High-end Vail-area homes find buyers " at auction | AspenTimes.com

High-end Vail-area homes find buyers " at auction

Scott N. Miller
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colo. ” If you want to know what something’s worth, put it up for auction.

Val DeVine, owner and founder of Grand Estates Auction, has built a business on that premise. And it seems to work, for her, sellers and buyers.

In the slowest real estate market in years, DeVine sold two high-end properties Tuesday, a condo at Beaver Creek and a single-family home at Arrowhead. A total of 41 buyers turned out for the two auctions.

“That means there are 39 buyers out there today ready to buy,” DeVine said.

DeVine’s been in the business of auctioning high-end property for the last decade, so she’s seen a couple of dips and the huge run-up in the market that only ended, locally, in the last year or so. She says she’s been busy in both good times and bad.

“We were getting more than the listing price then,” DeVine said.

In the Tuesday auctions, the Beaver Creek condo ” at The Landings project ” sold for just less than $1.7 million. It had been purchased a few years ago for just less than $2 million. The Arrowhead home, on Cresta Road, sold for just less than $2.6 million. It had been listed for $3.2 million.

DeVine said neither home was “financially distressed,” real estate jargon for missed payments or looming foreclosure. The seller, she said, just wanted to get the units sold.

“But he got out whole,” DeVine said. “He was able to pay off the mortgages, pay the commissions and other costs.”

Local real estate broker Bob West attended both auctions, and liked what he saw.

“They had a great attendance,” West said. “It brought everybody who’s a suspect to the table. There really are buyers out there.”

While West said the buyers Tuesday made “extraordinarily good” buys, DeVine said the homes were far from bargains.

“The seller got what the current market is,” DeVine said. “This establishes where the current market is.”

So why auction a property?

As far as DeVine’s concerned, it’s a no-brainer.

“I tell people that being listed is for practice and auctions are for selling,” she said. “When you really want to sell, you put it up for auction.”

Auctions, DeVine said, are good for sellers, in that they can get a real estate deal wrapped up quickly. They also are more likely to draw buyers who know a piece of property is going to sell that day.

“You don’t come off the ski hill just for a listing,” she said. “But you will come off the hill for an auction.”

West, co-owner of Hoffman-West Real Estate, would beg to differ on the value of using a real estate broker to sell property, of course. But, he said, Tuesday’s auctions did help establish just what high-end property is worth these days.

And, he added, it brought buyers to the market ” buyers who could be interested in other property, if the price is right.

For sellers, DeVine said another Vail-area auction is scheduled for the last week of March.

“If you want in, call now,” she said. “I tell people we need 10 to 12 weeks to have a place ready.”


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