Federal thrift regulators will auction off more than 100 properties in the first Baltimore-Washington area auctions sponsored by the Resolution Trust Corp.
The RTC auctions are set for April 29 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va., May 1 at the Holiday Inn near Baltimore-Washington International Airport and May 2 at the Holiday Inn in Silver Spring.
But if you expect to pay $5 and come away the owner of a bankrupt resort, guess again.
Most of the assets on the block are more modest. In Baltimore, the choices range from a four-bedroom condominium on the waterfront at Canton Cove to small apartment buildings and condominiums on residential strips in West Baltimore such as Cold Spring Lane and Liberty Heights Avenue.
Many properties are designated as affordable housing, and buyers are required to have annual incomes below $35,000 for a single person or $50,050 for a family of four.
Some small commercial properties will be sold, including several former bank branches in the Washington area.
The properties might not be glamorous, but many of them will be available to the highest bidder with no minimum bid, RTC spokeswoman Andrea Plater said.
"Auctions have become the usual method of disposing of property," said Ms. Plater, an Atlanta-based official of the federal agency, which was charged in 1989 with liquidating thrift institutions seized by the government.
"It's a more cost-effective method of marketing the property, because we reach a wider audience and we don't have to carry the property over a long period of time," which saves the RTC money, she said.
But the agency uses public auctions mostly to get rid of ordinary assets such as houses and small-scale commercial properties, Ms. Plater said.
"Some of the specialized assets -- like the CenTrust Tower we sold in Miami -- are marketed differently," Ms. Plater said. "They're marketed to a more specialized audience."
The assets to be sold at the three upcoming auctions came from Maryland thrifts, including Baltimore Federal Financial and First Federal Savings Bank of Annapolis, and failed Virginia institutions such as Perpetual Savings Bank of Vienna and TrustBank Federal Savings Bank of Tysons Corner.
The RTC has held more than 80 auctions in its Eastern Region, which stretches from Maine to Florida, during the past two years, Ms. Plater said.
The agency has recovered an average of two-thirds of the outstanding debt on the properties through the sales, she said.