Homebuyers Find Deals Online

Rainbow City, AL-Mark DeGolyer and Ruthe Joyner DeGolyer had never purchased a home through a real estate auction before, let alone through an online auction.

Like many people who first consider purchasing a home through an online auction, the DeGolyers were nervous at first. But, once they explored the site and registered as bidders, their experience was nothing but positive.

"I was not familiar with the process, but I called RealtyBid.com customer service, and they walked us through how the online auctions work," recalls Ms. DeGolyer. "We registered as bidders, and after that it was a cakewalk."

The DeGolyers, who live in North Carolina, purchased two Myrtle Beach, S.C., bank-owned, foreclosure condominiums via RealtyBid.com. Ms. DeGolyer said both of the properties were tremendous deals. When they first saw the low starting bids for each of their two condos, they assumed the properties would be "run down," but they found the opposite to be true, she said.

"When we viewed our first RealtyBid.com purchase before bidding, we stepped in and found extremely nice tile, stainless steel appliances, attractive design ... it was wonderful. Both of the condos we bought are in great shape."

Ms. DeGolyer has bought and sold 18 properties over the years, and she says these purchases were by far the most painless.

Thousands of homebuyers looking for deals on foreclosures are turning to online home auctions, according to the company.

RealtyBid.com CEO/president Tony Isbell said the website's online home sales grew by more than 37% in 2009 over the first quarter of 2008 and by almost 50% over the first quarter of 2007.

"The first quarter of 2009 was our biggest first quarter ever, and January, February and March were each individually record-breakers compared to those same months in previous years. Additionally, our number of new registered bidders was up more than 62% during the first quarter of 2009."

The company is offering a product that is extremely enticing to potential homebuyers, Mr. Isbell said. "There's an abundance of bank-owned properties right now, and we are helping banks put those properties back into private ownership. In the process, buyers are getting phenomenal deals on foreclosure homes."

Lenders are anxious to sell the homes that have come to them through foreclosure, adds RealtyBid.com executive vice president Mike Keracher. "The banks have looked to us to sell these properties, and because they are ready and willing to 'move' them, we are able to offer tremendous bargains to buyers." In 2008, RealtyBid.com's site traffic nearly tripled over 2007.

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