Santa Clara holds real estate auction

July 27, 2010 12:31:47 AM PDT
On Monday night, people were buying homes for half of their previous value at a real estate auction in Santa Clara. It was a quick way for banks to unload foreclosed properties and is also a sign the real estate crisis is far from over.

Javier Chavez came to the Santa Clara Convention Center with his eye on two properties in Oakland; one was a four bedroom, two bath and the other was a two bedroom, one bath.

This real estate auction, put on by Real Estate Disposition Corporation, attracts all types from investors to people like Chavez who are looking to buy a home to live in.

"From brothers and nephews, we borrow all the way to $110,000 cash," said Chavez.

These auctions have been taking place regularly for the past three years and while the number of foreclosed homes to be auctioned off has gone down since then, there's still plenty to go around. Monday night, there were 100 homes are up for grabs.

It is a figure not too surprising considering that in the U.S., about 13 percent of households with a mortgage have either missed at least one payment or are in foreclosure.

"There's still the shadow inventory and it's really all working through the pipeline, it's all working the bad loans out of the process," said REDC executive vice president Walter Skrzynski.

The anticipation of snatching a foreclosed home wasn't just felt in the room, but in the neighborhoods as well. People who live next to the vacant properties are eager to see them cared for once again.

"I would like somebody that's stable move into it. We've been dealing with transients and people coming and going and rather unscrupulous activity going on," said neighbor Ralph Wigginton.

About 25 properties were sold an hour. Some transactions were cash only and others were financed.

One Livermore duplex, previously valued at $780,000, sold for $345,000 and another house in Oakland, previously valued at $821,000, sold for 350,000. As for Chavez, he got outbid but he says he'll be better prepared next time.

"I just learned a lot of experience tonight," said Javier Chavez. And when asked what he learned from this event, he said he learned he had to bring more money.


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