Beverly Sue Ryan is no stranger to the concept of a real estate auction. As the Clay County public administrator from 1974 to 2004, her department frequently turned to the auction method to sell property it was responsible for liquidating.
“Auctions were effective and just so much easier for us,” said Ryan. “Everything was prepared in advance and then taken care of in one day. And there were no delays along the way.”
Now Ryan has decided to turn to the auction strategy to sell a historic home she owns in Liberty. Located in the Dougherty Historic District just west of the square, the house was built in 1883 by a prominent Liberty citizen, Richard L. Raymond. Raymond and his three daughters lived in the home until he built a more “modern” house immediately to the north. According to city records, it is significant for its architectural interest and as one of the earliest prominent homes on West Kansas Street.
Records on file in the State Historic Preservation Office describe the house as “cross-gabled Queen Anne, with original Eastlake detailing such as the turned porch supports, dentil molding, eave brackets and the decorative porch frieze.” The two-story projecting bay and a wrapping front porch feature additional period details.
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Over the years, the house has seen a number of changes. It has been a single-family home and has also had the upstairs used as a separate apartment. Around the turn of the century it was a fraternity house and during World War II was temporarily converted into three apartments. Sometime later a garage and breezeway added much-needed functionality.
Ryan was enjoying renting the home when the owners opted to sell it in 1986 and she jumped at the chance to buy. A self-described “historic preservationist,” for the next 20-plus years she carefully maintained the home. She had the upstairs replumbed and wired, had new porch posts turned and rebuilt the front porch, and poured a sizable new concrete driveway, steps, sidewalk and back patio. Eventually she moved out and has kept the property rented since. (It is currently rented to two tenants who each occupy a single floor.)
Ryan said that with age and other interests there comes a time to “downsize your activity” and so she’s decided to sell the historic home. A “no reserve” auction was the obvious choice. Throughout her 30 years in the public administrator’s office she routinely turned to Cates Auction & Realty as the auction company of choice. So a few weeks ago she naturally picked up the phone to call Jeff Cates and schedule her personal auction.
“I was going to Dean Cates’ (Jeff’s grandfather) auctions long before I introduced auctions to the public administrator’s office. Many years of experience tells me this is the best way to sell my house,” she said.
Available for the first time in nearly 30 years, Cates said the house will appeal to a wide variety of potential bidders. For some, the current income stream is a draw, either as an ongoing opportunity, or while holding until a future renovation. For others, the historic appeal is a unique opportunity.
Cates points out, “This property could easily be converted back to single-family use and renovated into a stunning historic home. The City of Liberty recently implemented a ‘Chapter 353’ tax abatement program that makes this sort of project highly compelling.”
The home is located at 232 W. Kansas St. in Liberty. The absolute auction will take place on Friday, Feb. 27, at noon. Bidding will be offered live at the property and concurrently online. Interested bidders may view the home during open house events on Feb. 15 and 22 from 2 to 4 p.m. Full details are available at CatesAuction.com or by calling Cates Auction at 816-781-1134.
Ryan is looking forward to the auction. “I always wanted an old house to have antiques and live in. I’ve really enjoyed that. It’s time to let someone else have the opportunity.”
Cates Auction & Realty
Auction: Noon on Friday, Feb. 27.
Location: 232 W. Kansas St. in Liberty, Mo.
Open Houses: 2-4 p.m. Feb. 15 and 22.