MYRTLE BEACH — A Greenville company that conducts online auctions for real estate hopes that 4.5 acres on the Intracoastal Waterway in Little River will be part of its offering in April when it debuts a new format for the sales.
At that time, said Stephen Jax of Stephen Jax and Associates, the company will announce a starting time and date for auctions of property that has been marketed for up to a month. Bidding will begin at the advertised time and will end when people stop bidding.
Online real estate auctions now may stay active for a couple of weeks, which is the format Jax began with when he started doing online auctions in 2001 or 2002. But he said he was told by experts that the two-week bid time was too long, and the company reduced its auctions to a one-week time frame.
Even then, he said, the real serious bidding happened it the last 30 minutes.
With the new format, bidding is likely to close when no bids have been received in a few minutes or less.
“We are trying to match the experience people have at on-site auctions,” Jax said.
And the shorter bidding time reduces the pins-and-needles sitting time for sellers.
Jax said his company was one of the first in the Southeast to do online real estate auctions. The business grew with the number of property-only auctions, but it took the real estate implosion of 2006-2007 to really kick start the online business, Jax said.
The auctions are set up in a couple of ways: in one, the seller must accept the high bid; in the other, the seller can negotiate with a bidder or reject all bids as in a feet-on-the-ground real estate transaction.
Jax said the seller must accept the results if the sale is listed as “absolute” or if the seller has set a minimum amount he or she will accept and the amount is met or exceeded in the bidding.
He said that 80 percent to 90 percent of the properties involved in online auctions are distressed, meaning that an owner must sell or a bank wants to dump the property from its books.
Listings on Jax’s website, stephenjax.com (note, no www.), average between 2,000 and 3,000 hits apiece, Jax said, and will have five to 50 bidders.
While the Little River property may be among the first to be auctioned by the new, time-limited method, it’s not the only Grand Strand property that has been on Jax’s listings. Further, there are other online real estate auction websites, one of which currently lists a doublewide mobile home in Little River.
Jax described his business as a national asset management company that hires real estate brokers who deal directly with sellers in each market.
Lower flood insurance
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has lowered flood insurance premiums up to 20 percent for some properties in North Myrtle Beach.
After the agency verified the city’s five-year cycle community rating system application, it determined that the city will improve from a Class 7 to a Class 6 in the National Flood Insurance Program.
Some areas in the city that already had substantial flood insurance premium discounts will not be affected by the ruling, said Pat Dowling, North Myrtle Beach spokesman.
Additionally, the amount of the premium will differ based on where the other properties are located.
Property owners should be able to find out the amount of the discount for which they may qualify through their insurance agents, Dowling said. It that proves impossible, Dowling said the information is available by calling the city’s Planning Department at 280-5566.
Market Common pool
Officials at The Market Common gave the Myrtle Beach Community Appearance Board a look at plans for a swimming pool and clubhouse across Phillis Boulevard from the back entrance to Barnes & Noble.
Board members reportedly had a favorable reaction to the plan and suggested no changes, but also took no vote because theirs was just an informal review.
A description of what’s planned was among the information in a 2012 application to rezone the property.
It said the pool development would be on approximately 3 acres and would include a pool, a kid’s pool, splash pad, lazy river and two volleyball courts. It will also have a clubhouse, according to the plan reviewed at the CAB meeting.
The area is to be available on a membership basis to residents of The Market Common.
The site of the complex is in an area where fuel was stored when the land was within the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. The rezoning application said the Air Force has cleaned up any pollution from it, but must sign off on the pool plan before construction begins.
Officials of The Market Common said at the meeting that they still wanted to tweak the plan. It will need to be resubmitted for a formal review and vote by the CAB before the development can seek permits to build it.
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.