Company Handles All Aspects Of Auction Process

OCEAN CITY – From foreclosures to estate auctions, from auctioning and appraisal of real estate to pots and pans, family owned and operated Marshall Auction-Marketing Company promises to eliminate the overwhelming feeling that often accompanies a sale or foreclosure, living up to their reputation as “the auction experts.”

Doug Marshall, CAI Auctioneer and president of Marshall Auctions, sat down with The Dispatch to discuss the ins and outs of the auction business, which has been a driving force in his family for three generations.

Marshall’s grandfather started the business in the 1950’s in Talbot County. At age seven, Marshall began to learn the ropes of the auction world under the guidance of his father and grandfather. In the late 90’s, Marshall made the decision to focus on the real estate sector of the auctioneer business, moving Marshall Auctions to Parsonsburg.

Today, Marshall Auction-Marketing Company is thriving and expanding. The company consists of two divisions, the Porter Marshall Group, a brokerage affiliate of Long and Foster, and Marshall Auctions.

The business has remained a true family business, with Marshall’s sister, Holly Marshall-Campbell, heading up the auction sector of the business as CEO.

“She runs the day-to-day operations. She really handles all the brutalities of real estate,” said Marshall.

Marshall’s wife Christal also has a hand in the business, working as an agent.

Two new expansions are on the horizon for Marshall Auctions and Porter Marshall Group. Marshall will debut the new, 5,000-square-foot real estate headquarters this fall, a state-of-the-art building located on north Route 13 in Salisbury, situated on Leonard’s Mill Pond.

“It will house our brokerage and our auction company,” explained Marshall.

The building will feature 13 offices, as well as a 1,000-square-foot, waterfront conference room that will be available to the public for events, seminars and banquets.

“We’re really proud of what we’re doing with that building. It’s monumental in this business,” Marshall said.

The estate division of the company will also be enjoying new headquarters, with the debut of the new Georgetown, Del. office, which will work to serve the estate clients, serving all of Delmarva.

“Our design is to decide for our clients what is the best move,” said Marshall.

From start to finish, Marshall Auctions guides its clients through the auction process, cleaning out the home before going to auction, selling the home and property, appraising all of the assets, cleaning, inventorying packaging and selling the assets and removing all the leftover trash and debris from the residence.

“Overwhelmed” is a word that Marshall hears quite often in his line of work, as people face the massive responsibilities that accompany a foreclosure, the inheritance of an estate or even the decision to sell a property and move. “We handle everything from real estate to pots and pans,” said Marshall.

When it comes to real estate auctions, there are typically two types of auctions, “there are foreclosures and then there’s voluntary estate type auctions,” explained Marshall. “Foreclosures are often high stress, unfortunate situations, but not every auction is a foreclosure.”

The common misconception about real estate auctions is that every house for auction is the result of a foreclosure, but to the contrary, many new homes and building lots are auctioned through Marshall Auctions.

“Auctions are used to convert assets into cash and they work extremely well,” he said.

So why auction a home rather than list it? First, the commission is traditionally less through auction than through listing with an agent, said Marshall. Second, the property is sold as is.

“You can still get an inspection, but it eliminates the nickel and dimeing,” he said.

Third, and usually most appealing, is that the property is sold within 45 days, versus the average of 200 days in the typical market. “You know when you’re getting your money, and people like that,” said Marshall.

From the buyers’ perspective, going the auction route when buying a home or property can be a smart financial move, said Marshall. Fifteen to 18 percent can be saved, give or take, when purchasing a home through auction.

“First-time buyers are often hesitant to get involved, but we’re trying to change that with bank financing,” said Marshall.

Seminars will be held at the new Salisbury facility in an effort to familiarize younger, first-time buyers with the benefits of buying and selling via auction. When considering auctions, Marshall suggested first visiting the company website,, to get familiar with what’s available. Calling the auction company for details on specific properties or items is also an option, to get a better feel for what properties or items are worth. Research is key, though, according to Marshall, who strongly advises researching the field and the item before coming to an auction.

Many people wonder what a typical auction is like, feeling intimidated by the high paced form of buying and selling, but both Marshall and Holly assure that it is a comfortable, yet exciting environment. Real estate auctions are typically held on sight, with the exception of foreclosures, which are held at the courthouse. A pre-bidding period gives interested parties a chance to tour the house or property and ask questions.

“It’s not intense or intimating, anticipation is always in the air,” said Holly Marshall-Campbell.

Once bidding begins, competition heats up as interested buyers put in their bids for the prize.

“Buyers like that it’s open and fair, you get to see all of your competition,” said Holly, explaining that in the traditional real estate market, an offer is put in on a property blindly, with no control over who the seller will opt to make a deal with. In the auction environment, there is a level playing field, with the sale going to the highest bidder.

Auctions are also held at the Parsonsburg office, where a large warehouse stores a variety of treasures for auction, from bed frames to jewelry. Typically held on Friday nights, 250 to 400 people will gather to bid on items in hopes of returning home with a good deal.