# Minimum bid rule for Monopoly auctions

Other questions have asserted that many people don't actually auction properties as instructed in the rules. Monopoly doesn't specify any rules to control the auction. I have seen auctions stretch on with many +\$1 bids, making the process painfully slow.

Seems to me some combination of eBay bid increments and/or Poker raise rules would be appropriate.

What minimum bid increment rule(s) are recommended?
Do these rule(s) lead to faster auctions?

• Might want to stick with bid increments of 5%(10% of mortgage to make it easier math wise) or 10% of the property value, rather than of the current bid, particularly if playing with a first grader, those numbers are easy to calculate and are fixed for the auction, rather than needing them to think it out and ask you for help as much. Bids for boardwalk always go up by \$40 or more bids for Mediterranean Ave always go up by \$6. Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 21:47
• I now recommend a minimum increment of 10% of the purchase price. I don't see any need to set a minimum starting bid; should be someone willing to quickly bid near mortgage value.
– Lee
Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 21:01

We have played with a minimum 1st bid of 1/4 the price of the property (to vary with property value, but to allow for unchallenged bids to be profitable from immediately mortgaging; this puts upward pressure on the 2nd bid, pushing it towards the mortgage price). Incremental bids are then at least the no-house rent amount (and so also varies with property value).

• Do you also set the bid increment to 1/4 of the property value? 1/4 as a minimum sounds good but as an increment seems high. Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 21:44

If you're playing for "fun", as I typically do, we set the minimum bid to be face value.

Otherwise, set a minimum increase bid of \$5 or \$10.

• The minimum bid of \$5 - \$10 is a good idea, and keeps bidding flowing along smoothly. The only problem with `minimum bid = face value` rule is that the intent behind auctioning is that it guarantees a property will be sold once landed on. If all players have less money than the face value of the property, there's a chance it won't be sold, unless you make an exception for that property. Commented Dec 30, 2010 at 4:41
• I would recommend an initial requested opening bid as the mortgage value of the property. Certainly someone should be willing to pay that much.
– Lee
Commented Dec 30, 2010 at 5:44
• When I've played, auctioned properties are almost always sold for less than face value. If you land on a property that someone else wants then you buy it and sell it on for a profit. Commented Nov 6, 2012 at 14:34
• @warren: if the property will sell for more than face value, you should have bought it without putting it up for auction. Auctions only occur when the property isn't worth face value, so they generally go for less than face value. Commented Nov 7, 2012 at 1:49
• @ChrisDodd - that is not true: auctions occur when the player who lands on it cannot afford it or doesn't want it Commented Nov 7, 2012 at 15:09

Disclaimer: We've never played with the auctions at home. What I'm saying comes from experience with auctions in other games.

In my experience most unregulated auctions drag on with people outbidding each other with minimal increases. The minimum bid usually isn't much of an issue. If people want the item then the price will quickly rise to a certain level.

I'd suggest to use the "no house" or "one house" rent (or so) as the minimum raise amount for each auction. That also has the advantage of scaling with the value of the property.

As for a minimum opening bid I'd rather go with the mortage value than the face value.

If you want to speed up auctions, have everyone submit one sealed bid (this is known as a first-price sealed-bid auction). The property is sold to the highest bidder for the price he bid.

Note - I haven't actually played this rule in Monopoly, but I did buy a real property in this kind of auction as it is the way property is usually sold in Scotland.

I have played around with the bidding system in the years since I asked this question. We now play, and I highly recommend the following simple rule: The minimum bid increment is 10% of the current bid, round up.

So an example auction of minimum bids would be:
A: \$100
B: \$110 (+10 = 100*10%)
C: \$121 (+11)
A: \$134 (+13)
C: \$148 (+14)
A: \$163 (+15)
...

This method is still to slow for my personal preference, but it is simple enough for a group that includes kids to actually use.

• Is the order of bidding strictly clockwise, or can anyone shout out a bid at any time? If the latter, what happens if the current bid is \$400, and two people bid \$440 at the same time, but neither would consider paying \$484? How do you choose? With \$1 increases allowed, it's unlikely that two players will place exactly the same value on a property. Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 12:18
• AndyT, Simultaneous bidding is its own problem. Professional auctions would have an auctioneer empowered to break any timing ties by recognizing who he considers the first of the bidders. In a game, there may not be an unbiased auctioneer. So a common process I have seen in other games and often used in Monopoly is clockwise ordering. In Monopoly, I would start with the left of the current player. Players can bid or pass. Bid is not won until all other players pass. Note a play can pass in one round, and then jump back in the bidding later.
– Lee
Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 15:28

Let the auctioneer run the auction. The Official Rules don't specify an auctioneer, but the least conflict of interest, on average, probably arises from having the player who landed on the property, and declined to buy, be the auctioneer. Then run the auction as a proper New York auction - the type everyone is familiar with from movies and TV.

It is the auctioneer's responsibility to set a minimum price by asking if anyone will bid \$X (any amount made up by the auctioneer). If there are no takers at that price the minimum bid request is lowered until an opening bid is successfully solicited (essentially a semi-Dutch Auction). This is commonly done by calling out "Do I hear \$X" three times before adjusting the solicitation. Then the bidding continues until no further bids can be solicited.

After each bid is recognized by the auctioneer, the auctioneer is responsible for soliciting higher bids that are any desired amount above the currently recognized bid. Bids between the currently recognized amount and the solicited bid amount can only be made once the auctioneer calls out "Going once at \$Y. ... Going twice at \$Y. ... Going thrice at \$Y and SOLD for \$Y." A valid intervening bid amount is only valid between utterance of the first "Going" and the "SOLD".

Running the auction as a proper New York Auction allows the auctioneer discretion to run the auction efficiently, so the game is not unduly slowed, without introducing any artificial constraints on the valid bid amounts.

• "I don't want to pay full price, so I'll try to buy it on auction for cheap" sounds like a significant conflict of interest to me. Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 4:49
• @goldPseudo: Correct -when it occurs; but how often is that a realistic scenario each game? Everyone else need to be out of cash and fully mortgaged before that is a likely circumstance, and it risks not getting the property - a losing strategy in the long run. Do you have a better guideline in mind? I am open to suggestions. Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 4:50
• I find myself auctioning a property I land on once or twice per game, typically one of the few remaining properties of less strategic value. The property is not worth listed price for me, but at least worth its mortgage value. At this point in the game it is typical for available funds into property development, so everyone may have little cash on hand. Mostly these are three player games so they start with a little less total cash.
– Lee
Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 14:56

The newest standard edition (post 2008) rules say:

Auctions

If you land on an unowned Street, Railroad, or Utility and you don’t want to buy it, the Banker must auction it.

1. The Banker starts the auction by offering the space to everyone for M\$10.

2. Anyone can increase the bid by as little as M\$1 (even the Banker and the player who originally landed on the space).

3. The highest bidder wins the auction, pays the Bank, and takes the Title Deed card.

What if no one wants it? That’s fine. No one pays anything.

• Intent of the auction rule is to insure each property is sold as it is landed on. I always want any property if I can get it for less than the mortgage amount.
– Lee
Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 18:26

There is no official rule on this so only home rules can be suggested. Assuming that money isn't rare amongst the bidding players, the starting bid should be 50% of the face value of the property as you could simply mortgage the property immediately & get 50% of the face value in cash right back from the bank. Bids can then go up by any increment of \$1 but the impatient bidding player simply has to increase the increments to end their agony. If money is rare amongst the bidding players then the starting bid should be whatever the amount of money that the player with the least amount of money has in hand. When money is rare, you can mortgage previously owned properties to get the money to pay your bid but you cannot rely on the money gained by mortgaging the property that you are bidding on as you must own the property before mortgaging it and you must win the bid before owning it.

• The question does not ask for recommendation of an auction method, so your response does not answer it, which is whether minimum bid rules make auctions faster.
– Nij
Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 5:42

Note: this is an old answer. I now recommend a 10% increment rule: any new bid must be at least 10% higher than current high bid. This is simple and enough to keep the bidding from dragging on and on. Been playing this way with my sons and need to help my 1st grader by announcing the next allowable bid.

The house rule I have come up with is that the minimum bid increment must be:
1. At least 1% of the current bid (round up) AND
2. At least 50% of previous bid increment.

Here is an example aution of a railroad under these rules
A: \$100
B: \$101 (minimum based on #1)
C: \$103 (minimum based on #1)
A: \$203 delta \$100
C: \$253 delta \$50 (minimum based on #2)
A: \$280 delta \$27
C: \$294 delta \$14 (minimum based on #2)
A: \$301 delta \$7 (minimum based on #2)

• How well does this work during actual play? Seems like a high potential to stall for a bit whilst figuring out the next minimum bid occasionally. Commented Feb 10, 2011 at 20:41
• Is this based on a similar practice in real auctions? I'm curious if you just came up with the rules out of the blue (not necessarily a bad thing BTW) or if you're re-purposing guidelines from somewhere else. Commented Feb 10, 2011 at 21:35
• Basically these rules come from a mixing of the eBay rules (#1) and a diluted version of poker min raising rules (#2). Rule a little more complicated than ideal, but the auctioneer can keep things moving with a "Do I hear [min bid]?" call.
– Lee
Commented Feb 11, 2011 at 15:19
• The 50% previous increment allows someone to close off the auction by making a big jump. e.g. for a property with nominal value \$150 someone opens with \$1, someone else jumps to \$150, and anyone else is then forced to 1.5x the nominal value. And it doesn't work for simultaneous bids either: if two people bid \$150 simultaneously, how do you decide which one gets it? Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 12:23