Cher's house auction: Just a marketing tool, folks

cher's house
cher's house

Real estate auctions began cropping up about four years ago, generally in places overbuilt with cookie-cutter homes. Initially, banks were auctioning off foreclosed properties. Then developers joined the bandwagon, trying to move their unsold inventory.

Bargains galore, right? Well, not exactly. In some cases, buyers got a bargain -- maybe a few grand below the neighborhood cops . But if it was bank-owned, they lost the right to home-seller disclosures, since banks don't have to tell you about property defects, even when they know about them. But in most cases, fear, wariness of the process and the fact that headlines told buyers daily that they were in the driver's seat and needn't rush into anything, kept them on the sidelines.