When you make an offer on a home through a real estate agent, you fill out a sales contract that stipulates how much you’re willing to pay, when the sale will close, and other considerations, and then the seller can make a counteroffer. In contrast, no negotiations are possible when you buy at auction, so read the fine print on the auction site (or auction bill) carefully, because if your bid wins, you’re financially obligated to pay for the house, whether it’s a real plum or a lemon.

Related: 15 Tips for Buying a Home Out of State