Property Auction Earns Bourne $577,500
By: Diana T. Barth
A spirited public auction, made exciting by a few bidding wars and fun by the auctioneer’s comments, earned Bourne $577,500 in little more than an hour and a half last Thursday afternoon.
The town sold the vast majority of the 31 properties that went under the hammer for non-payment of property taxes at that auction, held in the lobby of Bourne Veterans Memorial Community Building in Buzzards Bay.
The standing-room-only crowd passed on only six of the town’s offerings.
The auction started with the seven properties that required a deposit of $10,000 from registered bidders, the first of which included a house.
The auctioneer wanted bidding on that single-family home, 3 Birdsong Hill Road in Sagamore Beach, to start at $150,000. However the first bidder started at $50,000. But that amount quickly climbed to $155,000 and then $160,000, the winning bid.
The house was sold to Barry D. and Marcia E. Araujo, who live across the street from the home and know they got a bargain. Talking about the home’s purchase after the auction, they also said they wanted to be able to choose their neighbors.
That home had been open for inspection from 10 to 11 on the morning of the sale.
Cataumet land located at 3 and 5 Falmouth Avenue started at $60,000 and was quickly bid up to $115,000. When there was a pause in the back-and-forth bidding, Paul Zekos of The Zekos Group Auctioneers, a Shrewsbury-based company, kept the process going with a quip to the hesitant bidder of, “What’s another $5,000?”
He called out to that bidder, who had just turned to his wife in silent query before upping the bid, to never look at her, just look at him.
The property sold for $120,000.
Falmouth resident John Bearce made the winning bid for land at 8 Falmouth Avenue in Cataumet. Mr. Zekos was able to say, “Sold!” at $65,000, after bidding started at $30,000.
A waterfront parcel at 81 Rocky Point Road went for $25,000 after auction attendees heard that there was some questions as to whether it was buildable.
A town official said after the meeting that it is technically buildable, but that anyone building on it will be “challenged.”
Land at 10 Cleveland Circle in Gray Gables looked as if it might be sold for $20,000, with Mr. Zekos having started his “going once…” count. However, he paused to say to one of the bidders that he should hear what the other bidder was saying about him. Everyone laughed, bidding resumed, and the land went for $30,000.
Mr. Zekos, who started the auction with a reading of the memorandum of sale, and the warning that all property was being sold as is, and that bidders could not rely on any representations, just their own prior inspection and investigation, had made it clear, before he urged anyone to bid, that it was all at their own risk.
Mr. Bearce, who bought a piece of land in Cataumet, said as he waited to complete his purchase paperwork that he had definitely done his homework long before he raised his bidder number to indicate an interest in that property.
To keep bidders from making impulsive purchase they had not intended to buy, bidders registered prior to the event not just for the auction, but for the specific properties in which they were interested. A deposit ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 had to made with each such registration. They also had to pay a fee for legal work and a percentage for the auction house.
One man said after the auction that when he saw what the land was going for, he wished he had registered to bid on more properties.
Mr. Zekos was able to tell bidders before the auction, however, that this was not a foreclosure auction; that title was held by the town and that the property could be transferred free of tax liens and any undisclosed encumbrances, such as an easement.
Bidding on 39 St. Margaret’s Street in Buzzards Bay went back and forth between people on opposite sides of the room, starting at $10,000. It sold at $37,500, with a little help from Mr. Zekos.
“Just put your hand up in the air, and I’ll think for you,” he said to a bidder who paused in the bidding to take a second to consider the purchase.
The last of the seven properties expected to bring in the more substantial bids, 45 Savery Avenue in North Sagamore, went for $37,500 in a similar battle across the room.
Another 16 pieces of property were then sold for sums ranging for $500 for a parcel on Clay Pond Road, Monument Beach, to $18,000 for land at 10 Samoset Road in North Sagamore.
At least seven of the parcels went for $1,000 to $2,000, but bidding was no less fierce at the lower prices.
Mr. Zekos said after the auction that he had been pleased by the amount of spirited bidding. The higher those amounts, the more his percentage of the sale.
The town not only received income from the sales, the properties are now back on the tax rolls, earning annual income for Bourne.
Town Administrator Thomas M. Guerino had suggested that any proceeds from the auction be earmarked to help defray the cost of a new Department of Public Works garage. He said the money would go to the general budget and it would be up to selectmen, and Town Meeting voters, to approve the next budget, and thus how the money will ultimately be spent.
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