Bidders snap up properties at Montcalm County auction

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 8:36 am on Thursday, September 27, 2012

Auctioneer Marty Spaulding points to a bidder during the no minimum bid public land auction. — Daily News/Cory Smith

STANTON — Unfinished properties in Greenville’s Forest View development were hot commodities at Tuesday’s annual Montcalm County no minimum bid foreclosure auction.

Aaron Koehn spent a total of $65,250 on four unfinished townhouses — an average of $16,312.50 each. The four townhouses had conditionally sold just moments before — three for $13,250 each and one for $10,000 — but bidders were then given the option to purchase all four as a package deal. Koehn also purchased an empty parcel in the same development for $2,600.

“We’re going to turn them into livable residences,” Koehn said. “We’re going to finish what was started.”

Jamshid Zaharaie raises his bidding card in an attempt to purchase a piece of property. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Mark Lehman spent $22,500 on about 25 acres north of and adjacent to the Forest View development. It was his first experience at a land auction.

“I’m probably going to build on it,” Lehman said. “It’s just beautiful property.”

Vito Dolci spent $35,500 on about 14 acres west of and adjacent to the Forest View development, while Doug Shelden bid $29,500 on behalf of Elaine Lehnert for an unfinished duplex in the Forest View development.

One online bidder spent $36,500 on an unfinished duplex, while another online bidder spent $1,200 on a vacant parcel, both in the Forest View development.

In Cato Township near Lakeview, multiple properties in the Honeymoon Heights area were up for bid. Shane Siedenburg, who lives in neighboring Belvidere Township, spent $1,000 on nine of those parcels.

“It’s the American dream,” said Siedenburg, who has been buying up Honeymoon Heights properties for three years now. “I’ve been trying to buy a 10-acre square up in the corner. I’ve been trying to buy the whole section. These properties are always bouncing around at the tax auctions. The taxes are so high.”

Siedenburg is hopeful that ongoing tax reform work will make the properties more attractive for ownership.

“All those lots are unbuildable,” he said. “They won’t perk and they’re DEQ wetlands. They’re good for cutting wood and hunting.”

The long abandoned and condemned Amble gas station on M-46 in Winfield Township finally has a new owner after a bidding war. Paul Bazner ended up spending $10,5000 to be named winner.

“I’ve been in this line of work for a while, and I’ve titled this thing (the gas station) maybe 10 times since the 1980s,” observed Marty Spaulding, the general manager of Title Check in Kalamazoo, which managed the auction in the Montcalm County Administrative Building in Stanton.

Katherine Joslyn, left, bids on a piece of property as fellow bidder William Wilkin laughs at the antics of auctioneer Marty Spaulding. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Montcalm County Treasurer JoAnne Vukin said she was very pleased with how the auction was handled. She said the county generated $244,650 on the no minimum bid auction Tuesday, which will cover the taxes and fees that Montcalm County has already paid on the total of 111 foreclosed properties this year. Half of those properties were previously sold at a minimum bid auction in August.

“Hopefully next year, the county will not have so many parcels it has to foreclose on,” Vukin said.

Anyone who knows they will not be able to pay their 2010 taxes, which are now in forfeiture and will officially be foreclosed on April 1, 2013, is encouraged to request more time to pay their delinquent taxes at a show cause hearing scheduled for Jan. 10, 2013. Vukin has the ability to withhold taxes from foreclosure if a taxpayer qualifies for financial hardship.

Call the Montcalm County Treasurer’s Office in Stanton at (989) 831-7334 for more information.

The room on the third floor of the Montcalm County Administration Building in Stanton was filled above capacity Tuesday afternoon as people gathered to place bids at the no minimum bid public land auction. — Daily News/Cory Smith

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