Vail Valley property auctions bring mixed results |

Vail Valley property auctions bring mixed results

Scott N. MillerVail, CO, Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY – It’s back to the drawing board for Bob Warner.Warner, a longtime Vail Valley developer, put up three homes for auction Saturday. All the homes required a minimum bid. None sold.Meanwhile, a Tuesday auction of a home on Buffehr Creek in Vail brought 17 bidders, and a final sale price of $2.58 million. That auction was advertised as “absolute,” meaning no minimum bids were required. The auctioneer, Val Devine of Grand Estates Auction Company, also sold a two-acre lot at Arrowhead just before it went to auction Tuesday.”It’s a tough market,” Warner said, noting that the famed Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. failed to sell at a recent minimum-bid auction.Warner said he’s obviously not happy with the results of the auction. But, he said, the event has generated a lot of interest in the homes at Arrowhead. And he’s going back to trying to sell the homes through traditional channels.”We’ve had a lot of people looking,” Warner said. “And we’re negotiating with some of them.”While Devine was happy with the results of the Vail home auction – she’s always happy when a willing seller finds a buyer – she said she was less happy with the results of the Arrowhead lot sale.”I really wish I could have sold that one from the podium,” she said. But talking with the two bidders before the auction started resulted in a sale to one of the potential bidders for $3.6 million. That sale also had some strings attached – a 60-day closing date instead of the usual 30, and a contingency that allows the buyer to cancel the deal if he can’t find financing.This week’s auction results didn’t come as a big surprise to Jeff Hathorn, a senior vice president at J.P. King auction company. That company this year has entered into a business agreement with Avon’s Hoffman West Real Estate, but has yet to schedule any auctions.J.P. King mostly does “absolute” auctions, Hathorn said.”In today’s world, that seems to be what works,” he said. “Anything other than that doesn’t seem to have much success.”While the current sluggish real estate market seems to have prompted more interest in local auctions, Hathorn said his company is actually a little less busy than it was in 2007.But Hathorn believes the auction business for high-end real estate may get more mainstream recognition in places like the Vail Valley.”Sellers find that an auction gives them more control over the process,” Hathorn said. “And people in all economic times can find that valuable.”With two auctions done this year, Devine said there are already plans brewing for a third auction this year. While Devine wouldn’t reveal the locations of the single-family homes, the date’s set – Sept. 22. “And yes, they’re both going to sell that day,” she said.Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or

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