By Catherine Reagor| January 20th, 2019
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Looking for a great deal on a really big house in metro Phoenix? Can't live without your own private basketball court and hair salon? Now may be your chance. 

Several Arizona multimillion-dollar mansions, including ones owned by baseball legend Randy Johnson and investment guru Peter Lynch, could soon go to the highest bidder in a live Scottsdale auction.

Usually when homes hit the auction block in metro Phoenix, it’s because lenders are foreclosing. But the owners of these posh mansions aren’t behind on their payments. Most paid cash when they bought.

They have been sitting for sale for a while.

The big-name sellers, as well as a hedge-fund executive who owns a Paradise Valley mega-mansion listed for $35 million four years ago, are opting to sell through a luxury auction firm in a process similar to how Christie’s sells art.

Concierge Auctions will start taking online bids for the Arizona houses Jan. 29 and then hold a live auction for final bids at the Phoenician Resort on Jan. 31. 

Home auctions for rich and famous

New York-based Concierge has sold billions of dollars of luxury homes, according to Forbes, including one owned by Valley businessman and GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons.

Johnson explained in a news release why he has decided to go the auction route with Concierge.

Inside look at Randy Johnson's $25 million home

Take an inside tour of former major league baseball player Randy Johnson's $25 million Paradise Valley home. Tom Tingle/azcentral.com

"My children have all since grown and gone off to college, and it’s time for us to move on and part from our family home as well," Johnson said.

It's the first statement from him about selling the 25,000-square-foot Paradise Valley estate since it was listed for $25 million In 2015.

“Just as you would sell art and cars through auctions, real estate auction firms provide an alternative platform to sell ultra-luxe properties efficiently within a given time frame," he said.

New York hedge fund executive Robert Sussman's "self-contained, elegant resort-like estate" with 36,000 square feet, 17 bathrooms, an indoor basketball court and hair salon was listed for $35 million in 2016. It is the priciest house ever listed for sale in Arizona.

“We have chosen Concierge Auctions to sell our home because of its expertise in the industry, and its impressive national and international reach to buyers," he said.

Concierge has also put up for auction properties outside of Arizona owned by Michael Jordan, Cher, Suzanne Somers and University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban.

Mansion sales slow

Multimillion-dollar-home sales slowed in Arizona and most of the rest of the U.S. during the last few months of 2018. Pricier homes are typically more impacted by stock market drops.

Most of the homes auctioned off by Concierge have been on the market for a few years, and sellers are more motivated.

Real-estate agents with those listings are also motivated because they still receive their commissions.

“The upcoming auction is a very compelling opportunity to own a spectacular Mediterranean estate (owned by Johnson) in the heart of Paradise Valley,” said Jonathan Friedland of Launch Real Estate, who has the listing with Robert Joffe.

Other Arizona mansion auctions

On Jan. 31, Concierge will also put these homes on the block:

  • Fidelity Magellan mutual fund guru Lynch’s 14,000-square-foot north Scottsdale estate, which was listed for $14 million in 2016. He built the eight-bedroom, 11½-bath home on 7.5 acres in the golf course community Estancia in 2006.
  • In Show Low, a 9,800-square-foot cabin-style house on six acres in the White Mountains, owned by Jerome and Lacye Weeks. It comes with an antique European front door, Brazilian walnut floors, a 4,000-square-foot storage barn and guest house. It was listed for $2.25 million and is selling with furnishings.

Going, going, gone ... or not

Not all homes that go on Concierge's auction block sell. Some, like Sussman's $35 million estate, have undisclosed minimum prices that the bids may not reach.

But also, some properties with no minimum bids like Johnson's mansion and the other two Arizona properties may not sell. 

According to Concierge "if the market dynamics don’t demonstrate that the auction will result in a fair, market-driven price, then the seller may elect to withdraw the property from auction." 

Three brownstone mansions in central Phoenix with interiors designed through a contest went up for auction by Concierge in July 2017. All three were listed for about $2.5 million.

Two of the five-story urban mansions haven't sold yet, but actor Frankie Muniz purchased the third for $1.25 million in September 2017. It's not clear If It was through the auction.

In 2017, a 124-foot-tall house in Prescott called the "world's tallest home" didn’t sell at a Concierge auction. Opening bids for “Falcon Nest” started at $750,000. The house had been listed for $3.99 million.

Last January, I watched the live online auction for a 12,000-square-foot stone mansion in Scottsdale’s Estancia. It had been listed for $6.99 million and sold to an out-of-state buyer for $4.375 million.

Get your cash ready and we’ll see what prices the hammers go down on — or don't — for the four Arizona properties to go to auction later this month.

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