Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Nebraska ranch auction sets new record

CALLAWAY, NE—Despite national headlines about falling real estate prices, a new record price for Custer County irrigated farmland was set at a recent auction. More than 120 farmers and ranchers gathered at the Callaway Community Center to bid on the 2,055-acre Isaacs Cattle Company ranch.

The ranch held irrigated farmland, native range land, barns, houses, and outbuildings. Believing these different elements would appeal to different buyers, Musser Brothers, Inc. and Ruhter Auction and Realty divided the ranch into six tracts. Participating in a Power Parcels™ process, the bidders could bid on individual parcels, parcel combinations, or the property as a whole. At the end of two hours of bidding, the property sold in four pieces—two single tracts and two combinations, bringing total sale price of $2,280,000.

The record, however, was set in the first round, when a bid of $800,000 was placed on a 177-acre parcel of irrigated pasture. With a per-acre price of $4,519, both the auctioneers and the buyers were in unprecedented territory. In subsequent rounds of vigorous bidding, the record-setting parcel was eventually combined with an improved parcel. Auction company president, Harold Musser, commented, "It's difficult to determine how much that parcel's per-acre price achieved beyond the record-setting opening bid, as it sold in combination with another parcel; but the final price was markably higher."

The high price didn't seem to concern the winning buyers. Keith Carlson, whose final bid won him a parcel commented, "It was fair. You have a chance to come back and bid again on the parcel or parcels that you wanted." Another successful bidder agreed, "The Power Parcels™ process allowed me to eventually own the piece that I wanted the most. After being outbid on the combination that I wanted, I was still able to bid on and ultimately end up with the parcel that I really wanted to buy."

Some of the spectators in the room were eying the Power Parcels™ process for consideration for their own properties. One attendee divulged, "I am entrusted with the sale of my uncle's estate and I feel this is a great way to market his property." Walt Whaley, a registered bidder, liked the bidding system. He commented, "Totally amazed. The best way to do it. I would sure consider using that method to sell if I ever wanted to sell." Another bidder agreed, " I like the flexibility of bidding on the different parcels and different combination of parcels. It does bring out the maximum possible sale price to the seller."

"We're just happy to have pleased our sellers," beamed Musser, "But it feels good to be recognized, when you're implementing new technology. When you have happy sellers and buyers and even spectators—well, you can't ask for much more than that."

Harold Musser is available for questions and further comments at (307) 587-2131 and at hrmusser@mbauction.com. Musser Brothers, Inc. is a regional auction company with offices in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington. More information about the auction event, the PowerParcels™ system, and the company can be found at www.mbauction.com.

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