Oakland, Macomb County Foreclosure Auction Moves Online

For the first time in history, there will no longer be auctioneers looking to procured bid cards to determine who will buy the foreclosed properties offered in Oakland and Macomb counties.

Instead, bidding is done online.

This is a change for the two Detroit metropolitan governments that had direct auctions until the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But Oakland County Treasurer Robert Wittenberg said the switch made sense because of the confluence of events. His UWM, a mortgage lender, expanded its campus by acquiring the Ultimate Soccer Arena, where the auction was held. The county’s longtime auctioneer was no longer available. And many things have already moved online.

“The auctioneer was retired and we didn’t know anyone else,” he said. “For me, it makes sense.”

No one at the Macomb County Treasurer’s office responded to a request for an interview about the decision-making process, but the department confirmed that Macomb will also be online for the first time.

Auckland auctions are held on Fridays. Macomb’s is his August 23rd.

They join the rest of the Detroit metropolitan area, and most of the state, in moving to online real estate sales. Others say the benefits are myriad.

Wayne County Treasurer Eric Savery, who has been auctioning online for more than a decade, said: The first auction of the year will be held in September.

Washtenaw County Treasurer Catherine McCrary said the county’s auction has been online since the turn of the century. rice field. Seven of them were sold for the first time.

When the auction moved online, McClary said she wondered if people would come to bid at the Ann Arbor Courthouse, which is notoriously difficult to find parking.

“Who comes to your court to bid on property?” she asked. “I never thought I wouldn’t do it online.”

The state-run Livingston County auction is also online.

Wittenberg of Oakland said the online auction process should be familiar to anyone who has used eBay. There is a pre-bidding period where properties are listed and people can bid before the auction begins. They can also go live and bid their property against others until the end. Telephone bidding is also an option and available in multiple languages.

The Auckland auction includes over 300 parcels, most of which are vacant lots. Wittenberg said he believes bidders can be more cautious without the pressure of face-to-face auctioneers. Look at photos and other information that is difficult to parse.

“More people can be more strategic,” he said. “More people will be able to bid than a few years ago. It will be a more diverse group.”

Marty Spaulding, general manager of Title Check LLC in Kalamazoo, plans to run Oakland auctions and more than 70 of Michigan’s 83 counties. Spaulding, a former auctioneer, said he was auctioning hybrids in person or online in most places until the coronavirus pandemic prevented people from gathering.

“It worked so well that there’s no reason to go back,” he said of the switch. “Times change.”

Spaulding said virtual auctions have their advantages.

“You don’t have to miss work, you don’t have to drive a couple of hours,” he said. “They could sit there for hours and lose.”

Auctions can take eight hours or more, so we didn’t always have to wait that long for a property of interest to arrive.

Speculators can be frustrated with online access, he said. Everything goes on sale online at set times. It makes it easier to enter and exit the auction, making it easier for people to bid. Spaulding said successful bidders are usually willing to pay more because they’ve seen the property in person—they live near the property, have investments in the neighborhood, and have a vision. the person who pays

He said less than 5% of bidders bought 10 or more properties at auction. Speculators are suffocated by rising selling prices as values ​​continue to rise.

Wittenberg said he expects higher sales as a result of the switch.

“I would guess that as more people bid on the property, the price would go up,” he said.

Spalding agreed, saying the selling price was “off the charts.”

Wittenberg said the move may have some drawbacks: Local officials are no longer able to look directly at someone to determine whether they are investing in their community. He also said the on-site title company and tax assistance group, which can help people understand what to do with winning bids, are not immediately accessible in the online settings.

Those who do not pay the taxes levied on the purchased property are prohibited from bidding again, and those who are behind on property taxes cannot bid. Wittenberg said he sees more positives than positives overall.

“We are excited,” he said. “We are he one of the last large counties to go online.”

What will be lost when traditional auctions go away? Spalding said he’s no longer seeing auction patrons and has questions he can’t answer.

He said he had a 45-minute Q&A session before bidding started to get people familiar with the process.

“And people will shut you up and say, ‘Let’s start selling,'” he said.

Spalding knows there are some counties that still have in-person sales, including Mackinac, Ingham, New Waygo and Eaton, but he knows more and more counties are moving away from in-person sales. said there is.

“I think it’s inevitable,” he said. “That’s just part of where we’re going. It’s the horseless carriage of the new millennium.”

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