Sold by design – article by Joanna Ripard, The Sunday Times of Malta, 15th February 2009

Ocean Estate, a beachfront mansion at Ponte Vedra, Florida, belonged to retired Merrill-Lynch vice president of sales and marketing Chuck Humm. A buyer wanted it so badly, J.P. King exceptionally secured a sale for $1.9 million before it was scheduled for auction last May.

Ocean Estate, a beachfront mansion at Ponte Vedra, Florida, belonged to retired Merrill-Lynch vice president of sales and marketing Chuck Humm. A buyer wanted it so badly, J.P. King exceptionally secured a sale for $1.9 million before it was scheduled for auction last May.



Valletta-based real estate firm 77 Great Estates ( has been appointed Malta and Sicily partner for US premier property auction marketing firm J.P. King.

Established in 1915, J.P. King ( is the oldest real estate auction company in the US and boasts a track record of sales exceeding €1.6 billion. Its portfolio of sales includes more than 10,000 high end properties, including a Ritz Carlton Residence penthouse which sold for €2.4 million and South Carolina’s Kaiwah Island which raised $27 million at auction.

The current climate fails to dampen J.P. King’s spirits – its corporate profile says the company has, “for nearly a century, successfully marketed and sold property at auction through two world wars, the Great Depression, the boom of the 1990s, and everything in between”.

Real estate guru Donald Trump once went on record describing J.P. King as “the US’ most successful auction company marketing real estate”.

Based in Gadsden, Alabama, J.P. King has an extensive database of 200,000 serious cash buyers – including blue chip companies and high net worth individuals listed on Fortune 500 – which is continuously reviewed and updated.

It offers a diversified array of services and divisions to market and auction the most desirable properties in the world from luxury homes to high end ranches and hunting land, from waterfront land to superyachts.

It claims to have a 100 per cent success record for selling property at auction above €3 million every 90 days for the past 15 years – owners are usually able to recoup all of the marketing investment using the J.P. King method of auction.

77 Great Estates director Carl Peralta says he was particularly attracted to J.P. King’s cost-effective, accelerated marketing methodology which ensures the property is sold successfully at the eventual auction, at the highest market value.

Dr Peralta, a lawyer by profession who knew he would venture into business long before he graduated, says J.P. King have a comprehensive, three-tiered marketing strategy – ‘Exposure, Education, Closure’ – that is tailor-made for every property that is earmarked for auction: the strategy centres on engaging the market and delivering results.

J.P. King, he explains, have a team of marketing experts, graphic designers and web specialists to draw up a mail and online campaign aimed at the buyers on the database who indicated their interest in a specific property type or location. The campaign is designed by project managers after meeting the seller or the seller’s representatives to agree on a strategy. The auction company, a family business to this day, has sold property in 49 US states and in a growing number of countries around the world.

Dr Peralta says the marketing campaign is meticulously fine-tuned to ensure the property receives maximum exposure among the people who are seriously interested in buying that particular type of home. The buyers are potential home-owners, he points out, not investors or speculators.

So geared is J.P. King to conclusive sales at auction, he says, that the company refuses more property to market than it accepts, particularly to safeguard its renowned track record at this end of the market and among a ever-growing number of repeat clients.

As with most auctions, there are a number of conditions: most properties are put up for auction depending on the reserve price, if any, and bidders may be required to register against a deposit before auction in order to obtain a discount. There is a variable buyer’s premium which is added to the winning bid price to arrive at the total contract price paid by the purchaser. A tour of the property is usually held for a fortnight before the auction date.

Dr Peralta says auctions for Maltese property are mostly to be held in Malta; J. Craig King, president of J.P. King for almost 20 years, may be the appointed auctioneer. J.P. King experts will travel to Malta to carry out the due diligence on the property or development, the strategy is mapped out with sellers and local partners, and a date is set for auction.

J.P. King advocate their method of selling property is successful because by specifying a date on which owners intend to sell, a sense of urgency is created among potential buyers. Besides, there is a strategic focus on showcasing a single property. And all the potential that comes with putting one property on a high pedestal, globally.

For further information, kindly contact 77 Great Estates on (00356) 2125 2455; (00356) 9944 7444; skype: info.77GreatEstates or

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