Daily News March 28th 2017

Sometimes there is a stigma attached to selling real estate at an auction, but Jeff Morris says it’s actually the purest form of capitalism.

“In the South, auctions sort of have a negative connotation, but around the world it’s the first choice of many countries,” Morris said. “For example, in Australia 95 percent of all of their real estate is sold at auctions. It’s the only way they know how to do it.”

Much closer to home, Morris said auctions are a popular sales method in Midwestern states like Nebraska and Kansas.

“When they sell the family farm, they use the auction process,” Morris said.

After leaving his previous employer, Roebuck Auctions, in 2006, Morris, who has been working in real estate since 1980, started his own company, Morris Auction Group.

“It’s just a great way to sell,” he said. “It’s the purest form of capitalism there is in terms of having the market come to you and compete for the highest offer.”

Morris noted that other important commodities, such as stocks and bonds, have always been sold in an auction-like environment, and real estate should be no different.

“It’s somewhat frustrating to me that people aren’t gravitating to the auction process more and more because of the expediency of the process,” Morris said. “There still seems to be this general feeling that an auction is a last resort and not a first resort.”

Knowing that the property will be sold on specific date is another major advantage, according to Morris, who finds it amusing when people speak of multiple offers on a house, which he said is basically an auction.

At the end of the month, Morris has a diverse list of properties that he will auction to the highest bidder.

Everything from vacant land to rental homes, commercial properties, even a 10-room, 3,500-square-foot mansion next to Overton Park will all be sold at the Thursday, March 30, noon auction.

Landis Foy, who manages the corporate headquarters for Crye-Leike Realtors Inc. at Quail Hollow and is the managing broker for its auction division, said the best thing about an auction is that you can get the true market value of a property on any given day.

“It’s the purest marketplace in the world,” Foy said. “I can get what the market will pay on a given day by promoting it, calling people and getting them to come out and compete amongst themselves.”

Foy, who has been in real estate since 1971 and participating in auctions since 1980, said he only participates in absolute auctions, which means there is no minimum offer or reserve, because it is the best way to get the full potential market to participate.

As for buyers at the auctions, Foy said he sees four distinct types.

The first type is the “buzzard” who knows what a property is worth and is only there to score a quick deal.

The second group is the “investor,” who will pay more than the buzzard, but is still looking for a deal. The next tier is the “user,” who has an immediate need for the property and is willing to pay more than the other two.

Lastly, Foy said, is the unsuspecting bidder who simply gets caught up in the action.

“They are on a merry-go-round and before they know it, they can’t get off,” Foy said. “I had a guy going to get a haircut and he bought a house one time.”

Which Foy was quick to point out wasn’t a low-ball offer, either.

“He competed with all three of those other levels, and bought it. He had given no thought to it, had done no research and the value – he just got caught up.”

Daily News Nov. 24-25th, 2016

Six months after Memphis-based Morris Auction Group expanded into Destin, Florida, the company is now expanding the scope of its services there.

Morris’ Destin branch, Luxury Estates Auction Co., has added a new arm focused on traditional real estate services.  Called Luxury Estates Realty Group, the arm will focus on showcasing and selling high net worth properties in the Destin/30A area and Northwest Florida region.

The new realty group is comprised of LEAC’s current agentst – Chris Camp, Vicki Stokes and Allie Stokes – plus the addition of five Realtors across two teams.

The Jourdan team, which has been in the traditional real estate business since 2008, includes former Memphians Debra Jourdan, Jeff Jourdan Sr. and Jeff Jourdan Jr.  The Jenkins team, Heather and Tyler Jenkins, has been in real estate since 2006 and specializes in the Destin, Santa Rosa Beach and 30A areas.

Founded in 2007 by Jeff Morris, Morris Auction Group sells all types of real estate – including residential, commercial, investment, industrial and agricultural – in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Florida, along with personal property on request.

-Daily News Staff

Memphis Business Journal Nov. 23 2016

A little more than six months after opening its first office in Destin, Luxury Estates Auction Group is adding a traditional real estate services arm. The new group will be called Luxury Estates Realty Group.

The company, which is an offshoot of Memphis-based Morris Auction Group, provides real estate auction and marketing services for luxury homes and multimillion-dollar estates from Destin to West Palm Beach, Florida. It opened in May.

The new arm will expand the scope of services Luxury Estates offers for people who may not be ready to sell their properties at auction, according to Jeff Morris, who owns Morris Auction Group and Luxury Estates Auction Group.

“We felt we needed to be a bit broader in our service offerings and decided to open the traditional sales company,” Morris said. “We’ve added two really good teams.”

The teams are comprised of Debra Jourdan, Jeff Jourdan Sr., Jeff Jourdan Jr., and Heather Jenkins and Tyler Jenkins. The Jourdan group is from Memphis originally, while the Jenkins group has an extensive history selling properties in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach and other areas.

Morris said the expansion was going to happen naturally after Luxury Estates Auction Group got established. He did the same thing in Memphis with Morris Realty Group.

With the auction and traditional real estate operations up and running, the next step could include opening franchises in the Naples area.

“We can provide the same service that we do on the auction side on the traditional side,” Morris said. “If time is more important, we can roll it into an auction.”

Michael Sheffield covers bioscience and biotechnology; manufacturing; tourism and hospitality; and sports business. Contact him at