Does Having An ‘Outside’ Auctioneer Hurt Your Iowa Land Auction?

Jul 27, 2017 | Land Auctions, Land Seller Resources

Jason Smith

Jason Smith

Auctioneer, Land Broker, Founder

Jason holds Auctioneer or Land Broker licenses in Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota. His DreamDirt team is composed of auctioneers, land brokers, and realtors. They specialize in farmland sales primarily serving the heirs to family farms all across Iowa and surrounding states. We offer risk-free selling experiences and work hard to maximize the value of our client's assets using highly effective auction methods, technology, and powerful advertising.

Email: | Phone: (515) 537-6633

Does Having An “Outside” Auctioneer Hurt Your Iowa Land Auction?  I’ve had this question asked of me more than once. Some people worry if they hire an auctioneer they perceive as not a regular in a certain market that could somehow impact the results of their auction.

First of all, I think it’s important to know exactly what an “outside auctioneer” is.  In the United States, we are free to conduct business anywhere as long as we are properly licensed.  Is “outside” defined as an auctioneer working outside of their hometown?  Their home County?  Their home state?  Maybe outside of the region they typically work in such as the Midwest or the Upper Plains States?    So far nobody has given me an exact definition of what an “outside” auctioneer is but I am sure it’s different to everybody that considers the question.  For me, the entire state of Iowa is very much home and I am licensed in the entire state of Iowa to sell real estate.

The question isn’t a dumb question, it’s worth considering and if you are not involved in the auction business on a daily basis with years of experience you won’t know what we know and that is that we can sell an auction anywhere and who we are or where we are from doesn’t matter one bit to buyers.  Buyers are not loyal to particular auctioneers, they often attend the sales of many different auctioneers because their loyalty is to the asset they desire to purchase.  I can’t think of even one buyer I have ever heard say “I won’t go to that auction because I don’t know that auctioneer” or “I won’t go to that auction and buy that thing I really want because I don’t like that auctioneer”.  The honest to goodness truth is that buyers don’t care who is selling it, they care what is being sold.  I often find that buyers actually enjoy meeting new auctioneers or auctioneers they only see on a rare basis.

There really should only be one person that really cares who is selling the asset and that is the seller.  Above I said that buyers don’t care who is selling it, they will come to buy it regardless if they want to own that asset.  The seller should be concerned they have chosen the right auctioneer with the right experience, education, resources, and team to complete the transaction for the highest amount of money possible and thats the only person that will worry who the auctioneer is.  You have heard me say it before.  “All Men are created equal, but not all auctioneers”.   I don’t mean that as a put down to my fellow auctioneers who I have great respect for but I mean it in the sense that pairing the right auctioneer to your asset is important.  If you are selling farmland or farm equipment I believe our company stands heads above any other service offering but if you were selling an art or jewelry collection, classic cars or purebred horses I would be honest and tell you that there are auctioneers in this world that are better than me at that.  Auctioneers, their services, their reach, and ability are all different for different assets and it’s very important when selling to understand how that impacts your auction.  Auctioneers are always seeking new auctions and often there are general auctioneers that will take any auction they can get but we don’t operate that way, we limit our auctions to agricultural assets and real estate only.

The latest trend in the auction industry is actually for auctioneers to work bigger and larger territories not only as a means to have enough business to support a business in today’s advertising intensive auction marketing world but also as a means to be more efficient for their clients.  The economies of scale are at play in the auction industry as they are in almost any today.  Some auctioneers do work all over the entire nation.  I sell farms all over Iowa from east to west and north to south and to me Iowa is my home territory but some may think if I do an auction outside of my home 2 or 3 county area that I am an outsider to the buyers but I have successfully sold over 200 farms so far in my career without even one issue no matter where our team sets off too.  In fact, alcove 50 of those farms were outside of Iowa even as far south as Kentucky and the Missouri/Arkansas border clear north to the Canadian border.  There are over 1000 miles between the farthest south and farthest north farms I’ve sold at auction.

Could having an outside auctioneer actually be a benefit to your auction?  Well, I have seen times where I believe that was the case and in fact, at times I have been hired solely for the fact the seller perceived me to be an “outside auctioneer”.  One of the most notable cases for me was when the seller had actually hired a local auctioneer and that auctioneer immediately approached them with a pre-auction offer which turned out to be from a good friend of the auctioneer and a neighbor to the farm.  It really made the seller feel uneasy about the local auctioneer and as they put it “the good old boy system”.   In another case, the seller told me they felt that since we did, in fact, do auctions over a wide area that we would know many more buyers than a local auctioneer and that we likely advertised in more places over a wider area than a local auctioneer.  In yet another case the seller told me they felt that by hiring somebody completely unknown to the buyers in their area they could keep buyers guessing and be assured that the standard typical local protocol was not followed.

We are not always hired because of the perception that we are an outside auctioneer in some markets, it actually doesn’t get mentioned that often because we do so many farmland auctions across the state of Iowa but when it does I feel comfortable telling sellers that I really do think there can be some strong arguments of a benefit but it probably is not an issue to anybody but just the seller.  What really makes a difference in your auction outcome is

  • #1 How well and far was it advertised?  I have lost auctions and heard “they can put it on the Internet just like you can”.  The truth is, thats not true.  Just putting something on the Internet doesn’t create some magic effect that the right people see it.  It’s actually very difficult to cut through the noise of the Internet and precisely target the exact people that need to see it.  The Internet is a busy messy noisy place that’s being added to constantly.
  • #2 How much demand is there for the asset?  What is the quality?
  • #3 How well did the auctioneer sell the value of the property to buyers in advertising?  Copywriting is important.  Words matter and how your listing is written matters.
  • #4 How well educated is the auctioneer?  Are they really good at farm management but take auctions as gravy?
  • #5 How well connected is the auctioneer in terms of buyers?  Can they call on buyers from outside the local market?
  • #6 How experienced is the auctioneer with this particular type of asset?  Do they typically sell pots and pans but saw an opportunity to snag a farmland auction?  After all its just fast talking right?  It just the same as selling a soft, you just talk fast?  In reality, there is a world of difference.
  • #7 What method of auction will be used to sell the asset?  Is it buyers choice?  Round Robin?  Live auction or online auction?  A professional auctioneer will match your asset and situation to the right method that nets the best return.
  • #8 What is the experience, educational makeup of the auctioneers’ support team?  Are they people capable of the tremendous responsibility of representing your asset?
  • #9 What resources can the auctioneer employ to advertise and conduct your sale?  Will the photos be with a camera phone or a DSLR or a Drone?  If its with a drone what is the quality? Can they color correct and white balance or just through up a raw drone shot?  What audiovisual can they create and employ in auction?  There are hundreds of questions here.
  • #10 What is the auctioneers’ track record of a period of time with this type of asset?  Are you going to be the first customer?  I know and have seen quite a few examples of auctioneers landing their first land auction with no resources, no experience and in some cases no education, insurance or honestly even no idea of how to do it.  Sometimes they call me and ask for advice.  You have to be careful about this in Iowa as Iowa does not have an auctioneer license law and the auctioneer you are considering may be booking his/her first or second auction.  We all had a first or second auction and taking the risk is up to you as long as its a disclosed risk you are taking.

If you are considering selling farmland in Iowa we want to earn your business and have an opportunity to show you why so many people have turned to DreamDirt to sell family farms or investment holdings into the open market for them.  We are very easy to work with and work for free to get you the information you need to get started on the path to a successful sale.  Call us anytime at 515-537-6633 to learn more about our company and our auction or real estate services.

Our farmland auctions cover all 99 Counties in Iowa where we are licensed to sell real estate.  We also have teams licensed to sell farm and land real estate in Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota and North Dakota.

DreamDirt is a licensed real estate land broker and auction service in Iowa specializing in the sale of Iowa farm real estate by listing or auction.  Jason Smith, CAI is the licensed real estate broker in Iowa for DreamDirt and the principal auctioneer.


Wondering what your farm might be worth?  Below are links to our Dollars And Dirt website where we keep track of Iowa Farmland Prices across the entire state of Iowa for all 99 counties.  You can click on each county and learn whats happening there right now!  Better yet, after you have a look get a free market analysis from DreamDirt and let us put our data and knowledge to work for you for free, learn what your farm is worth today.

Request a Free Valuation for Your Farm or Land Property

Whether you’re ready to start the selling process, or even remotely curious, we will gladly provide you with a FREE Market Analysis! If you are in a position to sell land in the Midwest, we want to help you achieve the top of the market on your sale.

Iowa Farmland Price Report September 9th – 15th, 2023

Iowa Farmland Price Report September 9th – 15th, 2023

Iowa Farmland Prices September 9th-15th, 2023 Report A total of 3,805 acres were sold in Iowa this week. The average price per acre for the 32 tracts of land auctions is $11,155/acre and $170.08/CSR2 point. Learn more about CSR2. How much is farmland in Iowa worth...

read more
Iowa Farmland Price Report September 2nd – 8th, 2023

Iowa Farmland Price Report September 2nd – 8th, 2023

Iowa Farmland Prices September 2nd - 8th, 2023 Report A total of 3,244.69 acres were sold in Iowa this week. The average price per acre for the 31 tracts of land auctions is $12,282.42/acre and $159.12/CSR2 point. Learn more about CSR2. How much is farmland in Iowa...

read more
Iowa Farmland Price Report August 26th – September 1st, 2023

Iowa Farmland Price Report August 26th – September 1st, 2023

Iowa Farmland Prices August 26th - September 1st, 2023 Report A total of 2,194 acres were sold in Iowa this week. The average price per acre for the 22 tracts of land auctions is $13,180/acre and $160.31/CSR2 point. Learn more about CSR2. How much is farmland in Iowa...

read more