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Global Real Estate Malaise?

“For sale” signs up for months. Or years.

“Asking prices” too high. Or low.

“No one” seems that motivated. Or will act.

The New York Times “Modern Love” column recently celebrated ten years and its editor noted he’d seen people wrestling with two questions above all others over that time. From the young, “How do I find love?” And from those wallowing through marital malaise, “How do I get it back?” He went on to note “it’s not really love they want back as much as attention, excitement and passion.”

I believe this observation cuts to the heart of global real estate markets too. For all the supposed cures to real estate market blues, there still seems a general malaise in place. From the building of empty cities (China) to the printing of currencies (everyone?!) people seem to sense there’s an unsustainable blight or “wasting” of resources and degrading of values. And the increasing uncertainty and opacity – from what governments will do next to what public market stock values are really based upon – seems set up to doom us from one bubble to another.

Bottom line, whether you are Greek or Chinese, French or American – real estate markets especially seem to be getting ever murkier as to what is really for sale, when or how it actually will be exchanged, or what in the world it might actually be worth.

We, as well as the thousands of real estate agent partners we work with around the U.S., have long known that for every “good” real estate story told at dinner parties, there are dozens of traditional sale efforts that didn’t quite work out as planned. The asking prices used ended up being too high, or too low. The negotiations entered into seemed endless or gamey. The attempted sale of the property privately or via new-fangled online marketing attempts, failed time and again to close. Or they simply received no offers for months or maybe even years on end. And reputations, especially that of the property, become tattered.

Our company gets calls from all types of property sellers and their agents every day. Many have used us before, especially for farms, ranches and luxury estates – and so plan on going direct to the public markets through our onsite and interactive auctions. They’re typically concerned about wasting any time or money on speculative market guessing or “online only” attempts at marketing.

But we also get calls from sellers who have never thought about live auctions before, and their stories are troubling. Beyond all the headlines about foreclosures and short sales these last several years, most sellers do in fact have very real equity in their properties. But trying to unlock that value so they can move, reinvest or simply get on with their life seems to be a path to quiet desperation for more and more people.

Below is the marketing history for a typical new client who calls us for help. I wish I could say this is an extreme example but many sellers who call us have in fact tried for far longer – and at far greater financial loss and emotional strain – to get their own property sold.


Price History Blog Graphic - r1


Was the property above overpriced two years ago at nearly $1.5 million? Or is it underpriced today at just below $900,000? Has the over two years on market cost the seller anything or hurt the property’s reputation in any way? And rather than speculate, what was or could have been the property’s real net present value two years ago, or even just last year?

From my own experience, but for having gone direct to public market auction in the beginning, a lot of loss in dollars and cents – not to mention immeasurable costs to hopes, dreams and other needs – could have been saved.

Since the latest real estate bubble burst, things seem different. More and more sellers appear to be like deer in headlights while more and more properties also lie underutilized, vacant or simply abandoned. And more and more potential buyers also seem frustrated, confused or simply angry with the status quo.

Thankfully, buyers at our own auctions remain excited that they’re openly invited with time and term certainness to watch, bid and win; as they get to exchange and determine value more transparently whether in person or online.

This makes sense to me. Without a date, how – much less when – will we pay enough attention to a property’s sale? And the one thing we hear most consistently from everyone who attends our auctions is how exciting they are – not something you hear about real estate generally. And for the highest bidders – the ones who zero in and sense this is the deal for them – it’s fair to say passion is even involved.

If we are to move through any malaise in real estate, not to mention our economy, I think we’ll need and want more, not less, onsite and public auctions. At minimum, there still seems to be enough respect for property that the inherent value of onsite public market auctions creates a “market” for real estate that works. That’s the good news for all of us concerned with moving forward, making a difference or simply – selling and buying real estate.




Long & Foster Partners with Williams & Williams for Real Estate Auctions


The Long & Foster Companies, the parent company of Long & Foster Real Estate—the No. 1 independent residential real estate company in the country, has partnered with Williams & Williams Worldwide Real Estate Auction. The strategic alliance presents Long & Foster clients with the option of selling their homes via live and online auctions—a growing avenue for properties of all price ranges, including high-end and luxury homes.

Williams & Williams is one of the most respected brands in real estate auction with over 100 years of experience. Its auctioneers specialize in all types of real estate, including residential, commercial, land and real-estate owned (REO) properties, and have sold more than $7.5 billion worth of real estate over the past five years. The company credits its success to the customized global marketing strategies it employs to drive interest and competition for properties sold through its live on-site auctions and Auction Network online auctions.

“We are excited to be working with Williams & Williams and their team of experienced real estate auctioneers,” said Pandra Richie, president of Long & Foster’s Corporate Real Estate Services. “Their proven performance and history of achievement were key in our decision to partner with Williams & Williams, and we look forward to a long and successful relationship as we grow and move into the future.”

Going forward, clients who list their properties with Long & Foster will have the option of auctioning their homes in partnership with Williams & Williams. During the home sale, clients will work hand-in-hand with both their Long & Foster Realtor and representatives from Williams & Williams, who will provide added support in both marketing and advertising properties.

“At Long & Foster, our real estate agents are dedicated to helping their buyers and sellers through a successful real estate transaction, and the addition of Williams & Williams auction services provides our team with one more way to support our clients and help them achieve their real estate goals,” said Larry “Boomer” Foster and Gary Scott, presidents of Long & Foster Real Estate. “We’re confident that with our team’s real estate expertise and the additional backing of Williams & Williams, we’ll be even better positioned to serve home buyers and sellers throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.”

Fontana Fitzwilson, EVP of sales at Williams & Williams, echoed their enthusiasm for the partnership. “Our team at Williams & Williams is excited to work with Long & Foster and its real estate professionals. Not only are they known for their exceptional real estate services and support, but also their open and innovative approach to marketing and advertising properties makes them a perfect fit for our auction services,” said Fitzwilson.

For more information about Long & Foster, visit For more information on Williams & Williams, please visit


City of Tulsa to Auction Former Fire Stations

Two former fire stations are going on the auction block this week.

City of Tulsa officials say they hope the buildings will go to the highest bidder with an eye for a stylish office or studio space, as occurred recently with other former fire stations.

Read the full article here.   For more information on the City of Tulsa surplus property auctions, click here.

City of Tulsa Surplus Real Estate Auctions



Tulsa Luxury Home Auction – 6605 E 109th St, Tulsa, OK 74133

6605 E 109th St will auction October 23rd. Click here for registration details.


What Makes a Good Auction? An awesome property!

In less than a month Williams & Williams will auction the Ampersand Bay Resort & Boat club in the Adirondack Park. It’s one of the most unique properties I’ve come across in the last 10 years of conducting tens of thousands of real estate auctions. It’s also one of those properties you see and know immediately it’s perfect for auction: it’s generating income and operates year round, it’s turnkey – all equipment and furnishings sell with the real estate, there are generations of families who have been visiting since the 1940s, and a new owner will have options to keep it as is, or take it in an entirely different direction.

Adirondacks resort for sale

There’s also an element of scarcity, which can be meaningful for any auction asset. There’s very little in the way of commercial development on the water like Ampersand Bay Resort and the resort is located in the heart of the Adirondack Park. This is America’s largest park by the way, with more than 6 million acres of protected wilderness and lakes – that’s bigger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon and a few other national parks combined. The 28+/-ac resort also has room to expand – amenities such as a new restaurant, conference/meeting facility and even condo units have recently been on the planning table.

Ampersand Bay Resort auction

This will be a fun auction, so plan to tune in on October 4th or call us if you’d like to see it for yourself. One of the guests staying at Ampersand Resort recently made a comment about the ownership opportunity the auction presents and I think it’s a great way to summarize the event: “Visiting here has been always been amazing. Living here would be life changing!”

Go see it for yourself.

Watch the video below to find out what makes Ampersand Bay Resort so special.