CHICAGO—As reported yesterday in GlobeSt.com, Sperry VanNess recently launched a Chicago-based franchise, calledAuctionWorks, and the new venture will host amulti-property auction online from June 23 to the25th. Diana Peterson, the president andpart-owner, tells GlobeSt.com that such online marketplaces are“definitely becoming more popular across the board.”

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“I've found that live auctions were not very exciting becausethe best properties usually sold long before the auction,” sheadds, and the online method combines efficiency and conveniencewith the competitive bidding an auction inspires. Previously,Peterson was an executive vice president of Auctions byATG, where she was responsible for building the firm'sauction platform.

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This new auction, the firm's second one online, has attracted arather eclectic collection of 27 properties, mostly in Illinois, by8 different sellers and ranging from two luxury homes on the NorthSide, other South Side dwellings, industrial property, retailproperty in suburban Glen Ellyn, and even some vacant, bank-ownedland.

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Unlike many auction companies, Peterson says, AuctionWorksfronts a significant amount of money to market the properties, andtherefore, they wait until they have accumulated a large number ofitems. “That's why we have such a mixture of properties. We'respreading our marketing costs over a number of properties.Otherwise, we would have to do less marketing or charge the sellersmore up front.”

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“Most people come to us because they want a quick sale,” sheadds, “so we encourage pre-auction bids. We anticipate about 50% ofthe properties selling before the auction. That is definitely theexpectation with the two luxury homes,” which include asingle-family brick home at 1727 N. Dayton Ave. in Lincoln Parkwith a suggested opening bid of $1,250,000, and a six-bedroomPeterson Park residence at 6156 N. Saint Louis Ave. with asuggested opening bid of $625,000.

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“There are times when a live auction makes sense,” Petersonsays, such as when government-owned property gets auctioned, simplybecause the live auction provides greater transparency. “But mostof the time online is the route to go.”

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Brian J. Rogal

Brian J. Rogal is a Chicago-based freelance writer with years of experience as an investigative reporter and editor, most notably at The Chicago Reporter, where he concentrated on housing issues. He also has written extensively on alternative energy and the payments card industry for national trade publications.