Homes go to highest bidders

On Feb. 21, a house in the Sanctuary subdivision will be going, going and gone.

At least that is the plan of the owners of the home at 1112 Steamboat Blvd. They have chosen to use an absolute auction to sell their 4,600-square-foot, fully furnished home.

What: Absolute auction

When: 1 p.m. Feb. 21

Where: 1112 Steamboat Blvd.

Those bidding will we required to pay 10 percent on auction day and must have $100,000 in certified funds to bid. The property is available for daily viewing, by appointment, beginning Feb. 16.

Call: 1-800-650-8720

An absolute auction means there is no reserve price and that the home could sell for less than the $1.55 million Denver investment banker Kit Phillips paid for it.

The absolute auction is a selling option rarely used in Steamboat Springs, said Doug Labor, broker owner of Buyers Resource Real Estate.

"Because of it being a seller's market, usually properties that are placed pretty well will sell," Labor said.

An absolute auction is a good way to sell property quickly, but there are a combination of potential risks and benefits for the buyer and seller. Sometimes, a buyer will get a good deal, but there can be a lot of emotions at an auction, and buyers need to make sure they do their homework to avoid making rash decisions, Labor said.

"I think people need to have professional guidance and ex----pertise," Labor said.

Phillip's son, Christopher, said the family acquired the home last year to settle the sale of a fractional ownership club that had owned the house.

The house has most of the amenities you would expect to find in a million-dollar vacation home. It has four bedrooms, an in-ground hot tub and views of the Sheraton Steamboat Golf Club. It's fully furnished, too, meaning even the board games go to the buyer.

The Phillipses decided to sell the home and use the proceeds to fund other investments, Christopher Phillips said.

He said they talked to about four brokers about selling the home and were not impressed with what they offered.

"We didn't just want them to list it and put it on the market and wait for someone to knock on their door," Phillips said. The house was not officially listed, Phillips said, but they received one offer that was slightly lower than the $1.55 million they paid. They thought they could get more and did not want to wait.

"We've seen properties on the market for months and years, and we didn't want to go through that," Phillips said. "We know that on Feb. 21, it will be sold."

They may have good reason for thinking it could take awhile to sell the home using more conventional methods.

The 4,900-square-foot house that shares a driveway with the Phillips' home has been on the market more than two years. It is listed at $1,732,000.

In 2005, 25 single-family homes in Steamboat were sold for between $1 million and $2 million, Labor said. The time it took to sell those homes varied from nine to 900 days.

The Phillipses contracted with the National Auction Group of Gadsden, Ala., to plan and run the auction. In 2004, the company sold a ranch in Meeker to golfer Greg Norman for $16 million. Some advertising has been placed locally, and the company is tying to solicit interest from outside Colorado. Direct mail pieces have been sent out, and the auction is being advertised in The Wall Street Journal.

William Bone, the auction company's president, said he wishes he could say billionaires from Manhattan, Miami and Los Angeles were calling about the property. Although 40 people have expressed interest in the home, Bone said he is a little worried.

A few calls came from people in Denver, but most of the interest is from people in Steamboat, Bone said.

"It usually just comes down to who shows up with the cashiers checks," Bone said. Bidders need to bring $100,000 in certified funds and be prepared to pay 10 percent on top of the winning bid to pay the auction company.

Phillips, however, is confident that as long as it is advertised and marketed correctly, a guaranteed auction is a natural way to find out what the market value is.

"I think this or something like this -- either through the Internet or in a live auction -- is the way of the future," Phillips said.

Another absolute auction is March 18 at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel. Bidders will choose from more than 200 fractional-share condominium units and 30 whole condominium units.

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