Suffolk County has decided to go virtual for its next property auction, the first time the county has taken the process online.
UPDATED Nov. 19, 2021, 9:31 a.m.: The auction is set to take place on Dec. 1 with 159 parcels for sale, according to Newsday. The county came into possession for the parcels because of nonpayments of taxes on the properties for at least 36 months.
Bidders with shallow coffers will be able to scoop up some properties for cheap, as the minimum starting bid for some vacant lots is only $100. Those wanting to shell out more money, however, can look towards a 55-acre property in Selden, where the starting bid is $1 million.
Those who want to participate need to register online by Nov. 23. The auction will unfold over the course of six hours on Dec. 1, beginning at 9:30am. The event is being run by realauction.com, which charges $300 from winning bidders for each transaction while charging the county nothing.
Prospective bidders are able to inspect the properties on their own prior to the auction and research zoning and building restrictions.
By making the auction virtual, the county is reportedly hoping to attract more bidders than the in-person process brought in, which could result in higher bids for the properties.
“The virtual property auction is our latest effort to streamline resources and create greater efficiencies, while simultaneously increasing access,” County Executive Steve Bellone said in a statement reported by Newsday.
Turning to a virtual format may also allow for more auctions to take place, which would reduce the amount of money the county spends to maintain its properties year-round.
Detractors of the virtual process believe the loss of the local element could create more questionable purchases than before.
“When you’re keeping it local, like it was forever, you’re getting the local audience that has a better sense of what’s really up for sale,” Todd Yovino of Island Advantage Realty told Newsday.
[Newsday] — Holden Walter-Warner
This has been updated with a link to the list of properties up for auction Dec. 1.