A Real Estate Auction: Camaraderie on the Courthouse Steps

If you have been to a real estate auction, then you know how they roll. Typically held on weekday mornings, these auctions have become a cultural phenomenon with a life and characters of their own. They have always taken place, a constant reality in the highly leveraged society in which we live in America, but the trustee auction is more commonplace than ever now and consequently fosters a dynamic that is at once congenial and competitive.

The scene plays out across the country on a rather routine, mundane way. Real estate bidders with their eye on a certain property or two or three, hover around the courthouse steps waiting for the trustee to emerge with the day’s allotment of properties on which to bid.

There is a spirit of camaraderie to an amount, but do not be fooled by the friendly banter going on while everyone waits for the bidding to start as the race to make a buck will quickly supplant any friendship. Although competitors, bidders share at least a wary respect for their fellow veterans of the trade if not a certain degree of awe for those among the ranks with stellar track records who have stuck gold.

The rookies milling around a real estate auction trying to insinuate themselves in the easy banter are ignored, having not yet earned the stature required to be considered a full-fledged member of the brother hood. That comes with experience and throwing a few good tips someone’s way never hurts to hasten the process of inclusion. Bidders come and go, many crash and burn, and only the guys who keep showing up for more adrenaline soaked bidding fun merit acknowledgment from the other battle scarred old timers.

And so it is that two groups loosely form on those steps awaiting a trustee auction. The first is the rookie group, characterized by hands jammed into pockets or repeatedly checking their cell phones for some piece of enlightenment, essentially not sure what to do with themselves. The members of this group for the most part will come and go. Only a minority will have what it takes to stick it out, part with some serious cash and become the proud owner of a disturbed property.

The second group is the old guard. These guys have been in the trenches together and to a man have all won some and lost some. These groups are not friends exactly, and more often than not are competitive for the same bidding lot. Neverheless, they thrive on a certain amount of camaraderie as they are a club to themselves and no one outside the circle can possibly appreciate the things they see and do in their line of work. They love to share stories.

They’ve all seen a lot of action: from being attacked by dogs, to trolling a hostile neighborhood checking out a property, to landing a big win and cashing in. From the discouraging, to the sublime, to the successes that make it all worthy, the tales told are worthy of a round or two of drinks at a local tavern if only it was not so darn early in the morning

Kevin J Roberts
DRE 00858916