New course helps Realtors join forces with auctioneers

January 12, 2009|By JIM WOODARD / Creators Syndicate

Selling homes via auctions is the most rapidly growing technique for marketing residential real estate. For the first time, the nation's top real estate brokerage association is teaming with the top auctioning organization to launch a new auctioning online course for Realtors.

It wasn't too long ago when Realtors viewed auctioneers as their competitors. A broker earned his commission by listing, marketing and selling properties in the conventional manner. Like other aspects of today's tight market, Realtor-auctioneer relationships have changed dramatically.

At a time when it often takes many months to find a buyer and consummate the sale of a home, the idea of auctioning it in a few minutes (9 to 12 minutes on average) is very appealing to an increasing number of home owners-sellers. Apparently, Realtors have finally subscribed to the old adage, "if you can't fight them, join them."

The National Association of Realtors and the National Auctioneers Association jointly developed the new online course, "Introduction to Real Estate Auction."


"Realtors add value to the real estate sales process with their expertise in managing complex real estate transactions, and auctions are not exceptions," said NAR president Dick Gaylord. "More real estate is sold by auctions every year, and Realtors are there to help both buyers and sellers navigate the auction process."

In the past, most auctioned homes were very unique, making them difficult to appraise and sell on the open market. Today, home sales that are closed with the clap of an auctioneer's gavel include fixer-uppers or homes in foreclosure -- a wide variety of home types and seller situations.

The residential real estate auction sector alone generated about $17 billion last year, up by 5.3 percent from the previous year, according to a report from NAA.

The new course is designed to help Realtors provide auction methods to their clients, while generating income for themselves. Realtor services include offering potential properties and prospective buyers/bidders for auctions, marketing properties for auction and partnering with auction firms.

For more information about the new auction course, visit:

Q: Does it make more sense to buy rather than rent a home?

A: It's more affordable to buy a home than to rent one in more than half of the nation's major metro areas. Of the 100 most populous areas, 57 of the locations have higher three-bedroom rental costs compared to the cost of maintaining a 6 percent interest rate mortgage for a typical lower-priced three-bedroom home, according to a study and report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

In many cases, the study showed that people renting two-bedroom apartments would be better off buying a low-priced home, thus enjoying all the added benefits that go with homeownership. The number of markets throughout the country that fall into this category is steadily growing. Lower mortgage rates and the current large inventory of homes are motivating more people to make the transition from renting to buying their residences. Increasingly, it makes good financial sense.

Q: Where are the most and least luxurious homes in the U.S.?

A: The most luxurious residence in the country is coincidentally located just a few miles north of the most non-luxurious home. They are both found along the Pacific Coast Highway in California's central coast area.

The famous Hearst Castle in San Simeon, Calif., is undoubtedly the most luxurious. It was the home of William Randolph Hearst, head of a newspaper empire. His estate, completed in 1947, includes 165 rooms, 41 fireplaces, 56 bedrooms and 61 bathrooms. The property covers 127 acres on a rugged mountainside facing the ocean. Millions of people have participated in tours of the extravagant home.

When Hearst was first considering the development of his lavish estate, he commented, "I'm a bit tired of camping out in tents at the ranch in San Simeon. I think I'll build a little something on the mountain." It's amazing what can be done with a lot of money and influence.

Six miles down the Pacific Coast Highway in Cambria, a local trash hauler named Art Beal took construction materials scavenged from the Hearst Estate to build his unique three-level residence. He also used a variety of materials obtained during his trash-hauling assignments. He hated to throw anything of the least value away -- items that could be utilized in the construction of his hillside home.

Beer cans, car parts, toilet fixtures and other unlikely oddities created the Nitt Witt Ridge house, certainly one of the most unconventional homes in the nation. Beal, of Irish and Native American parentage, lived most of his childhood in orphanages. He started his long-term construction project in 1928; it's now a Historic Monument Property.

Beal once commented, "I built this house with two helpers, Mother Earth and Dame Nature."

A few years ago, the property was purchased by Mike and Stacey O'Malley, who undertook a major restoration project. The couple now gives tours of the home. Call 805-927-2690 for more information.

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