I’m old-fashioned in at least one respect. I get the New York Times delivered to my door, and that’s how I normally learn about real estate auctions.
Whether by the public administrators of Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn or by companies that specialize in such auctions, advertisements in print are the norm.
Not so, it seems, with Sheldon Good & Co., which is conducting separate auctions of apartments in two new developments on the same day, Feb. 13.
Because I check real estate blogs frequently, I found out about them by accident, by coming across posts online that, in one instance, referred to a tip and, in the second, a mention in a newspaper column. I didn’t see a single print ad.
One of the auctions is for 25 apartments in Queens, technically in Long Island City but seemingly in Astoria. (I blogged about it last week.) The other is for six apartments in Washington Heights, just south of the George Washington Bridge and at the edge of Highbridge Park.
Frankly, I didn’t try to check with the auctioneer to ask what’s up because of timing: I didn’t decide to write this post until last night. Maybe the company ran ads in other publications such as the Daily News and the Post and maybe there’s a justifiable explanation for the omission.
Or maybe the company just doesn’t want to part with any of its profit. There is, after all, a 6 percent buyer’s premium, and Sheldon Good undoubtedly is getting paid by the developers as well.
I have been given to understand that auction firms and developers go through a tortured dance in which they agree on minimum bids, reserve prices, a marketing budget, commissions (buyer’s premium), direct payment from the developer and an apportionment of expenses, among other things.
My guess is that Sheldon Good & Co. has proved to be a tough negotiator, maximizing how much money it will make.
But how does it serve a developer’s passion to dispatch its white elephants with as little blood lost as possible if the auction company doesn’t round up as many bidders as possible? Public relations is one arrow in the marketing quiver, and it works. But advertising also is an essential weapon to spread the word far and wide, and I’m puzzled why the developers didn’t insist on it.
It is the duty of listing agents–a role that the auction company plays–to expose properties virtually to everyone who might want to buy them for the highest price with the least amount of difficulty. On the surface, anyway, I don’t see how Sheldon Good & Co. reaches that standard.
Apparently, the only way to see what Sheldon Good puts up for auction, is to check the site. That approach strikes me as not a little arrogant, self-serving and unprofessional.
Update: An advertisement for each auction is published in the Feb. 16 Real Estate section of the Times.
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022
I did see them advertise this on the front page of the free Metro newspaper. Not sure what the circulation is but you see them all over the city in the morning.
I went to the viewings of the LIC property and there must have been some kind of publicity behind it because there were hundreds of people there. The lobby was packed and it seemed each info presentation in the penthouse were essentially, standing room only.
Majority of people there were Asian so maybe that where they advertised and that is there demographic for that property.
The thing is, the more the merrier. I wouldn’t assume that urban professionals in low-paying jobs wouldn’t be interested in bidding. So advertising so selectively, if so, can’t ensure the highest prices for the units. Also, I’ll bet most of the visitors you saw didn’t appreciate that the auction is not absolute; it’s one thing to trumpet low minimum bids and quite another to have reserves that presumably are much higher.