Sold To The Highest Bidder
Auctions are no longer just for Michael Jackson’s glove or Jordan's flu game sneaks. They’re a quick, no-fuss way to sell commercial real estate, and investors and brokers are noticing. Sperry Van Ness Chicago Commercial just teamed up with auction pro Diana Peterson (above) to launch SVN AuctionWorks, a global real estate and personal property auction firm. The big news about auctions? “They used to be a last resort,” Diana says,” But they’re attracting more and more sellers who don’t have a distressed situation.” (Do not underestimate the awesome cultural power of The Antiques Road Show.) Auction.com has created buzz as the market’s 800-pound gorilla, but there’s more to maximizing a property’s value than non-negotiable contracts and date of certain sale, she says.
SVN AuctionWorks’ biggest upfront spend is on target marketing and branding properties online. The firm also staffs auction properties with brokers who specialize in that particular neighborhood or asset class (and offers pre-auction sales for those ready to pull the trigger). Its connection to Sperry Van Ness' local scope (yet national platform) is one way SVN AuctionWorks will differentiate itself, says Diana, who previously founded and was head of Auctions by ATG. And as a Woman-Owned Small Business, the firm will be eligible for federal government contracts set aside for women, she tells us. (It will also secure the Woman Business Enterprise certification for corporate contracts.)
SVN AuctionWorks will use Sperry Van Ness brokers and brokers from other firms to avoid auction firms’ common pitfall of staffing up too quickly and overshooting budgets, Diana says. An upcoming auction in early April includes properties ranging from suburban Chicago office to a 12-room inn in Marseilles (Illinois, but still tres chic). Most of the firm's current auction properties are in the Chicago area, but Diana expects to branch out geographically as well as into items like seized assets as the firm gains government contracts. Though she’s up at 3:30am these days (that’s what launching a new company does to you), Diana spends her down time playing paddle tennis on weekends, and spending time with her husband, daughter, and new Samoyed puppy.