Today I went on a real estate field trip.
No. it wasn't to see some beautiful million dollar houses or learn about some great new builder or some awesome new subdivision. Instead I went to an Albuquerque Foreclosure Auction.
The event was the county foreclosure auction held on the Bernalillo County courthouse steps (actually, it was held around one of the planters in front of the Bernalillo County Courthouse steps in downtown Albuquerque because people could set their stuff down on the planter, but I guess that's just a technicality).
I've read books and online articles that talk about the buying and selling of foreclosure properties on the courthouse steps, so I thought this would be a fun and exciting time.
The auction started at 10:30am. There were 7 or 8 people gathered around who all seemed to know one another. They were kind of rude to me, "the outsider." As the auction went on over the next hour or so some people came and went. I'd estimate there were as many as 12 people there at once.
The auctioneer showed up at 10:29am and took out a pile of about 50 small packets, one for each property. For the next hour or so he went through the pile, reading exactly the same legal language for each property except for the plaintiff name, defendant name, property address and the amount of the outstanding lien.
He seemed a little bored. He was speaking in a super fast, rather matter-of-fact voice while reading the legal notices from memory as he looked around at the comings and goings at the courthouse. I guess I can understand why he was bored since the poor guy had to read the same legal language 50 times.
Out of the pile of 50 I'd say 15 suits were postponed until a later date and 5 were canceled altogether.
The other 30 properties were auctioned off, but there was no bidding by anyone present. Every property was sold right back to the bank with the outstanding lien.
I was so disappointed. I wanted to see some heated bidding. I wanted to hear about properties that were being sold for way less than they were worth and see people get some great deals.
Instead, what I saw was, frankly, very boring.
A very boring end to what was a very horrible situation for some Distressed Albuquerque Homeowners.
I was struck by the dullness and the coldness of it all. There were no excited investors waiting to get a great deal on a house. There weren't any teary-eyed homeowners wrenching their hands while their family's home was being sold. There were just a bunch of bank representatives standing around yucking it up while peoples lives were being changed forever.
Why did I go? Did I really expect to have a fun and exciting time? No, I'm not that naive. I went because I'm not the type of person accept someone else's description of how something works. I need to see things for myself. I'd never seen a courthouse foreclosure auction. Now I have.
So I may have learned a little bit more about the foreclosure process today, but mostly I'm just sickened by the whole thing.
Click here to view Albuquerque NM Foreclosed Homes for Sale