The Baltimore Maryland Agent: May 2012

How to Sell a Condo at Auction

Perhaps you’ve had a change of plans, the condo you purchased a few years ago is no longer working for you. You want to sell, but your listing seems to be sitting unnoticed as days on market accumulate. Then there is the matter of the condo fee  that’s definitely not an appealing subject no matter how special the amenities. You’re considering a price reduction, but the last two did not seem to generate any offers. Besides, does your listing agent really have any other ideas besides a price reduction?


                             Condo in Baltimore

Consider selling your condo at auction. Like no other real estate transaction I've witnessed, a well-executed condo auction can exceed market expectations and deliver results in a hurry. It's a transaction that requires strategy and finesse.

How to Sell a Condo at Auction Rule #1

Hire a professional

Check their references and make sure they are willing to cooperate with other Brokers. They should be able to market your condo on a multitude of national platforms and understand that your first showing is online.


How to Sell a Condo at Auction Rule #2

Become very savvy about the specific statistics associated with your building.

Condo sales allow a commercial measurement in a residential transaction. I am fond of citing statistics by the square foot. What is the average price people are asking per square foot? What is the average unit selling per square foot? I also want to know about expired listings (a readily available guide of what did not work). Finally check the tax record especially if you are living in a newly constructed development this is the best way to see how many units the developer is truly holding onto (aka the on-site shadow inventory).


How to Sell a Condo at Auction Rule # 3

Take a risk and place all of your cards on the table

This rule alone may be reason enough to disqualify you as an auction seller. Are you prepared to accept the price that a competitive group of buyers sets for your unit? Can you sell at market value? Sadly, for many these days this involves a real loss of equity.  If you are prepared to take the loss, then its best to rip off that band-aid. Take a risk and put all of your cards on the table - disclose your reserve (also known as "minimum"). Choose to sell your unit either "absolute" or (if your state allows) "absolute above a rock-bottom price". People want to know that you are a serious seller. The best way to do this is to be up-front about it.


How to Sell a Condo at Auction Rule #4

Appearances count - the better you look, the better you sell

Declutter, paint, have the place professionally cleaned. It needs to look good, feel good, and smell good. Invest in the appearance. You want to hit a home run. Failure to obey this rule can be detrimental. A word here on decks, balconies and patios; do not ignore these areas. Fresh plants and a glass of lemonade makes any space more appealing. Once you have achieved condo nirvana hire a professional photographer.  Consider both daytime and night time photographs. If you have no art on your walls, mount oversize photos of beautiful details of your property. All of your showings may be a 1pm, but there is no reason why you can not install a beautiful photograph of the sunrise off your balcony.


How to Sell a Condo at Auction Rule #5

Get a copy of the condo resale documents asap

You can not waive somebody's right to review condo resale documents, however, you can provide them in a timely manner to make sure that they are comfortable with the purchase. You don't want a buyer canceling a contract because they were surprised by something they read. By all means, get them the information they need to make a purchasing decision.


How to Sell a Condo at Auction Rule #6

Have an accelerated marketing strategy

So you want to sell your condo in a matter of days / weeks? How are you going to let the world know about the great buying opportunity that you've made available? I want to see a well-articulated plan; social media, print media, online ads, mailings, events, press releases. Do not take a wait and see approach, your marketing needs to hit the ground running and increase in intensity the closer you get to the auction date.


How to Sell a Condo at Auction Rule #7

Do not be afraid to accept a pre-auction offer

Sometimes the best advantage an auction can offer is the power of a deadline. All of your marketing efforts may produce one great qualified buyer who wants to write an offer in lieu of bidding at auction. Be able to recognize when you have a good bird in the hand.


Real estate auctions can jump start stalled condo developments. An auction result will give you a true market value. Lenders can lend and buyers can feel comfortable with the price point. In the case of this guide, this has been written for private seller auctions, that is, people who choose to sell their real estate auction auction as a strategy. Foreclosure and bankruptcy auctions are a different matter, however, when they are handled by a capable team their results can be just as valid if not above the anticipated market value due to increased competition.


Sellers who are bold enough to choose auction strategy early-on may find that they can beat the market. Simply Google "condo auctions" and you will find a wealth of evidence that they are popular with sophisticated buyers and sellers. So far for me its worked in a wide variety of price points, and for my team in a multitude of locations.





Rachel Rabinowitz

Broker / Owner Guerilla Realty  and

Vice President Tranzon Fox Auctions

443.841.5916 direct /




Comment balloon 4 commentsRachel Rabinowitz • May 29 2012 08:19PM
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