An oceanfront estate awaits, but bid fast
eBay-style auction will take $2.85m-plus Gloucester manor (with private beach) off the market at 5 p.m. on May 22
There’s a grand five-bedroom home for sale at the tip of Cape Ann, with sweeping ocean views from nearly every room and a private, white sandy beach.
All it will take to make this circa 1880 residence yours is $2.85 million. Or more.
But you’d better get your financials in order, and fast. The half-acre Gloucester property is on the market at this price for a limited time. Until 5 p.m. May 22, to be precise.
In an innovative twist on the traditional sales strategy, the seller has decided not to set a list price. Instead, he’s published a reserve price — $2.85 million — and is soliciting bids. Think of it as eBay for the wealthy, the so-called 1 percent. In this fast-paced real estate game, the winner could very well walk away with a steal.
The waterfront home, at 139 Wingaersheek Road, is the first on the North Shore to be sold in this way. The property is being marketed by AcceleratedSales.com, a division of Accelerated Marketing Partners, LLC, a real estate marketing firm headquartered in Boston.
Prospective buyers must submit a fully executed purchase and sale agreement, preapproved by the seller, along with a $50,000 deposit, to Sterling Properties, the seller’s agent, or New England Accelerated Home Sales. All bids will remain sealed until the bid deadline. The seller then has until 5 p.m. May 29 to accept a bid.
A recent report published by the Warren Group, which tracks housing data in the state, shows the Massachusetts housing market is slowly recovering. There were 3,205 homes sold in March — the highest number of March sales since 2007 — but sales of luxury homes in many of Boston’s suburbs remain sluggish.
“The affluent suburban market – properties valued at more than $2 million – is the toughest segment of the market to sell right now,” said Jon Gollinger, founder and chief executive officer of Accelerated Marketing Partners. “There’s a saturation of inventory and very little movement among buyers.”
The logjam exists across the high-end market, Gollinger said, in nearly every zip code in the country. “Generation X has been decimated by the economic downturn so they’re not moving up to $2 million real estate, and generation Y is about five years away from being able to buy property at that price,” Gollinger said.
Suburban homeowners who list luxury properties are learning that lesson the hard way.
According to Scott Kanter, spokesman for the family trust that owns the Gloucester home, the market was tested in 2011, with an asking price of $4.1 million. The three offers that came in were rejected, although two were higher than the $2.85 million reserve price that is now in play.
Kanter said the new strategy takes the element of uncertainty out of the process. Accelerated Sales did a lot of work up front, analyzing the market and assessing the home, to come up with a very realistic expectation of price, he said.
The marketing technique, introduced by the company last year, has helped to move properties in sluggish markets throughout the Greater Boston area, said Gollinger, whose firm has sold $1 billion of real estate assets during the past three years. To him, the decision to slash prices and let buyers bid them up is a no-brainer.
“Ultimately, it’s the market that determines the value of a property,” he said. “Without giving away all of the secret sauce, the key is to pinpoint the number that signals the desire for a transaction and induces the market to come see the property. We don’t start at a high price and work down. We start at the low end of the range and go up.”
The key difference between this marketing strategy and a traditional auction is the format.
“We don’t have an oral outcry sale on these single-family homes,” said Gollinger. “We don’t think that kind of sale would be appropriate to the market. We’re dealing with sophisticated sellers and a unique demographic of buyers. They would be uncomfortable with an auction.”
In recent months, Accelerated Sales has closed deals on homes in Dover, Newton, and Wellesley by employing this sales strategy.
After a four-week marketing period, the Dover home garnered five bids at or above the published reserve price of $1.95 million and sold for $2.17 million.
In Newton, the seller agreed to a three-week marketing period. The home had been on the market for more than two years via the conventional sales route, but seven price reductions failed to attract the right buyer. Through the accelerated sales program, the home attracted three bids and ultimately sold for $2.25 million, nearly $300,000 over the reserve price of $1.95 million.
The Wellesley home — which had been on the market for three years, with four price reductions — closed at its published reserve price of $3.95 million.
If the right bid fails to materialize in Gloucester, the owners will enjoy another summer on the shore, Kanter said.
For more information on the home, including open house dates, visit acceleratedsales.com, click on “Projects,” then the link to the Gloucester property.
Brenda J. Buote may be reached at email@example.com.