May 20, 2012|By Jan Hefler, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Pam Chandler decided to accompany her husband, Bob, to the extraordinary auction of an Ocean City, N.J., mansion Saturday to keep him from “going overboard.”
But an hour after she toured the 7,000-square-foot Victorian-style house on the Great Bay, she was the one prodding him to stay in the frenzied bidding on the breezy bayside veranda.
The Chandlers, who live in Rumson, Monmouth County, with their three children, won the auction, ultimately paying $3.9 million for a property that was listed at about $6.5 million two years ago. It is assessed at $5 million.
The sale, conducted by Premiere Estates, a Los Angeles auction company, was a rare, absolute auction with no minimum bid. That such a strategy would be used on a luxury home is reflective of the uncertain Jersey Shore real estate market, local Realtors say.
“It’s a novelty, marketing the property this way,” said an Ocean City Realtor who went to observe. “And look at the activity. I guess if it goes really well, it could start something.”
Nineteen registered bidders were among the 70 people who watched the 15-minute drama unfold at 279 Bayshore Dr. Outside, people on bikes and foot gathered to watch.
Pam Chandler said her aunt, who lives in the area, had told her about the auction, and she and her husband decided to check it out that day without having had a preview. Over the last six weeks, more than 2,000 people toured the place during open houses and through appointments, auction representatives said.
Chandler said the “spectacular water view” sold her on the property.
Her husband, a public relations executive in New York City, went along with her. “She was the one, and when I saw her face, I said we’re doing it,” he said. “I just got into the zone.”
… But Bob Chandler said he didn’t need much coaxing. He grew up in nearby Linwood and has fond childhood memories of going to Ocean City. The couple have owned a beachfront house there for the last five years, but it’s half the size of the Bayshore Drive house.
“This house is big, but it has a human scale to it, with many nooks and crannies,” he said.
Some of their new neighbors came over after the auction and congratulated the couple. “They seemed terrific. They’ve already welcomed us,” Chandler said.
At their primary home, the Chandlers live about a mile from Bruce Springsteen. They said his children attend the same school as theirs, who are 9, 8, and 3, and they attend his annual fund-raising performances for the school at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park.
Among the other bidders was Charlie Kerbeck, one of three brothers who own Cadillac and luxury car dealerships in Camden and Atlantic Counties. Before the auction, he said he had a summer home nearby and was tempted to replace it if the price was right and “if my wife loves it.” He wouldn’t divulge what he planned to bid.
Afterward, another disappointed bidder who identified himself only as John from Upper Holland in Bucks County, said his adviser had stopped him from going beyond his $3.2 million bid. “I would have liked to get it,” he said.
“There will be other ones,” his wife said.
Ed Kaminsky, president of the auction house, said the bidders came from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, Chicago, and Florida. One in California entered his bids through a representative who spoke with him by cellphone. The turnout, Kaminsky said, exceeded his expectations. The house is one of the few East Coast properties he is handling.
Edward and Barbara Idzik, the sellers, watched the bidding from their neighbor’s deck next door.
“I’m very happy,” Barbara Idzik said. “We’ve had the property on the market two years and it is very stressful. You have to show it and wait for the comments coming back. With this, there’s an ending and that in itself is a relief.”
The retired couple, in their 70s, are building a house in Montgomery County, to be closer to their two children and three grandchildren. They had their custom “dream house” built 12 years ago on the lot they have owned since 1986.
Until their new house is finished, they plan to live on their 50-foot yacht, which is in the harbor, and which they will later sell.
Edward Idzik said he, too, was pleased with the outcome of the auction.
“I thought it was going to be right in that range,” he said of the offer.
A few months after they listed the house, they got an offer for $4 million in cash. But Edward Idzik said the offer was “loaded with contingencies. … They wanted the furniture to be included.”
If these buyers don’t want the furniture, he said, an estate sale will be held June 2 and 3.
“Then we’ll be able to move on,” he said. “It’s all behind us now.”