For the last few years, it has been a buyer's market. Low interest rates and home prices gave buyers the undeniable advantage. Sellers on the other hand, struggled to get top dollar for their non-distressed homes, often selling at a loss or having their homes sit on the markets for months and months.
Frustrated by the slow and sometimes unfruitful process of selling their homes the traditional way, more homeowners have taken to selling their homes in a rather unconventional way: at auction.
Why sellers choose auctions
"We launched a special individual home sellers division in January 2012 because of the growing interest among sellers in the auction method," says Fontana Fitzwilson, executive vice president of Williams, Williams and McKissick, a real estate auction company in Tulsa, Okla. "The number one reason sellers like auctions is that they offer a time-definite method of sale."
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In addition to appealing to homeowners who need to sell by a specific date, Fitzwilson says auctions also appeal to out-of-state family members who have inherited homes.
Stephen Karbelk, co-chairman and founder of AmeriBid, another real estate auction company in Tulsa, Okla., says the rising number of individual auction sales is also a function of financially savvy sellers.
"Sophisticated sellers understand the cost of carrying a property," says Karbelk. "Auction marketing offers a way to get your home in front of more people and forces people to make a bid by a certain date."
And it's not just distressed properties that are selling at auctions these days. Jennifer Leuer, senior vice president of Auction.com in Irvine, Calif., says non-distressed property auctions have become more popular this year because sellers like the transparency of the process.
"Sellers know they're getting preapproved buyers and non-contingent contracts," she says. "They also know they're getting the true market value for their property."