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For more information contact:
Kyla Barcus (800) 444-5044
kbarcus@unitedcountry.com


LEADING THE WAY -
One Year After Starting New Auction Division, United Country Leads Industry

January 2008 - AUCTIONEER MAGAZINE
Editor, Steve Baska

Auctioneers Mike Jones, CAI, GPPA, and Shawn Terrel, CAI, AARE, are helping United Country Real Estate change the way the traditional real estate industry operates. Today this giant real estate company of 683 offices teaches a blended approach of considering auctions and traditional brokerage for every property.

In December 2006, Jones was hired as president to start the new division: United County Auction Services, and Terrel was hired as vice president a month later. United Country Real Estate & United Country Auction Services is the largest fully integrated organization of Auctioneers and real estate professionals in America.

“It takes vision and capital to start a division like this,” Jones said.

In the first 10 months, Jones and Terrel have welcomed over 50 veteran Auctioneers onboard as United Country franchisees across the country, nearly triple the projected number anticipated. Among these are many NAA members and leaders. When United Country’s traditional brokers have properties to auction, Jones and Terrel refer the brokers to the veteran real estate Auctioneers.

The result has been a boom in the number of auctions conducted by United Country franchisees.

“We auctioned $86.5 million in property as of November, 2007, which is only nine months after our auction division started. We expect to hit $100million for the first year, and so far this year we have evaluated over$532 million in properties proposed for auction,” said Terrel.

United Country (UC) has more than 3,500affiliates and specializes in rural properties. Only five to 10 percent of the company’s 683 offices were doing any auctions before one year ago, and there was no auction education or marketing to them. But Jones and Terrel have spent substantial time teaching these traditional brokers in regional meetings about the benefits of auctions. Some brokers are also attending Texas Auction Academy, owned by Jones.

“We do not expect them to instantly become real estate Auctioneers, but we want them to understand how Auctioneers think, how to identify properties for auction, qualifying buyers and sellers, and how to network with Auctioneers,” Jones said.

With heightened awareness conventional offices are now considering the auction method of marketing as a viable solution to their clients needs.

“We could not be happier with how business has gone in 2007, and 2008 should be even better.”

Terrel said new programs in 2008 include a residential and land mortgage program offered to buyers. “The idea is for buyers and sellers to have a one-stop shop in United Country. We can take care of all their needs,” he said. This will also include referrals to UC Auctioneers who can sell an estate’s personal property, as well as the real estate. The United Country home warranty program has already been implemented for selling homes at auction.

“A home warranty at auction is something new for most Auctioneers since we usually sell in As-Is condition, but the warranty can provide more confidence and raise the value of the property,” Jones said.

United Country Auction Services was not created as a reaction to the declining real estate market. Conversely United’s leadership recognized the auction method’s increased global acceptance and wanted to use it as a blended model, combining auctions and traditional methods for selling real estate. The ability to leverage over 60 professional home office employees and more than 30 field staff gives United Country the competitive edge needed in today’s ever changing market place. United Country’s infra-structure provides their franchisees with technology support, marketing solutions, business planning, training, education, and consulting services.

Terrel said the UC franchisees have been extremely open to the auction method because many are from rural areas where farm and livestock auctions have been a tradition, so adding real estate is a natural fit. “When you look at the socio-demographic profile of buyers and sellers that United Country has been dealing with for over 82 years, it is perfectly in line with the same buyers and sellers we have been dealing with for years in the auction industry. That is what made this company the perfect partner for auctioneers and auction marketing companies.”

“At first we were concerned that some of the traditional brokers would see auctions as competition, but that was not the case. In fact, brokers and agents are looking for a competitive advantage and new ways to sell property, so they have been extremely open to learning about the auction method of marketing.”

“As United Country continues to expand, we become further established in urban and commercial/industrial markets” Terrel said.

Jones and Terrel continue educating their brokers through articles in UC magazines and publications. A recent article explained the method and benefits of well executed multi-parcel auction. The auction division also recently hired a new Director of Marketing, Kevin Oldham. Oldham’s advertising background delivers cutting edge marketing concepts combined with a wealth of experience and education.

FFA PARTNERSHIP

An important partnership was recently formed with the Future Farmers of America (FFA) as UC conducted the FFA’s annual alumni auction in November at the 2007 FFA Convention in Indianapolis, IN. United Country Auctioneers from across the U.S. participated in conducting the live auction fundraising event sponsored by the FFA Alumni Association. The auction was a fundraising record for the annual event, drawing in nearly 850 on-site bidders and over 40 on-line bidders.

For the first time, the FFA’s live auction was broadcast around the world through a live Internet simulcast. Online buyers accounted for over 20 percent of the auction’s total sales.

“We registered Internet bidders from 22 states and three different countries (New Zealand, Brazil and Canada) and received over 220 pre-bids on 57 lots prior to the auction. The high ticket item of the night was a 2008 Ford F-150pickup that sold on-site for $24,500 with the runner-up bidder being online,” Terrel said.

AUCTIONEER FRANCHISEES

Veteran Auctioneers say they are finding great success with United Country. Former NAA President Larry J. Theurer, CAI, GPPA of Wellington, KS said “Last summer I contacted the owners of a 7,000 acre ranch in Nebraska about selling their property. The sellers were aware of United Country and agreed to meet with me to further discuss the marketing and selling of the ranch. We were fortunate to be able to sell their ranch this past November for 25 percent more than appraised value. I feel confident our firm would not have been selected to sell the ranch had we not been associated with United Country."

Auctioneer Leroy Hendren, of Jay, OK, said “I have been in the real estate auction business for 15 years and joined United Country approximately 3 years ago. I was apprehensive at first about paying a royalty fee to anyone since we were enjoying a stable auction market in our area along with what I considered to be steady and normal growth. But over the past 3 years since joining United Country our company has doubled it’s growth in numbers and in revenue. I attribute most of this growth to United Country Auction Services, a working national network, lead flow, access to buyers, professional advice, cutting edge technology, and technical support in the field. I believe that three major things have advanced my career in the auction business, joining the NAA, going to CAI, and my affiliation with United Country.”

Mike Fisher, president and CEO of United Country - The Redfield Group, of Alabama, said “I have been in the high end real estate auction business since1999 and have looked at several programs that were attempting to build a national network of auction professionals. I can say that, after years of searching, United Country has developed the best model to accomplish just that. Although we market on a national scale, United Country has added value that can not be found anywhere else in our industry. Web traffic of nearly1,000,000 visits per month, national advertising of listings, third party relationships and a database of over 300,000 profiled buyers has added tools to our already powerful marketing campaigns that truly separates us from any of our competition. United Country is a very strong organization that is positioned perfectly to take real estate auctions to the next level.”

Auctioneer David R. Hudgins CAI, AARE, of Fairview, TN, said “I conducted 33auctions since May 1st, as United Country – Hudgins, 13 of those auctions were United Country referrals. Five of our auctions had high bidders, out-of-state, from the United Country Confidentials list. All of those bid over the phone during the live auction. Yesterday, our 113 acre Tennessee farm sold toa United Country buyer from Maryland. The back-up bidder was a United Country buyer from Virginia. Another bidder drove up from Atlanta, GA to participate, again from the United Country Confidentials list.

The marketing has exceeded all expectations! Our Dec. 4,Southern Colonial on 50 acres, attracted 4,900 visitors and inquiries. We had to hire an additional staff member to manage the inquiries and replies for our last three auctions. I cannot even imagine what is ahead for us in 2008!”

United Country Real Estate and United Country Auction Services are the only national real
estate and auction franchise systems specializing in residential, farm and ranch, trophy,
commercial and recreational properties in cities and towns across America.  The company
currently publishes nine niche real estate magazines and executes a marketing program that attracts more than 2.4 million visitors a month to its 725 owned and operated web sites including 925,000 visitors a month to: www.unitedcountry.com, the leading real estate web site in its market. United Country
® reaches more than 90 million homes each week through its national advertising
of franchisee-listed properties in various local, regional and national print media outlets. With a heritage that dates back to 1925 and headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., the company supports 700 franchisees in 44 states and markets a national database of properties valued at over $9 billion
at www.unitedcountry.com.

NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS
2820 NW Barry Road, Kansas City, MO 64154
816-420-6200  www.unitedcountry.com

   
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