Thursday, March 26, 2009

On the block, recession style

Joker and I have been quasi-looking at a house that has gone through a really interesting sales process. Essentially, the family that owned it was going through a very messy divorce, the value was under water for whatever reason, they stopped paying their mortgage, and the bank foreclosed in January. Yesterday we witnessed the latest wacky step live and in person: the house was sold through an auction process. It was pretty bizarre.

We arrived about 45 minutes before the auction time, and all sorts of interested parties were wandering around the house and yard. We had to register, which involved filling out some basic information and getting a bright yellow "bid card" in return. Another 30 minutes or so of milling about, and everyone made their way to the driveway, where the auctioneer and his sidekick were waiting. (Two westerners; I'm guessing Texas or Oklahoma.) After reading the perfunctory disclosure information, the auction itself began. It was very authentic, fast-talking and all: "Can I hear two fitty, two fitty. Now three. Two fitty now three now three. Three now three fitty, three now three fitty..." People waved their cards to indicate interest at a given price. Within five, maybe ten, minutes, the house was sold. It felt very surreal, the prospect of making such a major purchasing decision on the spot like that. I've read that this process has become more common during the mortgage crisis, but watching it first-hand was particularly strange.

1 comment:

Toronto Realtor said...

I sure wish I could attend an auction like that. It must be kind of a thrill to "race" all the people to win with the lowest price. Plus the fast talking and all makes it really funny:)

Take care, Julie