Reading the input from others here will give you more insight so I will not spend time repeating what they have said. If you live in TN and want more info, just call me at Red Realty at 615-220-2733 and I'll give you a few minutes of free, professional advice.
You can hire a real estate agent to represent you during the buying process, however most auction companies and sellers do not pay compensation to a buyer's agent. Some auctions will have broker participation but special regulations will apply. Most buyer's agents will want you to sign a buyer's agreement agreeing to pay them a commission if you buy a home.
One final note, homes at auction are offered "with reserve" or "absolute". With reserve means the seller has a minimum bid they are willing to accept to sell the home. Absolute means the home is selling no matter what the bid is. Now don't think just because it is absolute, you might get to buy a $100,000 home for $10,000. In Tennessee the auctioneer has the right to accept or refuse any bid from anyone no matter if the auction is absolute. Absolute usually draws a larger crowd which in turn usually means a higher selling price. If you have other questions or concerns, you can email me at
ExitRealty@GregoryGoff.com or call at 615-653-0080.
Gregory Goff, AUCTIONEER
EXIT Realty Bob Lamb Auction Division TN Firm #5515
Foreclosure auctions are done at the county courthouse and require a good deal of knowledge as well as CASH since there are no loans accepted here. Cash only. The winner also gets all liens and problems with the property so you have to do a title search ahead of bidding to know what nightmares you will also be buying.
Private auctions are where a seller hires an auctioneer to sell the property to the high bidder. The rules with these vary so you have to know ahead of time what they are. You often have to put up a large deposit, like $10,000 cash at the last one I was at. The auctioneer often adds 10% to the high bid which is their commission and you have to be able to close in 10-20 days so you better have the loan ready to go before you bid.