Exploring Farmland Sales: Conventional Realtor Method vs. Auction Method

selling farmaland at real estate vs auction

When it comes to selling farmland, property owners often face the dilemma of choosing between the conventional Realtor® method and the Auction method of sale. SHERIDANS, a Real Estate Services & Auction Company, has been a trusted name in the farmland industry throughout Ohio for over five decades, offering an extensive range of services from the sale of farmland and rural acreage to farm machinery and heavy equipment. In this article, we will delve into the pros and cons of both the conventional Realtor method and the Auction method of selling farmland.

SHERIDANS: A Trusted Partner in Farmland and Rural Acreage Sales

SHERIDANS, founded in 1974 by Keith Sheridan, has grown to become a recognized specialist throughout Ohio in the sale of farmland, residential and commercial real estate, as well as all types of farm machinery and heavy equipment. We pride ourselves on Experience, Integrity, and Results, offering clients multiple proven methods to maximize the value of their assets. 

Conventional Realtor Method

The conventional Realtor listing method employed by SHERIDANS offers property owners the advantage of maximum exposure through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), allowing widespread visibility to potential buyers throughout the listing period. This method allows for negotiation flexibility, enabling sellers to navigate various terms and buyers to have peace of mind by negotiating desired contingencies. However, the set sale price may limit the final sale value, and the extended sale timeline can be a consideration. Sellers opting for the conventional Realtor method benefit from a thorough vetting process for potential buyers, ensuring a comprehensive and secure transaction. It’s important to note that the inclusion of buyer contingencies, while providing flexibility, has the potential to introduce complexities and even stall deals, a factor sellers should carefully weigh in their decision-making process.

Advantages of the Realtor® Listing Method:

Maximum Exposure: The conventional Realtor method leverages the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), providing extensive exposure to potential buyers.

Negotiation Flexibility: Sellers have the flexibility to negotiate various terms, including inspection and financing contingencies and closing dates.

Thorough Buyer Vetting: Sellers can thoroughly review and vet potential buyers, requesting lender qualification letters to ensure qualified buyers.

Potential Disadvantages of the Realtor® Listing Method:

Set Sale Price: Placing a price on the property can cap the final sale price, limiting potential returns.

Extended Sale Timeline: The property may take longer to sell through the conventional Realtor method, leading to extended marketing periods.

Buyer Contingencies:  Appraisal, inspection, and other buyer contingencies are the leading cause for negotiated deals to fall through.

Auction Method

SHERIDANS’ auction method provides an alternative avenue for selling farmland, offering unique advantages. With no limit on the sale price, auctions often result in higher-than-anticipated returns, and the absence of negotiations streamlines the sales process. Innovative sales methods and maximized marketing exposure, including MLS, Realtor.com, and Zillow, contribute to a lively and competitive bidding atmosphere. While limited negotiation opportunities and public perception concerns may arise, the auction method excels in delivering efficient and profitable sales. Clients can choose the approach that aligns best with their goals, ensuring a tailored and successful transaction.

Advantages of the Auction Method:

No Limit on Sale Price: Auctions often result in a higher-than-anticipated final sale price, as there is no predetermined cap.

No Negotiation: The property sells with no negotiation over non-price issues, streamlining the sales process.

Innovative Sales Methods: Utilizing state-of-the-art techniques and technology, such as Real Estate Multi-Par® Software, auctions provide a lively and competitive bidding atmosphere.

Maximized Marketing Exposure: Auction properties receive maximum exposure through MLS, Realtor.com, Zillow, and other real estate websites.

Potential Disadvantages of the Auction Method:

Variable Outcomes: Success depends on bidder turnout and enthusiasm, leading to potentially varying results.

Strict Terms: High buyer deposit and limited negotiation and contingency options may deter some buyers.

Steps in Selling Farmland

The process in selling farmland involves critical steps:

Step 1: Valuing Your Land: SHERIDANS’ professional assessment ensures accurate market-based pricing, considering the current market, location, land productivity, and more.

Step 2: Preparing Your Property: Maintain and present your farmland or rural acreage effectively. First impressions are very important, so do not rush into the sale of your sale until it can be presented at its best.

Step 3: Marketing Your Acreage: Rely on SHERIDANS to implement a compelling marketing campaign tailored to your chosen method. SHERIDANS offers local, regional, and national advertising to reach a wide segment of buyers, along with professional advertising literature, signage, photography, drone video, and a wide reaching online presence.

Step 4: Negotiating and Finalizing the Sale: Trust SHERIDANS’ experienced negotiation skills to secure favorable deals, ensuring a seamless ownership transition. Coordination between the seller, buyer, lender, appraiser, title company, and other professionals is key to a smooth transaction. 

Deciding Between “As Is” Selling and Flexibility: Auction vs. Listing

When contemplating the sale of your farmland, the choice between presenting it “as is” or allowing for flexibility through a conventional listing or auction is pivotal. Opting for an “as is” approach implies minimal alterations—no touch-ups, no fixes; it’s a transparent presentation of your property. If your farmland is in excellent condition, strategically located, and poised to attract substantial interest, an auction might be the optimal choice. On the other hand, if you prefer the opportunity to vet potential buyers or if your land possesses unique features, a conventional listing may better suit your objectives. Regardless of your decision, trust SHERIDANS to guide you through the process, helping you select the method that aligns best with your goals.

Auctions introduce immediacy and competition, potentially leading to a final bid surpassing expectations. In contrast, a conventional Realtor® listing offers flexibility, fostering a comfortable negotiation environment that strives for a mutually beneficial outcome. 

Determining the Value of Your Farmland or Rural Acreage

Assigning a value to your farmland involves a meticulous process. You can conduct independent research, obtain a professional appraisal, or engage with a real estate expert. Reflect on your land’s location, characteristics, and market trends. Recognize that your farmland’s value extends beyond its physical attributes; it encapsulates its potential, whether in terms of crop yield or development opportunities. A professional market analysis conducted by SHERIDANS, comprising appraisers and licensed real estate agents, ensures that your pricing expectations align with both the current state and future prospects of your property. Stay assured that our team remains up-to-date on market values and trends to assist you in valuing your farmland or rural acreage, preventing any missed financial opportunities. Trust SHERIDANS for a comprehensive and informed approach to maximizing the value of your property.

For a personalized consultation or more information on selling your farmland, visit our website or contact our team at SHERIDANS.

Services Offered by SHERIDANS

SHERIDANS offers a range of services, including:

Real Estate Services: Licensed Realtors® guide clients through conventional Realtor and auction methods.

Auctions: Specializing in various personal property assets, SHERIDANS offers live and online auction services.

Buyer Representations: SHERIDANS also serves as dedicated Buyers Agents, representing individuals searching for farmland or rural acreage to purchase, leveraging our expertise to guide and assist buyers in finding the ideal property that aligns with their specific needs and objectives.

Asset Valuation & Appraisal Services: Comprehensive appraisal services for real estate and personal property.

Personal Property Services: Auction services for farm equipment, antiques, collectibles, firearms, and more. 

Marketing and Advertising

SHERIDANS employs a comprehensive and strategic marketing approach to showcase farmland and rural acreage, maximizing visibility for your real estate assets. Our marketing strategy includes leveraging proprietary databases, implementing targeted national and regional internet marketing campaigns, utilizing the power of social media platforms, establishing valuable partnerships with local and national publications, and conducting focused direct mail campaigns to farmland owners, investors, and professionals. Through these channels, we ensure that your farmland and rural acreage receive widespread exposure to potential buyers, investors, and individuals seeking opportunities in the agricultural and rural property market. Our team’s commitment to a multifaceted advertising approach is designed to optimize the promotion of your farmland, ultimately facilitating a successful and lucrative sale.


The SHERIDANS team, led by Bart Sheridan, CAI, and Matt Sheridan, brings extensive experience in real estate, auctions, and asset valuation. We offer a full team of experienced professionals to contribute unique expertise, ensuring each client receives top-notch service to maximize the value of your assets.

Testimonials and Recognition

SHERIDANS boasts a track record of success, recognized as the top-selling office in farm and land sales in the Dayton and Springfield region since 2003. The company has received numerous awards, including induction into the Ohio Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame.

Matt Sheridan and the Sheridan Team were amazing to work with during our sale!  When my brother and I were tasked with selling the farmland inherited from our mother, SHERIDANS made the process simple. Matt Sheridan met us at the site of the land to be auctioned and explained the sale process to us along with all of the services provided by their firm. This included example advertisements, their plan to engage potential sellers through social media, and a walkthrough of their auction process. Throughout the business of selling our farm, we received frequent emails and phone calls from the Sheridan Team which allowed us to make the best decisions for the completion of the sale. As we neared the date of the auction, we received copies of all advertisements and links to the websites and videos being sed to aid in the sale. The day of the auction, we were greeted by SHERIDANS’ team. They explained each detail of how the sale would work, taking time to make sure we understood how the day would progress. The Sheridan Team created an environment which produced extraordinary results! We appreciate the hard work that SHERIDANS invested into our sale and are thankful for the opportunity to work with them during this important sale. I would highly recommend SHERIDANS for any of your real estate or auction needs!  – Teresa Oney

Proven Results

In conclusion, both the Conventional Realtor method and the Auction method in the sale of farmland and rural acreage have their merits. SHERIDANS, with its decades of Experience, Integrity, and Results offers clients the flexibility to choose the approach that aligns with their goals, ensuring a successful and profitable transaction.  Contact SHERIDANS today to schedule a no-fee consultation on how we can assist in maximizing the value of your property!