Luxury estate auction slated for Aug. 27 |

Luxury estate auction slated for Aug. 27


Real estate experts are still talking about the effect of the Accelerated Marketing Partners’ (AMP) first Park City auction eight months ago at Silver Strike Lodge in Empire Pass.

Real estate value is determined by what someone is willing to pay for a home. When buyers and sellers cannot agree, no transactions are made. Realtors say the auction last January gave a realistic market value to upper Deer Valley condos and significantly improved sales.

AMP is trying for the same result again with an auction of 11 high-end estates on Aug. 27.

Not everything AMP touches turns to gold. Founder Ken Stevens confesses his March 28 auction of 44 condos at Westgate Resort at The Canyons was no "barnburner." But it still sold more units than had been sold through normal real estate means for a year, he said.

An auction allows the market to speak, and that transparency allows good things to happen, Stevens explained.

"We put our cards on the table," he said.

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For the Aug. 27 auction, Realtors have convinced sellers of almost a dozen properties in areas like Promontory, Tuhaye, The Colony and Deer Crest to select a minimum price they’d be willing to accept. The bids will be faxed or emailed to Stevens on the day of the auction and will be sealed. The owners have guaranteed to sell to the highest bidder or anything matching, or over, the minimum published price, he said.

That’s why this home auction could succeed where others have failed. All properties that receive a valid bid will be sold, he explained.

Conceivably, no one will bid for the minimum prices and none of the properties will sell, but Stevens said he’s worked with five different brokerage firms in town to guarantee the minimum published prices are a fair starting point.

"All we can do as a marketing company is to get the word out," he said. "The minimum bids are a fairly representative sample of what bidders will pay."

AMP is advertising nationally including in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

"We got sellers to commit money to a national campaign on a huge economy of scale to give these properties a fair chance," he said.

The marketing has Realtor William Winstead excited for the auction. Park City real estate is getting national exposure through the ad campaign for this one auction, he said.

Winstead believes the auction will succeed because it stands to benefit both sellers and buyers.

guaranteeing to sell for anything matching or above the published price, sellers are generating a sense of urgency in the market. These properties are unique and buyers who have been eyeing them for months need to make a smart move on Aug. 27 or lose their chance to own one, he said.

Buyers benefit from the auction because it prevents sellers from toying with them. Winstead said almost all of his clients have offered cash for certain homes, only to be told no. The guarantee of a sale is attractive.

Quite simply, Winstead said, buyers and sellers haven’t been seeing eye-to-eye. This auction is bringing sellers to the table ready to make a deal and getting buyers off the fence who have been waiting.

Even if only a handful sell at the auction, Winstead still thinks it will have an impact on the overall market. None of properties is distressed and all are high-end.

Developer Eustace Mita is selling his house Deerfield Estate at the auction for nearly 50 percent off his original asking price. Deerfield Estate is the priciest home at the auction with a minimum reserve of $15,875,000.

Mita said he was in the automotive industry before real estate, and recognizes that in both businesses there must be a sense of scarcity and urgency to pull out of a dip. He’s willing to sell properties at a loss to keep product moving, he said.

"We want to shock the market," he explained.

The Deerfield Estate could not be built new for less than $18 million, he said. Not long ago his company sold a New Jersey property for 58 cents on the dollar, and a Philadelphia property for 57 cents on the dollar.

"Unfortunately, that’s the only option," he said.

Even though Deerfield’s minimum reserve is more than twice that of the next-highest-priced property, he’s confident it will sell because of the value offered.

The views are unbelievable, he said. It has two elevators including a hotel-sized one. He believes it is the only property in Deer Crest that is gated and has an indoor pool. He also said it is the only residence of its kind with a private gondola. Mita said he hired the same firm that built the Deer Valley gondolas for Deer Crest to give him the same kind.

"The buyer will get a generational opportunity," he said.

Open houses of all 11 properties will be held each weekend preceding Aug. 27. For more information visit .

View Luxury estate auction homes in a larger map