Going once! Going twice REO sales activity continues

December 2, 2008
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Auctioned property buyers may be more selective these days, but they’re still buying, said Scott Miedema, president of Miedema Auctioneering.

“People are coming out and buying. I think one of the things that appeals to people is, A, it’s an auction, and B, they have a chance to get a better deal,” said Miedema. “There is still money out there — there’s still people spending money. They’re just much more cautious, and they want a deal when they buy something. They’re not throwing it around like they were before.”

Many of the properties being sold are real-estate-owned homes that simply haven’t gotten offers from listings. An REO property is owned by a lender after an unsuccessful sale at a foreclosure auction.

“We’ve definitely got an increase in REO properties from banks, credit departments,” said Miedema. “Maybe the listing amount is too high. Maybe there is too much money owed on the property and they get to the point where they need to start moving the real estate. We’ve had some that have gone for more than what the original price was and some that have gone for half the original listing price.”

Miedema Auctioneering runs two types of auctions. The first is a live auction where people gather to make their bids. The bidding typically starts between 25 to 50 percent of what the company thinks the property will sell for. Most live auctions have an Internet link for people who want to make bids from their computers, as well.

The second type of auction is an Internet-only auction through the company’s Web site, www.1800lastbid.com. Miedema said the way the site works is similar to eBay where people log on and make bids. One difference, however, is that if a bid is placed in the last 10 minutes of an auction, the auction is extended 10 minutes. This helps control those people who use software programs that “bid snipe” — putting in a bid at the last second, too late for others to respond.

Miedema said commercial and industrial properties, vacant land, recreational properties and investment properties have all gone through the auctions. State property, REO and recreational property have garnered the most attention, while commercial properties have been the toughest.

One thing that buyers have in common these days is that they are more discretionary, said Miedema, but the question of who is buying has a diverse answer.

“(There are) a lot of investment guys — people that have a little bit more money that are going to take advantage of the market, but we still get the individuals, the individual families who are looking for a little bit better deal than the traditional listing. They’re still showing up and buying,” said Miedema.

“We don’t have quite as many buyers as what we had four and five years ago. They probably don’t throw their bids quite as easy, but it still is working.”

He added: “The common perception is that … there’s probably nobody buying. There are still some people buying. It’s not a total wash on the market like some people think. Certain properties (are being bought) more than others, but I think the right word is that people are more cautious or discretionary, because they can be — especially if they have cash.”

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