Vail Valley Realtors join with national auction company |

Vail Valley Realtors join with national auction company

Scott N. MillerVail, CO, Colorado

A January real estate auction got Vail Valley Realtors Bob West and Terry Hoffman thinking about new ways of doing business.In deepest month so far of the valleys real estate sales slowdown, a Beaver Creek condo and a home at Arrowhead were both sold in minutes at auction after being on the market for months.The partners and owners of Hoffman-West Real Estate recently entered a partnership with J.P. King, an Alabama-based auction company that sells high-end property all over the world.Were happy to be allied with a very professional auction company, West said. We researched, and studied a lot and determined that J.P. King is the best in the business.Real estate brokers and auction companies arent always the best of friends, but Hoffman-West isnt the only local company getting into the business. Slifer, Smith & Frampton, the valleys biggest real estate company, recently announced it was creating an auction division.Sometimes you have to shift the paradigm, West said. I think real estate auctions will become more established as a standard of the business.But, Hoffman said, auctions arent for everybody. Working with a broker can help a potential seller make that decision.Jeff Hathorn, a senior vice president at J.P. King, agreed that not every property is worthy of an auction. Needless to say, though, hes quick to point out the advantages to both buyers and sellers.In slow times, an auction creates excitement, Hathorn said. It will turn you into a buyer, he said.Auctions also put sellers in control of the process, Hathorn said. They know that their property will sell on auction day, after 60 to 90 days of marketing. Whats left to chance, of course, is the price.The price is always controlled by the buyers, Hathorn said. Theyre competing for ownership, and determining the propertys maximum value on that day.That can result in property selling for less than the asking price through a broker, as it did in the January auction.In good times, though, Hathorn said the excitement of an auction can get bidders to bid more than the advertised price.Thats when auctions can set record prices, West said.So, what does an auction do for brokers?Hathorn said brokers can get a referral fee for bringing either buyers or sellers to the auction.For the auction company, working with a local real estate company can help with marketing and general local knowledge, Hoffman said.Hathorn also sees auctions as a way to help create more demand for real estate by reducing supply.It could help clean up the market, he said. It will get property off the market so other units can sell.Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or

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