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—Illustration by Sean Parsons

Movin’ Up

Colorado’s superwealthy find a new way to sell their high-end homes.

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Even in Colorado’s seller-friendly real estate market, some homes still can be tricky to unload—particularly if they feature niche amenities such as helipads, equestrian facilities, or private golf courses.

Those fortunate enough to shoulder these luxurious burdens, though, have found a less traditional way to sell their lavish digs: auctions. Instead of using old-fashioned listings, companies such as New York–based Concierge Auctions (CA), DeCaro Luxury Real Estate, and even occasionally Sotheby’s present high-end abodes to between five and 12 bidders who have about four weeks to tour the home before each naming their price. (On the traditional market, it can take three to five years to sell these unique properties.) CA winnows its inventory to include only homes that aren’t in foreclosure with sellers who are willing and able to let the market set the price. (In auction formats without a reserve price, sellers are required to accept the highest bid.)

The Rocky Mountain region remains one of the most active for CA, which has sold homes in 23 states and four countries (past sellers include Cher and NFL great Kurt Warner). The company has helped Coloradans sell 27 different properties—from expansive ranches to mountainside chalets—since it began exploring the auction route in 2008. Colorado auction properties can run into the tens of millions: In 2013, the average sale price in the Centennial State was $6.7 million, and recent auctions in Aspen, Jefferson, and Telluride netted $10.7 million to $13.2 million per property. (CA’s most recent Colorado auction—a 7,558-acre
Colorado Springs ranch with renowned equestrian facilities—was set to close in August after press time.) “We look at about 25 properties for every one we accept,” says CA president and founder Laura Brady. “We do a lot of work on the front end to make sure property and expectations are aligned.”

Occasionally, as with CA’s August auction for the 252-acre Rising Hearts Ranch in Newcastle, companies will split parcels when a property is large enough to sell in parts. The winning offer can be either a single buyer or a collection of split-parcel bids, whichever is higher. Kind of gives new meaning to the whole “Rocky Mountain high” thing, doesn’t it? conciergeauctions.com

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