Bids start at $299,000 tomorrow for Jensen tract home
I haven't been to a property auction since I was a kid and used to watch the fast-talking auctioneers selling off farms from the Wayne County Courthouse steps in rural Fairfield, Ill. So it's with some apprehension that I plan to listen in again tomorrow as Stacey Kennedy of Pacific Auction Exchange holds a live auction of a three-bedroom, one-bath home at 4040 Jensen St., across from Amador Valley High School. I'm not the only one apprehensive. Dora Mae Nairn, who has lived in the home since she moved there with her late husband Donald when it was newly built in 1954, is hoping to get a lot more for the house than the minimum bid Kennedy has set of $299,000. That's a lot more than the $15,000 the Nairns paid, but a lot less than the $500,000-$600,000 some of the Jensen tract homes have been selling for recently. That's why Nairn's neighbors are also concerned; an exceptional low bid that wins could affect property values up and down the street,
Kennedy is confident that the bidding will accelerate quickly once it starts promptly at 12:07 p.m. tomorrow. With luck, Nairn will get an acceptable price, possibly even more than the current market rate if buyers who have previewed the house over a three-day period really want it. Our city is known for multiple bids on appealing houses, especially during the sellers' market of 2004-2006. But then the seller had complete control, fielding the various offers and deciding if one should be accepted or all of them turned down. Today, with market prices down from a year ago, there are concerns that prospective buyers might hold back and let Nairn's house go for less.
The house comes with some history. Both Dora Mae and Donald Nairn graduated from Amador a few years before they married and bought the Jensen Street house. In fact, Donald was a star athlete, setting quite a few records on the football field for the Dons that stood for years. Employed in the gravel quarries, he and his wife raised four children in the one-bathroom house which must have been quite a feat, although son Randy, who will be at tomorrow's auction, said everyone managed quite well. But then Randy and his older sister Cindy shared the place only with their parents. Randy was 18 when on his graduation day from Amador in 1972, a third sibling was born--Caine, who also went to local schools and graduated from Amador. A fourth soon followed, the youngest in the family, Warren, who, like Cindy, lives in Tracy. Caine is in Sacramento and Randy and his wife Nancy, a nurse, recently sold their house in Copperopolis and now travel the country, living in their large motor home.
So no one in the family wants the house. Donald Nairn died 15 years ago and Dora Mae suffered a stroke two years ago. She moved in with her children for care. Realizing she could not live independently again, she recently moved to The Parkview, a new assisted living facility on Valley Avenue, and the family decided to put the house up for sale.
Kennedy said that by auctioning the house off, the Nairns avoid the longer process of listing the house for sale with a Realtor, getting it ready for showing and then waiting until a buyer makes and offer and the deal is closed. Even in the best of times, that can take a month or more. Today, homes in Pleasanton are on the market for months before they sell. The auction process, on the other hand, could be over in an hour or two. Pacific Auction handles all the paperwork and the Dora Mae Nairn can receive her equity and be freed of worry about having an empty home that's advertised for sale. Besides visiting with her four children, she has 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren to entertain at The Parkview during the holidays and at their homes. Now 79 years old, she's hoping to hear the familiar words of the auctioneer tomorrow: "Going, going, gone!" And for a price everyone will think is fair.