Steffes Group


Once in a Lifetime – or Three or Four!

Once in a Lifetime – or Three or Four!

Like a lot of auction professionals, Max Steffes likes to remind bidders of their “once in a lifetime opportunity” to buy a farm. After all, it’s common for farmland to pass from generation to generation without going onto the market.

But sometimes, the reality of that hits home in a dramatic way. In researching documents for a quarter section of farmland we were selling in Argusville, ND, Max was reading the Abstract of Title for the farm. Seller Marvin Bush had mentioned that the land had originally been homesteaded by his grandfather, Christopher. Sure enough, the transaction was right there in black and white. On December 27, 1881, Christopher bought the land from the U.S. Government for $382.00, or $2.39 per acre.

“In this case, it wasn’t just a chance of a lifetime, but the first time in three generations for someone besides the Bush family to own the land. The land had been in the family for 138 years. They actually have had it for seven years longer than North Dakota has been a state,” said Max.

The farm in Cass County, just north of Fargo, sold in a timed online auction for $900,000, or $5,625 per acre. “As is usually the case, the farmland proved to be a sound investment,” said Max.

Timed online auctions are playing an increasing role in our marketing, Max noted.

“Out of 19 recent auctions ending the week of March 8, 12 of them were online and seven were live. The broad acceptance of online auctions for land and machinery has enabled us to expand our footprint and serve more sellers. But it’s important to do the job right. Whether live or online, any real estate auction starts with research, so that we can provide bidders with the due-diligence information they require to make informed decisions. That typically includes title research, surveys, productivity data, soil maps, and much more. And of course, we have to present the auction on a secure platform that is easy for bidders to use,” said Max.