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Practical and Legal Aspects of Real Estate Auctions


Gain an understanding of the auction process with an in depth look at the online selling process, typical contracts, terms, and the operations of how and why.

Although auctions can be (and routinely are) used to create a dynamic market for the sale of real property, including non-distressed real property, misconceptions about the industry, and a general lack of understanding of the auction process among both sellers and buyers, as well as their lawyers, has resulted in confusion and the failure to fully utilize all aspects of this valuable tool. Additionally, sellers unfamiliar with the methods through which an auctioneer may be compensated can overlook the possibility of negotiating more a favorable commission by having the auctioneer increase the buyer's premium. This topic will help those involved in real estate transactions recognize the benefits offered by the auction method of marketing and will provide information that should be helpful in avoiding pitfalls. Those involved in real estate auctions will appreciate the possibility of bringing a property to market on an accelerated time schedule with the potential of achieving the best value through competitive bidding. You will become familiar with various terms of art in the auction industry and will recognize the ability to allocate risk through well drafted listing agreements and bidder terms and conditions. This material will also be helpful in dispelling certain myths about the auction process and will discuss the flexibility of the auctioneer and seller in qualifying bidders and in controlling the conduct of the auction, including the reopening of the bidding under appropriate circumstances.



George Michak

George Michak

Michak Legal

  • Attorney with a dedicated auction law practice
  • Regularly represents auctioneers and auction companies on wide-ranging issues, including litigation, contracts, and licensing
  • Has also represented auction sellers and buyers
  • Helps participants in auction transactions to identify, manage, and reduce risk, while educating sellers and buyers and helping to manage the expectation of all parties
  • Teaches auction law and ethics at Reading Area Community College, Reppert School of Auctioneering, and Mendenhall School of Auctioneering
  • Regularly speaks before industry groups about auction law and ethics, and has presented to the Auctioneer Associations throughout the United States
  • Addresses the legal environment affecting the auction industry, with a focus on developing case law and the importance of appropriate contract language, including bidder terms and conditions
  • The various topics addressed include seller contracts and bidder terms and conditions; auctioneer’s discretion; buyer’s premiums; online auctions; absentee bids; statute of frauds; governing law, jurisdiction and venue; escrow accounts; credit card chargebacks; withdrawal of property by seller or auctioneer; disclosure obligations; “AS IS” and other disclaimers; the Uniform Commercial Code; risk management and best practices; and developing legal trends
  • His articles have been published in the Pennsylvania Auctioneers Association’s Keystone Auctioneer magazine, the Michigan Auctioneers Association’s eGavel Newsletter, and the National Auctioneers Association’s Auctioneer magazine
  • Has written an article titled 'Alex Lyon & Son, Sales Managers & Auctioneers v. Leach: Auction Contracts, Bidder Qualifications, Offier and Acceptance, Waiver, and the Fallacy of Treating All Bidders the Same' that has been accepted for publication by the West Virginia Law Review
  • In addition to auction law practice, has a strong background in corporate and business law, commercial litigation, administrative law and professional licensing, economic development financing, oil and gas, real estate, and land use
  • Graduate, magna cum laude, Vermont Law School; master’s degree in public administration, Pennsylvania State University was awarded a University Fellowship. received Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from King’s College
  • After law school, served a judicial clerkship with the Honorable John A. Dooley III at the Vermont Supreme Court, served as Chief Counsel for the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development
  • Currently a solo practitioner, was previously a partner in a major Pittsburgh-based law firm, and was previously associated with national law firms based in Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Can be contacted at 717-458-1822, [email protected], or Michak Legal, 717 Market Street, Suite 388, Lemoyne, PA 17043

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