'Dueling' real estate auctions in Ocean City
If you're thinking of buying one of the still-unsold Bahia Vista condos in Ocean City, you've got two real estate auctions to choose from. At exactly the same time.
At 1 p.m. Feb. 27, 11 of the new condos are going on the auction block at the Grand Hotel in Ocean City. Nine others are set for auction at the Loews Annapolis Hotel.
Marshall Auctions -- which is handling the 11-condo event -- dubbed it an "auction war" in a press release.
A variety of Eastern Shore vacation-home builders have turned to auctioneers to move their unsold inventory in the last year, since the housing slump has been particularly rough for anyone selling "discretionary" real estate. But this is the first project I've seen that was split between two auction companies.One of the auction firms offered this explanation:
Marshall Auctions will offer 11 condominiums owned by Spiro Buas, a partner in the development of Bahia Vista. Buas retained ownership of the units after the initial partnership grew contentious and eventually dissolved.
Buas arranged a February 27 auction in Ocean City of his unsold units, but only after his former partners had begun to market a separate auction.
Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co., which is handling the nine-condo auction, says the partners it's representing will let at least four of the units go for a minimum bid of $95,000. Previous asking prices ranged from $680,000 to $790,000, the auctioneer says.
Marshall Auctions -- in a one-upmanship move -- says Buas is offering no minimum bid on at least four of his condos, plus no buyer premium.
I've been to a Max Spann event, and it's worlds away from the dour environment of a courthouse-steps foreclosure auction. Employees wore suits with carnations. A light jazz ensemble warmed up the crowd.
But no one ended up with a minimum-bid steal. The cheapest condo at that August event was bid up from $85,000 to $240,000.So, what do you think: Will an auction war mean deals for buyers?