Published: April 19, 2022
The items consigned for auction are often a side effect of real estate transactions: when people move, they may decide they no longer wish to own – or have space in their new residence – for a particular item. It is not unusual for auctioneers to develop relationships with realtors who can help source items for sale. Leland Little Auctions has decided to cut out the middleman and recently announced it was adding real estate to its list of departments, to be headed by Beth Louden. We sat down with Louden for some insights on why this partnership makes sense and what she is looking for.
Leland Little has a pretty diverse portfolio of categories of things it sells. What was the reasoning behind adding real estate?
Leland has maintained a North Carolina Real Estate license as long as his world-class auction business has existed. With significant growth over the years, including adding specialist departments such as Sporting Arts, Fine Wine & Whisky and Estate and Collector Vehicles, in addition to constructing a fine new building on the campus, it is a great time to add an exciting, and sought after, new Properties service to the incredible mix. And to partner with me to put that license to work for current and future clients.
Beth, tell us a little more about your background and why this is a good fit for you?
A deep interest in Real Property runs in my DNA. Although my dad was an attorney, you would find his nose deep in deed books looking for a good fit for his real estate portfolio. He bought land for all four of his kids when we were born, with the intention of selling the land as we approached college age in order to pay for our tuition. That strategy worked – we all paid for and received our diplomas!
My 40-plus years as a North Carolina resident and 20-plus years as a realtor provides ‘boots on the ground’ knowledge of real estate in North Carolina and helps me understand one of the most important factors in real estate investment – Location. North Carolina has grown exponentially and continues to grow, attracting both individuals and businesses. I approach every opportunity to help a buyer or seller as if it’s my own investment in real estate. I take my fiduciary responsibility very seriously.”
Will properties be offered at auction, or will they be handled like more traditional real estate transactions?
We are excited to provide traditional buyer and seller services with our new boutique Properties department. It will not surprise us if a customer asks us to auction property…we’ll keep an open mind about that service in our future when the appropriate property presents itself.
Auction houses seem like a natural partner with realtors so it’s a little surprising more auction houses don’t have similar departments. What are some of the hidden pitfalls that might not be obvious?
Traditional real estate services entail a unique set of qualifications, including an in-depth knowledge of location, specific licensure requirements and memberships, continuing education and a skill set different from auction services.
Does Leland Little have criteria for taking on properties for sale? Can you describe what those are?
We are licensed as brokers in North Carolina so one criterion is NC properties. Our current and past portfolios include signature properties of a one-of-a-kind nature. Our current listing is renovated, historic, and significant in our ‘hometown’ Hillsborough, in the $1.5 million range.
Do you have properties already lined up?
We have already helped buyers and sellers: a rare vacant lot in historic downtown Chapel Hill, a light-filled home in sought-after Fearrington Village, and our current listing, The B.B. Forrest Estate in historic, happening Hillsborough to name a few. All of our listings will appear on our Leland Little Properties site and in Triangle Multiple Listings.
What can you tell us about those properties?
Here is the link to our current listing:
What are some of the challenges you’ve come across in selling historic properties?
It is a rare bird who loves historic and new homes equally, especially to purchase and own. Historic properties are in a category of their own and even if the historic property is romantically enticing, often practicality takes over. Therefore, the number one challenge is that the market for historic properties is smaller. The number two challenge is if a buyer is not familiar with the issues that could arise in historic properties, including historic covenants, it is difficult to explain. If an owner has not maintained a property well, buyers may be scared off by not-so-pretty conditions that are easily remedied by time and money. All homes have an interesting soul; the historic ones have an older one with more developed character and stories to tell.
Of the historic properties you’ve handled in your career, does any stand out as particularly memorable, and what made it so?
Just like not picking a favorite child, I have loved all the historic properties I’ve worked with because each is unique. A very impressive property I’ve had the pleasure of working with is Burnside in the heart of Hillsborough, yet just outside the Historic District. Living witness to history since 1800s, charming 1817 Ruffin Law office that included an elegant yet casual exquisitely updated 1834 main residence, an 1880s annex and a five-bay modern carriage house on original footings now a great studio or apartment: intact dependencies including kitchen house, barn, pavilion and necessary grace arboretum-like grounds.
Are each of the properties you manage ready to move in the next day, or do you also auction homes that require restoration?
The current circa 1910 property we have listed is beautifully renovated by a local renowned architect and completely move-in ready. A recent sale of ours needs total restoration. So, we have both and are selling in a traditional seller/buyer real estate transaction, not as auction properties. It is our intention to continue as a traditional boutique residential properties company and not endeavor in auctioning properties unless a client or property requests that and it makes sense to explore.
-Madelia Hickman Ring & Z.G. Burnett
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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