Bidders snap up land at auction

LYNNWOOD – Victor and Kathy Hiebe bought 10 acres of land near Klamath Falls, Ore., for $11,000.

It was easy, they said.

“I went to the bathroom, I came back and we’d bought land,” Victor Hiebe said.

The Florida couple were among an estimated 1,600 who descended on the Lynnwood Convention Center on Sunday for’s “Huge Land Auction.” The rapid-fire chatter of two auctioneers filled the packed main meeting room at the all-day event.

The company, a subsidiary of Portland, Ore.-based Radius Corp., is in the business of buying land and selling it at auctions, said chairman Stephen Seal. The company buys through distress sales, estate sales, government auctions, trusts and foreclosures and from private parties.

“We own everything we sell; we’re not Realtors or brokers,” Seal said.

The company runs three or four auctions per year on the West Coast, Seal said. This is the first time the company has held an auction in the Seattle area, with most of them taking place near Phoenix. The next one there is scheduled for Oct. 2. The company plans to have another event in the Seattle area in about a year, said employee Kris McKinney.

The crowd at the Lynnwood auction was pretty typical, Seal said. The company sold all 220 parcels it had for sale.

“It was a very successful day, we’re very pleased,” he said.

Many of the parcels for sale were in Washington state. The company sells parcels located all around the nation, but mostly in 12 Western states, Seal said.

The parcels are posted on the Auction Acres Web site about a month before the auction. The site contains a short description of the area around each parcel, and has links to maps of the plat, street and topography, as well as aerial photos of the property. Beyond that, there’s not a lot of detail.

“We certainly encourage bidders to do their research,” including visiting the property, Seal said.

Bidders register at the site of the auction, free of charge, on the day of the event and are given a packet explaining the procedure. Two auctions are held simultaneously – at one, the full sale price is bid upon, at the other, the bidding is on a down payment that is added to a pre-set loan amount. Financing is offered automatically with no credit checks, according to AuctionAcres.

Among the properties sold were a 5.64-acre parcel on the Columbia River for $30,000 and a 5.06-acre parcel near Klamath Falls for $9,000.

The Hiebes, who plan to retire in the Northwest to be closer to family, said they got a little lucky with their purchase. They bought their property early and the prices climbed thereafter, they said, but they planned to buy another parcel if the price was right. They enjoyed the event.

“It’s been very nice so far. We like it,” Kathy Hiebe said.

Not everyone was having an easy time finding the right deal. Alan Proctor of Renton was looking for a piece of land to use for hunting and fishing where he could possibly retire later.

“They’ve all been a little higher than I wanted to pay,” he said.

Reporter Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439 or

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