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344 foreclosed homes auctioned at Rosemont event
By Deborah Donovan | Daily Herald Staff

Auctioneer Mike Carr looks for a bid during an auction of foreclosed homes on Saturday in Rosemont.


Daniel White | Staff Photographer

As many as 2,000 people attended an auction Saturday of hundreds of foreclosed homes in Chicago and the suburbs.


Daniel White | Staff Photographer

Trent Ferris, vice president of auction events for Real Estate Disposition Corp., discusses the event.


Daniel White | Staff Photographer

The crowd was serious, but bidders assistants such as Matt Murphy increased the energy at an auction of foreclosed homes on Saturday in Rosemont.


Daniel White | Staff Photographer

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Published: 11/23/2008 12:02 AM

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A large auction of foreclosed homes on Saturday in Rosemont showed there's still a lively interest in area real estate - at the right price.

Two thousand people, including an estimated 1,000 registered to bid on 344 homes stretching from the North Shore and Chicago to Naperville, squeezed into a Rosemont ballroom, said Trent Ferris, vice president of auctions for Real Estate Disposition Corp. More homes farther south in the metro area will be auctioned off today.

Gergana Stavreva and her husband, Radoslav Stavrev, of Rosemont came to the auction to see how it works. They are looking for a home and had a recent attempt to purchase one in Arlington Heights fall through. Stavrev said but they might bid at the next auction they attend.

He said a Morton Grove townhouse the couple visited and liked had been priced at $337,000 and sold for $260,000, with high property taxes the only obvious drawback. A 5 percent buyer's commission is also charged on each sale.

A Lake Forest house that had been priced at more than $1 million went for about $650,000 after the auctioneer nudged people when bidding seemed to stall at $550,000.

The auctioneer announced a St. Charles home once valued at $726,900 has a bad roof and mold, and financing might be difficult to obtain, but a renovation loan would be available. Bidding was heavy, and the winning one was about $550,000.

A Schaumburg house with a one-time price tag of $805,000 immediately shot up to $550,000 before selling for about $660,000.

Richard Magden of Union Grove, Wis., and his wife, Valerie, reported touring one home with water damage from a bad roof and others where the copper pipes had been ripped from the walls.

Last month, 12,681 homes in Illinois were in some phase of default or foreclosure, and the state ranked ninth for percentage of homes where court action was filed, according to Realty Trac, a California organization that lists foreclosed properties online.

The auction seemed far removed from the families who had lost these homes, but attendees said these homeowners were not far from their thoughts.

"When going to a house we realized some people were living here and something happened and they were not able to afford the house," said Stavrev. "But it's something that already happened and we couldn't prevent it now. The government should have been doing something about it."

One Elk Grove Village man with a young family and an eye on a larger house in Schaumburg said one of his concerns would be if there was any potential physical danger from the former homeowners.

A commercial real estate agent from Oak Brook bid about $625,000 for a Naperville home he had never seen and hopes to rent or sell. The house had been priced at more than $1.2 million, and the man decided he should be taking advantage of opportunities in today's market.