Another auction planned for May 1 |

Another auction planned for May 1


United Country U.S. Auctions and Realty is holding a Park City luxury property auction on May 1 at the Park City Marriott.

President and CEO Doug Free hopes to duplicate the success of auctions held earlier this year for vacation condominiums. Free says he’s lined up a far more diverse portfolio for Saturday with the help of several brokerages.

Free’s corporation has been doing real estate auctions for decades, but this is his office’s first Park City event.

The company has offices around the country and last year it sold $2.5 billion in real estate.

Free said he has the support of many Realtors because auctions are still the "truest form of establishing market price for a property."

The value of an auction for the seller and the buyer is joint marketing, Free explained.

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A buyer can shop dozens of properties at one time in one place and be guaranteed a good price. A seller and their Realtor can participate in reaching a much wider audience. Free’s company is investing tens of thousands of dollars into Saturday’s event and expects to draw a diverse crowd of bidders. Free said they’ve placed advertisements in several national media outlets.

Free said he’s also qualified every one of the properties he’s included. In one instance, he bought a lift ticket and strapped on skis to test out its "ski-in, ski-out" claim. Bidders can trust that the same care and attention was applied to every admission, he said.

Helping Free get national exposure is the fact that one of the homes was originally built by Debbi Fields, founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies.

Right now, this is United County’s only scheduled Park City auction, but he’s received requests for more and is considering them.

During an interview about the First Quarter Report from the Park City Board of Realtors, board president Mark Seltenrich said the value of auctions may be waning.

Jess Reid said he read that the most recent one at Westgate Resort by a different company was not as had been hoped.

Both Seltenrich and Reid said they’ve met with Free and support his auction, but believe "true market value" may already be solidifying in all property types.

Reid fears that some sellers may be using auctions to try to attract higher bids than the offers they’re currently receiving. That’s unlikely to happen, he said.