New Casey Key home brings record $6.49 million in auction

Heritage Auctions' marketing campaign makes $6.5M splash

Chris Angermann

The recent record-breaking auction price tag of $6.49 million for a beachfront Casey Key home sale reflects today's booming Sarasota luxury market as well as a unique approach to selling real estate. 

Heritage Auctions partnered with local real estate broker Stephen Smith for the March 23 sale. With an assessed value of $3,277,400, the two-story, newly built mansion at 2905 Casey Key Road was on the market for only 29 days. The sale also commanded the highest price per heated square footage for a Gulf-front, private beach home – $1,215.

"It was a truly global event and the ensuing bidding war garnered incredible results," said Nate Schar, director of luxury real estate for Heritage Auctions. "We were able to sell the home 1,100 times faster than average, and for nearly double the price."

More:Rents continue to rise in Sarasota, Bradenton

More:Downtown Sarasota retail/apartment property sells for $3.8 million

Subscribers Only:Sign up for our Subscriber Exclusive newsletter for more subscriber-only stories.

“Last year’s average Gulf-front property sale on Casey Key took 321 days to contract,” Smith said. "The Heritage Auctions process is effective, efficient, and quick as evidenced by this sale. Sellers prefer a date-certain sale, instead of a lengthy listing process filled with market uncertainties.”

Started in 1976 and based in Dallas, Heritage Auctions is the largest auctioneer in the United States, and third largest company in the world after Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Its departments deal with 43 categories, including coins, sports and movie memorabilia, paintings, comics, dinosaur bones, comic book, and video games.

This Florida Coastal Colonial-style home at 2905 Casey Key Road in Nokomis was auctioned without reserve on March 23.

“As the world’s largest auction house of collectibles, we were speaking with our millionaire and billionaire clients on a daily basis. At some point, we said, ‘Why not add real estate properties to our portfolio,’” Schar said.

The company has auctioned houses designed by major architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, and modernist O’Neil Ford. Over the past 15 years, its sales in the luxury market in Naples and on the Gulf Coast have exceeded $50 million.

When Heritage Auctions finds a suitable property, it teams up with a local partner, in this case, Smith. His company, Elite Realty Brokerage, has its main office in downtown Sarasota, with satellite locations in Tampa and Ocala.

“We have to have a broker who can bring local market knowledge and contacts. Stephen has a clientele base at the level we want,” Schar said.

The combination of Heritage Auction’s international platform and local contacts resulted in a marketing campaign blitz that reached 47 countries.

The combination of Heritage Auction’s extensive, international platform and Smith’s Florida contacts resulted in a marketing campaign blitz that reached 47 countries. “We had nearly a million website visits and hundreds of inquiries,” Schar said.

Smith arranged for onsite, private tours of the property for interested buyers. “We also provided video 3-D tours, slide shows and other documentation – everything a buyer needs to do due diligence,” Schar said. “Some bidders participated sight unseen, trusting their relationship with us.”

The auction took place at the Casey Key house with 11 bidders participating from as far away as Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, and Texas. Some joined via a live simulcast. The successful bid came from a Maryland buyer who wanted the home as a vacation surprise for his wife and family.

With a sizzling hot luxury real estate market, Heritage Auctions seeks to expand its presence and range. Its next auction is the Trini Lopez Estate in Palm Springs, California, on April 13.

“We’re talking to sellers all over the United States and in Florida who have heard about our results and want to know more,” Shar said.

“Heritage brings a sense of excitement and exclusivity to the table that more local agents need to be aware of,” Smith said. “I look forward to working with Heritage again in the near future."