When general contractor Tom Dover finished a luxury spec home on Blazemark Trail for Will Bashan of WB Real Estate last fall, Bashan knew the ground had shifted under his feet during the construction period.
"It's been two years since we started construction, and the world was a lot different : two years ago," Bashan said. "It was a different place six months ago."
In an effort to tap into a different marketing approach in a different kind of market, Bashan has retained the Redfield Group auction house of Rainbow City, Ala., to offer the 8,000-square-foot house at auction Feb. 17. In fact, Bashan will attempt to sell two homes that day - the Blazemark home and the 6,500-square-foot home he and his family are living in Dakota Ridge.
The Blazemark home sits on 21 acres on Routt County Road 14. The lot includes about 300 feet of Yampa River frontage opposite Bald Eagle Lake. The house itself sits on the west side of the county road.
Bashan said his decision to offer both homes at auction shouldn't be misinterpreted.
"It's not a distress sale by any means," Bashan said. "I have the good fortune to own two really nice homes. The Blazemark home is the primary impetus for the auction, if by chance the one I'm living in sells, I can move into the other, and if they both sell, I have another piece of development ground" to build on.
Bashan said he has sold more than a dozen properties in the Steamboat market via more traditional means. In this case, he said he felt Redfield's track record in reaching outside the typical pool of buyers for a particular market, was something he needed to tap into.
"In my other sales, we waited for the buyer to come to us from a pool of people who already had a connection to Steamboat," he said. "I thought, 'This is a different market, maybe I should try something different.'"
Redfield Project Manager Don Boozer said his company's clients are usually attracted by the possibility of compressing the work and money that goes into an extended real estate marketing campaign into one that has the potential to bring finality by a fixed date.
Bashan said Redfield has placed an ad in the Wall Street Journal and soon will begin advertising in Inc., Ski and even the entertainment industry trade publication, Variety, to tap into potential buyers in Hollywood.
Boozer said the auction process Bashan has chosen is known as a confirmation auction. That means it is not an absolute auction - one in which the seller agrees to sell at any price, nor is it a reserve auction, where the seller sets a minimum price he will accept. Instead, Bashan retains the right to accept or reject the offer of the highest bidder.
Bashan said it's important to him that Redfield is a real estate company that will pay a 3 percent commission to a local Realtor, for example, who brings the successful bidder to the auction. He added that Redfield, like other auction houses, would collect a commission in the range of 4 to 7 percent, depending on who brings the buyer.
Boozer said his company, which has scheduled auction of a luxury Sun Valley, Idaho, home after the Steamboat event in February, does not view ski resort real estate markets in the way that it views the troubled housing markets in some major U.S. cities.
"We don't see vultures circling over the ski areas," Boozer said. "I know there are investors that are looking for (distressed) property. However, we don't see the Steamboat market being affected to the state that other cities are. This isn't San Diego or Las Vegas or South Florida."
He expects the buyer for Bashan's property to be a user - someone who will possess and enjoy the property.
The minimum bid for the Blazemark house is $1 million, but Bashan said he expects the bidding to move up from that level, and still provide the buyer with an attractive purchase.
"We expect the person who buys the house will get a very, very good deal," Bashan said. "If someone thinks they are going to get an 8,000-squarefoot house on 23 acres for $1 million, it's not going to happen. I know what I have in the house, and I know what an acceptable return is."
How does he think auction day will go?
"I'm as curious as you are," Bashan said.
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