Auctions Help Local Communities

Atlanta-An auction program has been designed to assist buyers in search of an affordable property as well as banks looking to reduce the number of nonperforming loans on their books.

Real estate-owned auctioneer Hudson & Marshall's Alliance Network Program helps reduce the surplus of vacant homes for sale by making the process more affordable for buyers. The goal, Hudson & Marshall said, was to auction off over 300 bank-owned foreclosures in Atlanta in three days. The program was developed as a community outreach initiative, the REO auctioneer said, in cooperation with local organizations in cities where it conducts auctions. Primarily it was not only to expand the number of qualified owner-occupant buyers, particularly first-time buyers, looking for discounted homes, but also to connect investors with tenants in need of homes. Hudson & Marshall first launched the Alliance Network Program in January at its Detroit auction and will offer it in other cities throughout the year.

"The program reflects the company's growing desire to help communities turn around their local housing markets by providing greater access to housing opportunities to people in need of homes," remarked Dave Webb, principal, Hudson & Marshall. "This is a complete housing solution, connecting homebuyers with homes and investors with resources they need to turn their purchases into revenue-generating properties."

As part of Hudson & Marshall's program, the company strategy includes encouraging investors attending the auction, who are in search of tenants, to list their properties with the Atlanta Housing Authority database.

Thanks to AHA's Quality of Life Initiative the agency is making an effort to provide low-income families affordable housing throughout mixed-income neighborhoods in Atlanta, avoiding their placement in conventional public housing projects. Families with Section 8 rental vouchers get up to 80% of the monthly market rate rent, which is paid directly to the landlord. HomeFree USA refers qualified homebuyers and tenants from their program to the Atlanta auction. Since 1995, the agency has educated over 20,000 families about credit, mortgage financing and homeownership and helped over 2,400 families purchase homes. Additionally, HomeFree USA has maintained a zero foreclosure rate among its members, thanks to its pre- and post-purchase counseling and education approach.

Other components of Hudson & Marshall's community outreach program in Atlanta include inviting property managers and contractors to the auction as resources for investor buyers who need to make improvements to their properties. During such auctions buyers are required to make a $2,500 deposit in the form of a certified check or cash if they win the bid on a property.

Hudson & Marshall auctions targeted REO properties from Northwest Atlanta. Properties sell "as-is" and buyers should inspect homes prior to auction. Prior to auction, buyers can purchase property online by visiting the website and clicking on the Bid-Now icon. Sellers typically respond to offers within 24 hours. This is a reserve auction, which means sellers have the right to accept, reject or counter any bid.

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