By Rachel Pritchett
PORT ORCHARD — At times, the Friday-morning foreclosure auctions
outside the Kitsap County Administration Building can take your
That happened to me April 15, when one of the largest foreclosures properties of the year, the aborted Blossom Hill development on Bainbridge Island, went back to the bank on a couple of mortgages totaling $27 million that went bad.
This past Friday, I watched a waterfront home on Bainbridge Island auctioned off to an investor for $226,000, less than half its assessed value.
Foreclosure deals so common these days can yield a lot of money for investors. But there’s also risk, and unforeseen expenses can turn things south quickly for novices who don’t know what they’re doing.
About six bidders stood ready to sweep in as three dozen others watched with interest. That’s unusual — lots of foreclosed home simply revert to the banks. No one shows.
But Crystal Springs Drive on southwest Bainbridge Island has a stunning view of passing ferries and boaters. It’s in a historic community focused on the Point White Dock, a popular place for anglers and swimmers.
The minimum bid on the house was $93,484.
Bidding started with several people upping each other in painfully small increments of $100. Then it narrowed down to a couple of bidders, but it wasn’t over for a good half hour.
I spoke with Steven Hughes of Hughes Construction of Bainbridge Island. He claimed the homeowner owed him $105,000 for a renovation he did a few years back. He wanted his money.
The problem with the Crystal Springs Drive house, at least according to Hughes, is that it sits at the bottom of a steep bank. He claims the house has foundation cracks.
“It’s a gorgeous view, but when you have a bank behind the house like that, it’s scary,” he said.
With foreclosure sales, it’s no sure thing the deal that’s hoped for will be the deal delivered. Foreclosure buyers need steel stomachs and live with the prospect there may be unknown expenses. Maybe or maybe not the steep bank will be a problem. In lots of cases, foreclosed homes are trashed by residents forced to move, and auction buyers can’t always get inside to get a look before they lay down thousands. Sometimes the property has sat empty for months.
One thing is for sure. Someone walked away with a waterfront home on Bainbridge for less than half of its assessed value.
The auctions start at 10 a.m. Maybe I’ll see you there.