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Auctions appeal to more PA sellers

By: Kim Shindle on in

More Pennsylvania homeowners are considering auctions as a means to sell their houses.

After attending a residential home auction for the first time, REALTOR® Christian Saunders of Lewith and Freeman in Clarks Summit said, “I couldn’t believe how cut and dried the process was. It was so effective and both the seller and buyer were happy. I saw how helpful auctions can be to my clients. Now that we’re in a distressed market, auctions are especially helpful.”

Saunders has since become licensed as an auctioneer and shifted the focus of his real estate business to auctions.

Auctions are appealing because they set a definite time for the sale. Because the property will be sold on this date, it creates a tremendous sense of urgency, he said.

“Owners with equity or banks that want to get their money back want to get the property sold. Reducing the price doesn’t always help. Many times auctioning will help sell the property faster and for fair market value,” he said.

Sherman Hostetter, owner of Hostetter Auctions and a real estate broker in Beaver Falls, has seen the demand for residential real estate auctions increase over the last five years. The National Association of Auctioneers has seen gross revenue from residential and land/agricultural real estate auctions increase for the past six years. It estimates that $58.6 billion in real estate was sold at live-auction in the U.S. in 2008.

“Auctions aren’t geared for every property but for the right property, an auction works. It’s much easier to sell a property ‘as is’ at an auction,” Hostetter said.

Serving south central Pennsylvania, Matt Hurley of Hurley Auctions echoes that the advantage of an auction is the quick turnaround, usually in 30 days, with no contingencies.

Hurley, who’s also a real estate broker, said he’s seen an increase in the number of inquiries from people who want to sell their homes through an auction. “Our sales have remained fairly consistent but we’ve had to turn more people down because their property values are underwater and the auction wouldn’t reach what they owe,” he said.

Hostetter said his company is also seeing more foreclosed properties and bank personnel asking owners to consider an auction to sidestep the foreclosure process.

Saunders added that auction companies can work with listing agents from other companies to help get a property sold fast.  “REALTORS® know the market and we know the auction system so together we can get a property sold fast for current market value,” he concluded.

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