Q: We read about U.S. and Australian real-estate auctions all the time. Are there such auctions in Canada and what is the procedure?

A: Well, yes and no. First off, in the United States, the auction process varies from state to state.

In some, you stand literally at the city hall steps and bid with a group of other people on whatever the clerk is offering daily. Others take place in big barnlike environments.

In Australia, every regular house is sold via auction in the living room of each house or the broker’s office.

In Australia, auctions have a reserved price … so negotiations are actually similar to ours. No stealing a property. However, in the U.S., auctions are unreserved … meaning the best price gets the property.

In Canada, you have both kind of auctions … but very few of them. Your best bet is to go to an auction house like Ritchie Bros. where you can bid online and -very important -all auctions are unreserved (best bid wins).

Alas, there are now only properties in Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick coming up for auction there. But you can bid on-line. Look it up here: www.rbauction.com/ web/rba/auctions/real-estate