Sara Rose Bytnar and her mother Beth Rose at the recent 2014 International Auctioneer Championship in Louisville, Ky.
NAPLES, Fla. – When Sara Rose Bytnar, a Realtor® and auctioneer with Rose Auction Group in Naples, was just six years old, she found her calling – literally.
“My mom trained me to call auctions at a very young age,” says Bytnar, who was recently named first runner-up in the 2014 International Auctioneer Championship, beating out her mother in the contest.
Of course, that should come as no surprise for anyone familiar with the Rose auction family. Bytnar’s grandfather, David Rose, started as a real estate broker and built a successful auction business. It soon became a full-fledged family business when Rose’s four daughters joined the company.
“The dynamics of the family are crazy,” says Bytnar. There are five female auctioneers – Bytnar, her mom Beth, and aunts Dawn, Karen and Pam.
“My grandfather, who passed away in 1998, had them practice when they were little by having them pretend to sell their dolls or clothes, competing against each other,” says Bytnar. This competition carried on through adulthood – the four sisters all have their own auction companies and compete against each other.
“It’s a friendly competition. They’re all successful. My grandfather always told them that there is enough business out there for all of them,” she says. “We’ve come close to doing a reality show. The female dynamic makes for interesting TV!”
Bytnar truly entered the business in high school. “I started answering phones, going to auctions, serving as a greeter. I learned the business during that time,” she says.
Then in 2005, she went to auction school. “I learned the law and the chants. Every person develops his or her rhythm. They teach you tongue twisters to get your tongue rolling. It was a great party trick,” Bytnar laughs.
Bytnar also went to college and earned a bachelor’s degree in communication. “That helped tremendously because auctions, obviously, involve being comfortable with public speaking,” she says. She is now a partner in the company and travels throughout Florida, Ohio and Michigan performing auctions.
“It’s a tight-knit industry. We’ve all been through the Certified Auctioneers Institution. Fewer than 5 percent of all auctioneers have that designation,” says Bytnar.
In fact, her grandfather has an award named after him, which is given to the candidate who has the best auction summary. “My mom won it in 2000, and I won it in 2012,” she says. “It’s more than just the name that got me that award. You have to work for it.”
For Bytnar, the auction business is not only a livelihood; it’s a passion.
“We deal with a lot of estates, so it’s a huge transition for families,” she says. “We sell both the personal property and real estate, and it’s amazing what we find. In one home, the assessment team found money everywhere, in the trunk of the car, in suitcases, in a fur coat, a can, a toaster. There was at least $50,000 in cash hidden throughout the house and car.”
In another house, the basement was filled with at least a hundred wishbones hanging from strings. At still another, everything in the house was covered with a thin dusting of white powder. “We found out that the homeowner didn’t shower; he just powdered himself every day. You’re walking into someone’s life; it’s fascinating,” she says.
As for her recent competition win – first runner-up at the 2014 International Auctioneer Championship – it’s no small accomplishment. Auctioneers from all over the world compete, including those from China, South Africa and the Netherlands.
“You’re getting the best of the best together,” Bytnar says. “It’s an amazing networking opportunity from a global perspective.” The goal is to find an ambassador for the industry.
Of the roughly 50 women who enter the international contest, only seven made it to the finals, including Bytnar and her mother. “It was the first time a mother and daughter made it to the finals,” she says.
It’s clear that Bytnar loves the auction industry.
“If people can see how passionate I am about what I do, it will encourage them to see how auctions are a viable part of the residential real estate industry. We’re the Realtors’ auctioneer,” she says. “We educate them about what having an auction can accomplish and how it’s an extra tool to use with the right candidate.”
Bytnar is as dedicated to her profession as she is to helping others. She has taken additional education courses to enhance her knowledge and expertise, earning the professional certifications of Certified Auctioneers Institute (CAI) and Professional Ringmen’s Institute (PRI).