Home auction offers big deals for Bay Area buyers

PINOLE, Calif.

One home in Pinole that ABC7 visited is typical of those that will be auctioned at the Marriott in Oakland. It didn't sell through a regular listing or at a prior auction. The folks who are running the event say it's a great opportunity for the public to find some good bargains, but there are some pitfalls.

A three-bedroom house in Oakland, on Veteran's Way, was once valued at $700,000. Now, the starting bid is $169,000. It's just one example of the 150 bank-owned properties to be sold Saturday in an auction at the Downtown Marriott.

"The properties here come with either a marketable or insurable title. Everybody's already been through the entire foreclosure process," said Trent Ferris from Auction.com.

Auction.com claims its events are much different from the foreclosure auctions that commonly occur on the courthouse steps. Those events are often dominated by professional investors.

When asked if this was a chance for a regular person to buy a house, Ferris replied, "That's the wonderful thing about this opportunity. You'll see everybody from an investor to a first-time homebuyer, folks looking to move up or down, depending on their financial situation."

Realtor Rebecca Williams is the listing agent for a bank-owned home in Pinole on Colusa Street. That house was once valued at $450,000, is 2,500 square feet, and the starting bid will be $99,000. However, no one expects the homes to be sold at the starting bid prices.

When asked if going through the Auction.com process was a good place to get a house, Williams said, "I think it's a wonderful opportunity for buyers, I do. It's an opportunity for them to participate in the auction and to get a wonderful home at a great value."

"There's an undisclosed amount of money that the bank will accept," said Oakland realtor Tracy McKendell.

McKendell warns prospective buyers public auctions aren't always as they appear.

"What people don't realize as their bidding, they have no idea what this bid number is. So even if you win the bid, win the auction, doesn't necessarily mean that you get to purchase the property. And I believe it's disclosed that the auctioneer is representing the bank, trying to move the price up to whatever that minimum reserve is," said McKendell.

So does the auctioneer bid on behalf of the bank against the bidders?

"The auctioneer can bid on behalf of the seller and again, the terms and conditions outline how that works," said Ferris.

The terms on and conditions are on the Auction.com website, along with details about Saturday's event in Oakland. It is highly advised that first-timers take the opportunity on the website to participate in a mock auction.

Saturday, July 16, 2011 Home Auction Information:
The website is Auction.com

Here are the latest foreclosure trends: Foreclosureradar.com

For those who wish to contact either of the realtors in our story:

Rebecca Williams
Diablo View
(925) 216-8082

Tracy Tilin McKendell
Highland Partners
(510) 823-6744

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