Homeowners opt for auction in four-day, multistate sale

November 06, 1994|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Sun Staff Writer

If your home hasn't sold after months or even years, don't despair, says Gloria Lynn Gardner. Put it on the block.

Owners of $100 million worth of property in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and three other states have taken that advice. They've put 104 single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums and undeveloped lots up for auction in hopes of selling fast at a four-day, caravan-style sale starting this Friday.

Most are individual homeowners fed up with a slowdown in home sales. Others are just getting ready to sell and don't want to wait, said Ms. Gardner, corporate auctioneer for Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.

"Most [sellers] have just become frustrated," Ms. Gardner said. "The economy has failed us all. They're excited about a new way to sell. Auction is not distress any more."

PTC The company, running its first large-scale, mass sale since starting an in-house auction department this year, expects most properties to sell. Typically, 80 percent of properties sell at such auctions, Ms. Gardner said.

This is a good deal for sellers, whose properties have been

promoted for the past week through a multimedia advertising blitz, prompting 4,000 callers to request information in just one day, Ms. Gardner said. Already, a buyer signed a contract with one homeowner who has been trying to sell for two years, she said.

Sellers pay a $750 fee plus 6 percent real estate commission.

About a quarter of the properties are in Maryland, with others in Washington, Virginia, Delaware and West Virginia. Most homes have minimum opening bids, ranging from $26,000 for a rowhouse in Baltimore to $700,000 for a mansion in Chester.

Others in the Baltimore region include a waterfront home, starting at $230,000, in Pasadena; a custom-built home, starting at $399,000, in Woodstock; a home for $295,000 in Westminster; a custom-built home for $495,000 in Baltimore County; a home for $270,000 in Lutherville and another for $199,000 in Baltimore City.

Long & Foster gathered the properties in less than a month, Ms. Gardner said.

Set opening bids typically fall 25 percent below market price, Ms. Gardner said. Even with competitive bidding driving prices up, buyers can expect to pay less than market price, she said.

Auctions, run by four teams of auctioneers, will take place at scheduled times in front of each property.

Bidders must register and have $2,000 available in cash, check or money order -- $5,000 for commercial property -- on hand. A 5 percent deposit is required of the winning bidder.

Potential bidders can tour properties by appointment or during open houses scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. this Tuesday.

Long & Foster has set up a hot line -- 1 (800) 562-7766 -- for auction schedules and information on specific properties.

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