Would you want to be notified when another online property auction happen in Santa Cruz County? Of course you would….

From the

 $442,000 in online property auction - With neither gavel nor auctioneer, 5 months ago Santa Cruz County staged its most successful tax-defaulted property sale this week, peddling 10 parcels for more than $442,000.

The county's first eBay-style online auction garnered 752 bids from 38 people in six states. Generally, fewer than 10 people bid in previous county auctions, said Treasurer Fred Keeley.

The online auction "draws a larger field of folks who have the willingness to bid these properties up," he said.

The properties, which were more than five years past due on property tax payments, sold for between $8,900 and $121,100 to bidders in California and Hawaii.

The money first goes to pay a total of $51,100 in back taxes. The previous property owners have one year to collect the rest of the auction proceeds — $391,489.50 all together. If unclaimed, the county divides the money among cities, schools, and other tax recipients.

Dunstant Smikle of Camarillo bought the cheapest property, a 4,300 square-foot sliver of land in Scotts Valley on Lockhart Gulch Road. He hasn't seen the land yet, but hopes to build a small house or cabin.

"Where else in California can you find property for $9,000?" Smikle said.

A controversial Felton property also sold. Damaged in a 1982 mudslide, the county condemned a house on View Circle, just north of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Raymond Tate, the owner since 1986, fought the county and ultimately lost an 18-year legal battle.

"They've forced my hand," Tate old the Sentinel in 2001. "Now it's time to go for the jugular"

The county spent $11,000 to tear down the house in 2004.

Al Tamesabi of San Marcos bought the 1.25-acres for $13,600.

Initially 28 properties were available, including a Santa Cruz Home one block from West Cliff Drive and a large house on Highland Avenue worth more than $700,000. Those properties and 15 others fell off the auction block before the three-day sale started on March 12. The owners had until midnight March 11 to pay the taxes they owed.

Maryland-based Bid4Assets ran the auction for a flat fee of $75 for each property sold. Keeley said the county saved $10,000 by not running a live auction.

Santa Cruz County now plans to hold future tax-defaulted property auctions online.  I will notify you when, just email me at Patti@PattiLyles.com