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Auction bargain: two houses for price of one

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

STATEWIDE  Buy one, get one free — houses that is. A pair of never-occupied two-bedroom homes north of Klamath Falls is headlining a big property auction scheduled for Nov. 15 at the Hilton Hotel near Portland International Airport, with sealed bidding to follow.

Also vying for investor interest are the 102-acre High Heaven Horse Farm in Yamhill County, a 2,114-acre elk-hunting camp in the Wallowa Mountains and a 3,200-acre expanse of forest adjacent to the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness Area.

Sellers are offering to finance most of the deals, pending a review of the buyer’s credit. Cash bids are welcome and in some cases required.

Portland-based Realty Marketing Northwest has been selling properties at auction since 1985 to offer bargains to smart bidders and savings to sellers tired of paying holding costs. The company works closely with timber owners and has moved mountains and company towns in past auctions. Given the economic climate, expectations are less ambitious this year.

“It’s definitely a challenging market,” says president John Rosenthal, adding that it’s no coincidence that more than half of the properties are valued at under $250,000.

Several of the properties speak volumes about the woeful state of Oregon’s real estate market:

• A lender-owned 35-lot would-be resort near Lehman Hot Springs, with no minimum asking price;

• A former realtor’s office (repossessed by the bank) that looks out onto a golf course at Crooked River Ranch;

• A cash-only “as-is” three-bedroom house with a 19-acre clear-cut that has not been replanted.

Rosenthal says at the height of the market 75% of the auction properties would sell. That dropped to about 50% for Realty Northwest’s auction in June. For the fall auction, published reserve prices range from zero to $6.1 million. The catalog is at rmnw-auctions.com.


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