Saturday, October 4, 2008 at 09:46PM
An Unnamed Baldnobber

My but it was a "Grand Auction".  After months of hype the "Grand Auction", (actually that was the official name of the auction) took place on Saturday October 4 at the Branson Convention Center.  With 51 high quality Branson Area Real Estate Properties up for bargain grab, me and a few hundred others prospective investors pushed our way into the Hilton  Ballroom.  The room was rigged with flood lights, movie set cameras and banks of laptops manned by smart young professionals in matching outfits.  Indeed, we who were attending in person were  dismayed when we learned that the "Grand Auction" was being "live simulcast" across planet earth via  Web Based "" where, potentially Seven Billion investors with no faces, might outbid us.  

Some of us had visited the "Grand Auctions" very upscale WebSite prior to the auction.  We , along with the other Seven Billion potential investors, had digital access to great photos, data summaries, plat maps and inspection reports on a wide array of local properties ranging from modest doublewides to majestic $1,000,000 estates.  With properties promoted as having an aggregate appraised value of $25,000,000, we were, as the cameras and simulcast went live about 1 PM, ready to "rock & roll".  Sadly, we did not rock; neither did we roll.  What we did was sit in the Hilton Ballroom for about 3 hours watching awkwardly as the auctioneer pitched his heart out without selling anything..............that's right NOTHING, NADA, ZILCH.  More precisely, after passing on the first dozen or so properties, with exactly zero "at reserve bids", the auctioneer, yielding to his own embarassement, agreed to accept "best offer bids without regard to seller reserves", advising that any and all highest offers would be presented to the respective property owners for acceptance, rejection, or counter offers.

After this accommodation, the "Grand Auction" turned revealing.  Property after property drew bids from both "the room"  and 'the Web" starting at as low as 5% of the appraised values and rarely ending at much above 30% of the appraised value.  Formalizing the winning bids as Real Estate Contracts with live Earnest Money was little more than a joke. Someone sitting near me was the winning bidder on two very nice area Condos at $50,000 each.  After the "Grand Auction" had ended, the listing Real Estate Broker said emphatically  that neither of the sellers would accept offers of less than $150,000.  Another bargain hunter on my row wrote a check for $7000 for an Earnest Money deposit to buy a 3300 square foot new upscale house in Branson Creek which was listed for $545,000.  Somehow I don't think  his $130,000 "winning bid" will impress the builder/owner.  It should however terrify the builder/owner that the winning  bid was $20,000 higher than any of the other bargain hunters in the room and $10,000 higher than any offer from the Seven Billion possible internet investors.

"It was a sad day in Mudville, for mighty Casey had struck out".................and so, I guess, have we! 

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