Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Can we get 85? Anybody bidding?

Last night was an experience! To say the least. Brian has a casual friend (more of a friend of a friend) who works in the auction business for foreclosed homes (that eventually go to auction). Brian volunteered us to work at the auction that was here last night. They travel around from city to city and do auctions, selling off the homes in the area that have been foreclosed on, for dirt cheap. Brian would love to buy & flip a foreclosed house someday, so this was a way to see how that aspect of things would work (buying at auction). Of course we had no idea what to expect. And we had to buy new dress shirts to meet the dress code (we don't dress up that often! We had no plain white at all!!). Kenna commented on how we matched as we left in our black dress pants and white shirts:-)

Upon arrival we found out we would be doing (I) registration & escort, and (Brian) registration & runner. I don't really know what the runner job was, but it seemed extremely easy - well, let me start at the beginning.

Registration is easy. Money orders, blank cheques, verify funds, check ID, assign a bidder card/number. No big deal. And supposedly that was the hard part.

Not so. Have you ever heard an auctioneer? Have you ever tried to understand what he is saying? Have you ever had to decipher the hand signals they give each other (there are 3 auctioneers). It is a far cry from easy, when you have never done it before!!

My job as escort sounded easy. Stand here. Hold the appropriately numbered file. When someone wins, take the file to them, hold up their number, bring them forward, verify their info, and hand them off to the gatekeeper (yes, these were the names of the jobs! lol). Simple.

Until you throw someone talking athousandmilesanhourintotheequation. And using hand signals. So basically, this is the jist of it. They run every auction the same, whether people are actually bidding or not. So they start it out and run it up, and make every house seem as if it was sold, but half the time they are faking. There was no real bidder. So you have to rely on third-base-coach-style hand signals to know what on earth is going on. And of course, it's incredibly fast paced. This means "it's going to go". This means "we're saying it will go, but it won't". This means "closed". This means "bluffing". There are single hand signals for numbers 6-10. I have 7 and 8 figured out. I am a little lost on the others...

Then when someone actually does win, who is it? Finding them in the crowd is less than easy. When people bid, they don't stand up, wave their bidding card, or use any easy and obvious method (as seen on tv). They usually just raise an eyebrow it seems. "SOLD" Ok great. To who?

It was a fun and fast paced evening. We really had a good time. Brian's job as runner entailed taking people from the gatekeeper to the appropriate bankers table I believe. He was not nearly as busy as I was, that's for sure! By the end of the night I had a pretty good idea of what was going on with the bidding and stuff, and that's the hardest part to figure out. Next time an auction comes to town, I'll be ready!!

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