Downtown Properties Unveils Groundbreaking Auction Technology Enabling Homebuyers to Outsmart Real Estate Market

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Largest-ever simultaneous residential auction held downtown on February 8 with minimum bids as low as $195,000

With minimum bids on some units as low as $195,000, Downtown Properties will sell 79 of the 206 distinctive lofts in the historic Rowan building downtown on February 8th in the largest-ever simultaneous Internet auction of residential properties. Unlike conventional auctions where items are sold one after another in a high-pressure environment with the auctioneer calling the shots, Intellimarketâ„¢ is the only Internet auction system that sells all units simultaneously with the bidders determining the auction's pace and length. What this means is that all 79 Rowan lofts will be sold at the same time and bidders will be able to see the amount other buyers are bidding for every property during the entire auction on large bidding screens at the auction site or on their own computers through a secure Internet site. The auction clock resets every time a new bid is received so bidders have ample time to consider their next step. The auction ends when there has not been a bid submitted on any of the properties for a specified period of time.

"In a traditional auction, not only is the order in which the homes are sold not the best for most bidders, but since the bidding is done so quickly, buyers are under tremendous pressure to make a very important decision in literally a matter of seconds. This creates a situation where buyers often make a mistake, either bidding when they should not or not bidding when they should," says William R. Stevenson, auction pioneer and president of Intelligent Market Systems which developed the proprietary software used in its Intellimarket Internet Auction System. "Intellimarket gives the buyers of The Rowan's lofts ample time to make decisions and switch to other units if they are outbid. This versatility benefits everyone, including the seller who often gets better results because buyers are able to maximize their opportunities to purchase the home they most want."

Intellimarket was developed by Nobel Prize nominee and California Institute of Technology (Caltech) Professor Dr. Charles Plott who spent more than 10 years developing the proprietary, simultaneous auction software. While Intellimarket has been used to auction commercial and residential property, The Rowan auction is the largest simultaneous auction of residential units to be held anywhere. It's also the first real estate auction of lofts that has ever been held downtown.

"We have found that both buyers and sellers are very satisfied with the results of a simultaneous auction," says Plott. "The transparency of the auction gives buyers the confidence that they are not paying over the market rate. Sellers secure higher prices for the property by allowing buyers to switch their bids from unit to unit and save marketing costs by selling so many units at one time."

Buyers interested in participating in the auction must first secure pre-qualification for a loan from the seller's preferred lender, complete a registration form and put down a "good fund" deposit. They will then be issued a personal identification code that they will use during the bidding process. Buyers are advised to tour all of the units in their price range before the auction and rank the ones they are most interested in purchasing, so that they can easily switch from unit to unit in the event that they are outbid. The sales office is offering all registered bidders tutorials and "How to Buy" seminars so they understand how to participate in this unique auction.

The Rowan is located on the corner of 5th and Spring Streets in the heart of downtown's Old Bank District. Built in 1911 by famed real estate developer Robert A. Rowan, and designed by John Parkinson, one of LA's most distinguished architects, and G. Edwin Bergstrom, The Rowan was home to many of the city's oldest and most prominent law offices and stock brokerage firms during the golden years of Los Angeles' downtown financial district.

The Rowan's 13 stories now feature 206 live/work condominiums with 9,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor, all covered under the Mills Act which rewards owners with a significant reduction in property taxes in exchange for the continued preservation of historic landmarks. The 15 distinctive residential floor plans include studio, one- and two-bedroom configurations with one or two full bathrooms. Every unit contains original exposed brick walls, 15-foot-high ceilings, oversized windows trimmed in mahogany and top-of-the-line designer kitchens and bathrooms.

Goodwin Gaw, president of Downtown Properties, renovated The Rowan in partnership with global investment bank Morgan Stanley. Killifer Flammang Architects, whose expertise in adaptive reuse restoration is unparalleled, oversaw the meticulous renovation of The Rowan that maintained the building's historic character.

Initial buyer interest and preliminary sales of The Rowan have been very positive with some 300 people touring the building in the first three days after the auction was announced. With 30 of The Rowan's 206 lofts already purchased in pre-sales, the 79 units that will be auctioned off will result in well over 50 percent of the building being sold at its opening. The enforcement of strict federal lending policies requires that 50 percent of the building is sold before any escrow can be closed.

For additional information or to set up a tour, contact The Rowan sales office at 213-213-1898.

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Ashley Greer
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