned and forearmed ensures you’re not caught off guard.

4. Understand Tennessee’s Right of Redemption:

In Tennessee, as in several other jurisdictions, there exists a legal provision known as the “right of redemption” in the context of foreclosure auctions. This provision grants the original homeowner a stipulated window of time, often extending up to a year, wherein they retain the opportunity to reclaim ownership of their property. To exercise this right, they must compensate the auction’s winning bidder with the full bid amount, in addition to covering any ancillary charges that might have accrued. It’s noteworthy that this provision is particularly prevalent in cases involving tax lien auctions. However, it’s crucial for bidders to be cognizant of this potentiality when participating in any foreclosure auction, as it can influence the post-auction ownership dynamics and the overall viability of the investment.

5. Work with a Local Real Estate Professional:

Local real estate experts, with their vast experience and deep understanding of the Tennessee market, are indispensable resources for anyone considering diving into the auction world. Their expertise encompasses a thorough grasp of the unique dynamics of Tennessee’s auction process, offering buyers comprehensive guidance on property evaluations, market trends, and potential pitfalls. Moreover, these professionals can share invaluable insights on historical data, neighborhood specifics, and potential return on investment. For newcomers to the auction realm or even seasoned investors looking to strengthen their strategy, partnering with such knowledgeable professionals can significantly enhance one’s chances of making an informed and successful purchase.


The allure of buying a home at auction, especially in the vibrant state of Tennessee, remains undeniable. With potentially significant financial benefits on the horizon, many are drawn to this unique purchasing method. Yet, it’s essential to tread with caution and be well-prepared. Thorough research, a keen understanding of local laws, and financial preparedness can make the difference between a lucrative deal and a regrettable misstep. For those looking to navigate this intricate process, seeking expertise is invaluable. Memphis Home Buyers stands as a beacon for those eager to venture into the auction scene. With local expertise and a deep understanding of Tennessee’s property landscape, they are well-positioned to guide both novices and seasoned buyers towards a successful purchase. With the right support and preparation, buying a home at auction can be a rewarding journey.

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