Farmland Auctions VS Listings

By: Iowa Land Company

Farmland Auctions VS Listings

One of the most common questions that we are asked when meeting with clients is, “Should we sell our farm using the auction or traditional listing method?” The answer to that question is more complex than one may think. I will highlight the benefits and differences of each, but it’s up to you, as the seller, to make the final decision. Note, in this post, I will not be able to cover everything there is to cover on this topic. It’s very important that you consult with an experienced land agent that can help provide you with professional and expert input on your specific farm. Each farm and situation is different and we understand that!  



Auctions are very popular in the agricultural farmland space. Over the past half decade, the Iowa farmland auction process has been the leading option with how farmland trades in Iowa. Sources have shown that around 79% of Iowa farmland trades have been made using the auction method of sale on the open market. The auction method provides a level of competition that a traditional listing simply cannot offer. Auction friendly farms generally are made up of 85-100% tillable/productive acres, well drained, strong in soil, located in a strong farming community, and are very farmable to operators. 


    • Marketing Plan Tailored for Your Property (Both Locally and Nationally)
    • Process Allows Price to Exceed Seller’s Expectations
    • Provides A Competitive Atmosphere
    • Sold “As-Is, Where-Is”
    • Typically No Contingencies (No Financing Contingencies) 
    • 10% Earnest Money Down on Auction Day
    • True Market Value (No need for an appraisal) 
    • Predetermined Sale Date; Meets Seller’s Timeline and Builds Momentum for the Property
    • Predetermined Closing Date; Meets Seller’s Timeline
    • Provides opportunities to split the property into multiple “tracts”, making the farm more attractive to multiple buyer types




Traditional Listings

Twenty one percent of the farmland trades over the past half decade have been made via the traditional listing process. Traditional listings certainly have their place in farmland real estate. One example of a great time to take advantage of the traditional listing method would be if we are in a downturn market and there is uncertainty in the future. It allows sellers to work with the real estate broker and choose a price to list the farm at with little to no risk in determining the sale price (These prices are generally higher than they would expect to see on auction). Farmland listings are also attractive to buyers that are dealing with 1031 Exchanges because they give the buyer more flexibility and help create a more formal schedule. Lastly, some farms are just better suited for listings. These farms could be in a saturated area where the supply of farms for sale is high, the farm has draining issues, soils are below average or the farm has other best-use attributes like development or recreation opportunities. 


    • You, The Seller, Establish The Listing Price 
    • The Marketing Plan Is Strategic and Targeted
    • Attractive To 1031 Exchange Buyers
    • You And The Buyer Agree To Terms 
      • Price, Earnest Money, Closing Date, Contingencies, etc….
    • Broker Or Real Estate Agent Negotiates Terms
    • Ability To Take Backup Offers 




Ultimately, you, the seller, should decide the end goal in selling your farm. If you are looking to sell your farm in today’s market, it’s important to seek advice from a professional that works on selling farmland every day. Our brokers at Iowa Land Company will provide you with educated advice that can help you decide if a farmland auction or farmland listing is the best route for selling your farm. Our goal is to make the process as simple as possible for you while gaining you the most money that your property is worth. You can call our main office to get in touch with your local Iowa land broker today @ (515) 962-5048 or send us an email at We would be happy to answer any questions you might have!










Iowa Land Company is a full-service farmland auction company that services in all 99 counties of Iowa. We transact all types of land in Iowa. Want to know what your land in Iowa is worth ? Get a | Free Farmland Evaluation (Click) | from one of the trusted agents at Iowa Land Company.


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Our company was built to generate Iowa land transactions combining two things, land marketing experience and farmland sales experience. Our marketing company and land salesman are focused on Iowa dirt! Iowa Land runs deep within each person that makes up our company. We have a  passion for land and that’s what we know. Each person has their strengths and we mesh those strengths together forming a land company that is powerful in both land auctions and private treaty land sales.



Farm Location

Location can be the biggest variables when calculating land value so it’s important to not over look this step.

CSR2 Value

Yes we certainly do consider your Corn Suitability Rating (CSR2) value when giving our traditional farm appraisal because it is very important.


We want to hear your story. How has the farm been taken care of? Who has farmed the farm? Etc…

Current Market

We look at what is currently on the market, how long similar farms have been on the market, for what price and how that farm compares to yours.

Recent Sales

We have access to our in farm sales report that we file per county. We keep a close eye on recent farms located near your farm.
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How the Iowa Farmland Auction Process Works | Iowa Land Company

Monthly Farmland Auction Results In all 99 Counties of Iowa