There seems to be a recent onslaught of auction-related television shows. Everyone and their brother seems to be producing a reality program on how to either buy or sell and basically make a deal of a lifetime via the auction route. Just look through your TV Guide (does anyone read that anymore?) or better yet, scroll through your zillions of channels - you'll see a plethora of shows centered around getting a lot of bang for your buck by hitting the auction block.
There are numerous shows for 'stuff' at auction - Auction Hunters, Storage Wars, Auction Kings to name a few - all with quite an impressive following. And now with the vast number of foreclosures and the tumultuous housing market often being in the forefront of news stories, real estate auctions are also hitting the small screen.
According to Carolyn Dohack of The Columbia Tribune, a brand new reality show focusing on real estate auctions will soon be hitting the airwaves. Auction House is scheduled to air this summer on HGTV, following potential home buyers from the beginning of the auction process to the conclusion in each 30-minute episode. Shows will be taped at various locations across the U.S., with the first episode covering the auction of properties at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. Executive Producer Dawn Stroupe specifically picked the location for its appeal to a wide audience of varying incomes. "They have $80,000 condos, and they have $3.3 million houses," Stroupe stated. "They have rowboats on the lake, as well as 100-foot yachts. I loved having a place that had so much of a range. It reaches out to so many people in our HGTV audience."
The idea for the show was conceived by auctioneer and host Keith McLane, who describes it as "the House Hunters of the auction world." As a professional real estate auctioneer, McLane saw the potential for a successful series with the rise in sellers who are compelled to go the auction route. "Usually it takes a pretty motivated seller; somebody who wants to move on to the next property. And so they just decide that rather than list it with an agent and sit there and wait, they want to know that it's going to sell in 30 days," McLane said.
Bob Shively, managing principal of ProStar Auctions in Lake Ozark, agrees that the auction method of real estate is becoming a chosen vehicle of sale due to its results-driven process. "Within the next five to seven years, a third of all real estate will be sold by auction. When [sellers] make a decision, they don't want to wait 60 days, 90 days, 120 days to make that transaction," Shively told The Columbia Tribune.
Bret Richards, CAI, Auctioneer and Sales Manager of Hudson & Marshall, also sees that the auction mode of sale has risen in popularity due to its ability to determine the actual market value of a property. "It's a method of marketing that pairs a ready, willing and able buyer with a ready, willing and able seller, providing the most open and competitive price based on the market," Richards says. "When you're using auctions, it is the true market value no matter what you're selling...It's a direct reflection of the current market in that situation because you're putting those properties out there – you're advertising through online, social media, billboards, newspapers, etc. You're exposing the market and whatever happens, that's going to be the true market value of that home."
With the rise in real estate auctions, it was only a matter of time before a reality show would be in the works. Auction House is not the first show of its kind. On the other side of the globe, Australian hit The Block has become ratings gold. Centered around four couples competing against each other to renovate a home and sell it for the highest price at auction, the show's most recent finale drew in a record 3.29 million viewers, beating out mega-shows MasterChef and Australia's Got Talent - yet another testament to the increasing popularity of real estate auctions among the general public. The Block is now in its fifth season.
While those in the auction biz are sure to be enjoying the media spotlight on the industry, some realize it's not a completely accurate portrayal. Karen Keane, CEO of Skinner Inc. Auctioneers and Appraisals, comments, "Like all reality TV... auction shows depict only a slice of reality; the camera can only capture so much and the whole story often lies beyond the confines of the lens." Yet Keane also sees the upside to the publicity. "But I think that most viewers already know this about reality TV shows and they're curious enough to overlook that flaw and keep watching for the opportunity of learning more," she says. "And that's what I like about these shows; that millions of people are watching and learning... The more they learn, the more they want to experience it for themselves."
We're seeing that the popularity of real estate auctions is attracting not only prospective buyers and sellers, but also developing a strong public following. Growing into a global interest, real estate auctions continue to make their mark in the business world while acquiring a viewing audience who's happy to just come along for the ride.