A COUPLE IN Co Offaly have said that negative equity forced them to get creative when selling their home. Linda and David Gibb are trying to sell their five-bedroom home in Clara through a reverse auction on a website.
Last Friday, TheJournal.ie reported on the efforts of a house owner in Mulligar, Co Westmeath to sell his house in a similar manner. Rob Reynolds has put his house up on a new website Cabinbee.com, run by a property agent and auctioneer, where people pay €50 to enter a bid on the house. In this case the LOWEST unique bid wins the property and bidders are advised that they shouldn’t put in a bid of over €500.
The Gibbs are also trying to sell their home in this way. They set up their website, BackwardsBid.com, last September. They are offering auction credits for €30 a go and are keeping the auction open until December 2012. Linda Gibb told TheJournal.ie:
We were initially going to run it for nine months to make it interesting and give it an end date, so people would know, ‘Okay, by such-and-such a time, I’ll either have won a house for €30 or not’. But it has taken off quite slowly. We didn’t take into account the cost of advertising the auction and the problem lies for us in letting people know that this is genuine. The people who know us know that it’s genuine, but those who don’t might think, ‘I don’t believe it – a house for €30? That can’t be right.’ But it is.
Nonetheless, the couple are going to continue with their auction until December. Linda says they will have had to attract 11,000 bids to the site to make it worth their while. Currently, they have had 1,000 bids. When asked if she felt now that they would manage to hit their target, she said: “I wouldn’t say we were confident, exactly, but I would say that we are hopeful.”
The Gibbs have pledged to return every €30 to each bidder should they not reach the target and have to hold on to their house. Linda said:
We will have no other alternative but to suck it up. It won’t be easy though (to cope with the mortgage). I would like to go back to work – I retrained as an accountant – but the work just isn’t there. We are in negative equity so we can’t sell because it would leave us in debt and I think that the way things are, we had no other alternative.
I don’t regret it – and I hope it works for that man in Mullingar too. The way we look at it, statistically you have more chance of winning our house than of getting four numbers in the Lottery.
The Gibbs have had their house valued at €289,000. Were they to hit 11,000 bids, they would take in a gross total of €333,000 – but legal fees and other levies would have to be taken from that.