Keswick spread to be sold at auction

The estate has been used as an equestrian haven for the past several years.

In a volatile real estate market, a key to attracting a crowd may be through unconventional means. For Keswick estate owner Dr. Emile Allen, that means dividing his 43.5-acre property into various parcels and offering them auction-style Tuesday, Nov 18.

"When you're really ready to get an estate like this one sold in a market like this, it can help to do something out of the ordinary," Allen said in a press release.

The property, which Allen has renovated since 2004 to include Albemarle County's largest indoor horseback riding arena–- the property is well-equipped to house up to fourteen horses–- includes a four-bedroom house and an outdoor riding ring. For the auction, which is being managed by the Alabama-based auction house Albert Burney, Allen has divided the estate into four lots–- the main house and barn, the outdoor ring, and two comprising woodlands and pasture.

"The auction allows the property to be sold in parcels or in a combination that will bring the highest price," says Carl Carter of Albert Burney. "In this environment, an auction allows us to reach more buyers."

Despite the perception of instability the current state of the real estate market projects, some find the prospect of auctioning properties a bit over the top. For Charlottesville real estate broker Ray Caddell of Century 21, the premise of an auction is little more than fluff.

"Most people see auction and think that whoever makes the highest bid gets it all," Caddell says. "Auction ads attract people–- they think they can get a great deal, that someone will steal something."

According to Caddell, real estate auctions are not usually lucrative in eliciting a bid compatible with the property's worth. In the case of low bidding, the property usually will not sell, Caddell says. However, in terms of successfulness, the concept of auctioning a property rather than listing it traditionally is neither new nor necessarily worthwhile.

"It's a new sort of party to get people excited about the sale," Caddell says. "Do I think, as a real estate guy, that it's important to look for more aggressive ways to sell property? Absolutely. But it's just a marketing strategy–- not a scheme or a scam, just a way to try to get people more excited."

1 comment

Did it sell?