A personal view of Knowlton, Quebec, the Eastern Townships most beautiful village.

Going Once, Going Twice...SOLD!
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Get your bids in!Brome Lake is taking a somewhat novel approach to selling off some prime real estate on Knowlton Road, the main thoroughfare in Lac Brome. The former Legion Community Center will be auctioned off to the highest bidder in a silent auction! With the recent construction of several condos nearby and the imminent explosion of the Brome Lake economy it would seem that this is a juicy piece of real estate and not a candidate for a silent auction which are typical of charity fundraising events and notorious for bringing in low offers.

Anyone keeping track of the Knowlton real estate market has seen properties remaining on the market for months and in some cases years. Sellers who have seen their properties listed for over a year remain positive that Knowlton will increase her population and their properties will eventually be sold. The fact that the Town has unceremoniously announced that the Legion Community Center and land it sits on will be sold in less than two months in a silent auction doesn’t seem to parallel the existing market reality or even any precedent but it is certainly a good way to ensure the land can be sold rapidly.

The Town has set the minimum bid at $200,000. If someone has one dollar more than that minimum bid and they were the only bidder they could potentially walk away with a piece of real estate worth five times that. But what is the real worth of the local real estate? Recent property listings of houses and buildings for sale on Knowlton Road have shown prices well beyond $200,000. A search of the Coldbrook Realty website (a Knowlton real estate company: ColdBrook Realty) lists two properties within 2 km of this property for sale at prices ranging from $987,000 to $1.2 million so this seems to be quite a deal! Of course the Legion Community Center is quite a decrepit building that may be better suited to being torn down so hopefully a developer will acquire this land for a song and tear down the existing structure and build a nice condo unit for a very decent price.

Some feel that selling the land by auction is a great idea as it will get the property sold quickly and the funds raised can then be used by the Town. Bringing in new housing and new businessess means more people and a livlier economy...so it's all a step in the right direction!

The last evaluation of the property was over $280,000 and the minimum bid on the property is $200,000. This year’s evaluations of surrounding properties in the vicinity have gone up but this particular property has had the last evaluation go down making this an even better deal for a prospective buyer. The fact that the one property that seems to defy evaluations is being sold at a silent auction in a rather accelerated process gives some folks food for though and any conspiracy theorists who also have seen cigar-shaped crafts hovering over Brome Lake might also wonder if this is being arranged for the benefit of someone in particular. Typically such auctions are held in the sale of properties that have been negligent in payment of taxes and then are usually sold at the market evaluation. This “fire sale” seems to put the minimum bid well below the last evaluation which itself was not necessarily in tune with surrounding evaluations… is this better than a going out of business sale? Some think yes, but again; by selling at an auction with a time limit at least the parcel of land will be sold quickly and the money can be used by the Town for improvements in Knowlton.

The winning bid will be announced May 22nd 2007 by the Town of Brome so anyone interested in picking up some good land should open up their piggy banks!

While some hope the property will become the new home of a Tim Horton’s or a Kentucky Fried Chicken the popular polls are betting on a condo development being built. Whatever pops up on the busy corner it will surely be remembered in Knowlton history as the one piece of property that sold in the style of Ebay…actually, when you think about it, listing the land for sale on Ebay or LesPac wouldn’t be a bad idea!

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