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Auctioneers, as well as almost everyone else, use the term “real estate” to indicate what is for sale, what is being sold at auction, what someone purchased, or what someone is looking for. For that matter, those who work in the real estate business representing sellers and buyers are known as “real estate” agents.

The term “real estate” is prevalent in our language, but is sometimes misused. Yes, those are probably real estate agents, and yes, there are real estate laws, and yes, there is real estate all around us. Yet, real estate, when buying or selling, has no value at all.

No value at all? Is the market that bad?

It’s not about the market. It’s that real estate is the land and attachments (trees, homes, buildings, wells, etc.) On the contrary, real property is real estate + the rights that go along with it, such as the right to occupy, improve, maintain, sell, rent or destroy.

Nobody would buy just real estate, and nobody is trying to sell just real estate. When we buy or sell, it’s real property.

Why is this important for auctioneers? Auctioneers are in the business of selling lots of things, including real property. It’s fine that an advertisement says, “Upcoming Real Estate Auction” or a sign says, “Real Estate Auction this way —->.” Equally, it’s fine that auctioneers say that they have an upcoming real estate auction on Saturday …

Where this word differentiation is paramount is in any paperwork. In the listing or auction contract, the contract needs to say that the seller is granting the auctioneer the right to sell at auction the real property known as … and in the sales (or purchase) contract, that the buyer and seller agree to, respectively, purchase and sell the real property known as …

Real estate has no value at all; real property has value, and quickest way to find out what that value is, is to talk with a real estate auctioneer.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.