After a lot of thought, auction will be over quickly

Craig King, president and chief executive officer of J.P. King Auction Co. based in Alabama, said his firm started seeing more interest in auctioning properties even before the downturn in the economy.

"People living in these homes didn't get there by waiting on the market," he said.

Both the prospective buyers and sellers of a multimillion-dollar home at 260 Skycrest Drive in Ashland won't have to wait much longer for the house to change hands.

King's company will hold an auction there on Thursday that King said will be over in five to 15 minutes after the new owner will have plunked down what could be millions of dollars for the property. Tours of the property are offered to prospective buyers until auction day.

King said the auction is quick because the potential buyers know a lot about the house and what they want to spend on it. In addition, his company gives the buyers a primer on the auction process and what to expect.

"All the homework done prior to auction day is part of the fun," he said.

Even though there is no minimum price, King said the people who come to these auctions don't expect to walk away with a house for nothing.

"The buyers of these properties are big-money folks," he said. "The buyers will be qualified and they will be realistic."

Qualified brokers are also welcome at the auction and can get up to a 3 percent commission.

Once the bid is accepted, a 10 percent buyer's premium is added to the price, which will have to be paid by the purchaser.

At car auctions, many of the bidders get some coaxing from so-called bidder assistants, sometimes creating a frenzied feeling.

King said it's a little more low-key during his company's auctions, though bidder assistants are there to help out. He said they will respond to questions and ask the bidder if they want to continue.

"If there is a bidder and he needs another minute, that's OK," he said.

Over the years, King said he has seen houses go for everything from top dollar to "pretty nice discounts" during the auction process.

Even so, King predicted it will be bought for a good price. "It'll sell cheaper at this auction than it will ever sell again," he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com.

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