No longer a dumping ground, auctions become viable option for luxury home sellers

Bob and Karin Weber built their dream home 14 years ago, creating an 11,000-square-foot mountaintop oasis. Now that the couple is in their 70s, they're ready to downsize.

The Webers tried the traditional list-and-wait method of selling the 35-acre Elk Ridge Ranch but decided to put their estate up for auction, hoping for a streamlined process and a more lucrative result.

Auctions have become a viable option for selling luxury homes, mirroring marketing techniques for antiques and collectibles.

The National Association of Realtors says properties costing more than $1 million represent about 3 percent of the total housing market.

With sales of luxury homes and prices on the rise, sellers can use an auction to control the structure of the sale, set a firm deadline for the transaction and hope a bidding war will send the price higher.