I happen to love bidding: I bid to work on projects. I bid to buy merchandise at discount. And I have to admit that I just love that thrill that comes with winning (who doesn’t?). So naturally, when the City’s Department of Economic and Housing Development announced a sale of city-owned properties, I had to be there – to see for the first time this world of property auctions.
Lots of people.
Just as I bid to make money and bid to spend (less) money, at 9am hundreds of current and would-be real estate owners gathered at Symphony Hall, looking to win. I arrived 9:15-ish and the Auctioneer was singing (yes, just like they do on TV) the current prices. He didn’t sing too fast though, which was great.
He would end each property offering by saying “Thank you, start your paperwork, right over there.”
The Oops Files.
Buyer: A woman was overheard speaking on her phone about how she had the wrong type of check; she didn’t know she couldn’t pay the deposit with a personal check.
Me: I should have downloaded the list of properties from the website beforehand. Asking about them on-site got me a less than friendly response about their availability online or for pickup at City Hall before the Auction. But as each one was put up for bid, we could all read about them on the large screen at the front of the room. The pdf listing was already taken down by the time I looked for it with my phone.
Buyer: A gentleman thought he was buying an entire building of condominiums for $40,000…it was really just one…as common sense may have implied. With multi-family houses selling for $150,000 it’s difficult to believe that 50+ apartments would sell for less than a third of that, but the Auctioneer insisted that these mistakes do happen sometimes. The crowd loved it; a one-minute break was needed for laughter before the property (“just ONE condominium”) was resold on the spot for $20,000 (photo in yesterday’s article).
I had a great time at the auction. People buy property this way all the time – for me it was the perfect opportunity to learn about another way to work and win – simultaneously. Buying a property like this is a good idea if you know what you’re doing…and potentially a destructive force if you don’t know what you’re getting into. Overall, I think the main takeaway for everyone should be to continue to explore the options that are right here in front of us.