Chattanooga-based auctioneer and real estate agent launches new business

When the Mooneyham farm in Bledsoe County was launched two years ago, the sellers decided to sell the 34.5-acre farm near Pikeville, Tennessee through an online auction.

Compass Auction and Real Estate conducted the sale, attracting online bidders from across the country, who raised the property’s price to the highest price per acre ever paid for farmland in Bledsoe County, with a total sale price of nearly $400,000, according to the Auctioneer said Paige Holt.

“The auction method is the most open and transparent method there is,” Holt said in an interview with the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “Any property that is highly desirable is excellent for auction. The auction gives you peace of mind that you are getting the true market value for a property at that point, as all interested buyers are bidding there at the same time.”

Holt, a Chattanooga-based auctioneer and real estate agent, has been conducting auctions for 25 years, including 15 years as President of Compass, which she co-owns with her husband Steve. Compass conducts auctions of private and real estate properties for government agencies nationwide.

After running the family business Compass Auction and Real Estate, Holt created a new auction and real estate business called NeXstep to serve the needs of buyers and sellers.

The new company is affiliated with Remax Properties on Highway 153 and will be separate from Compass, which has conducted most of its auctions for the US Marshal’s Office, FDIC, TVA and other government agencies that need to sell surplus or confiscated property and weapons.

Paige Holt; Estate Agent/Auctioneer – Waterhouse PR – Portrait photography by Dan Henry /

“With US Marshal Services, we’ve conducted auctions nationwide,” Holt said.

But Compass doesn’t traditionally work with estates, although Holt said there’s a growing need for the service.

“During COVID I completely overhauled our approach to real estate and the way we work with agents and individuals,” she said.

In the tight housing market of recent years, multiple bidders would often submit bids for a given property, often on the same day, even under the traditional property sale model, Holt said. The auction method offers a distinct advantage to sellers, especially real estate trustees, because they know exactly what day their property will be sold, and commissions can be as little as half of what’s paid in the traditional method of real estate sales, Holt said.

At NeXstep, Holt will work with other agents and offer broker involvement, she said.

“It really opens up the world of real estate in our area,” she said.

While Chattanooga auctions are most commonly used for distressed, foreclosed, or government-seized properties, auctions are also used around the world to sell the most luxurious and valuable properties, according to Holt.

“The finest assets in the world, the most sought-after assets, will be auctioned,” Holt said, referring to how Sotheby’s and other high-end auction houses sell valuable jewelry and paintings. “Why should real estate be any different?”

Contact Dave Flessner at [email protected] or 423-757-6340.


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