Online auctions booming during confinement

With the impact of the foreclosure on the property market, local estate agents, sellers and buyers have had to get creative if they want homes to keep selling.

The industry has found an innovative solution to not being able to hold regular in-person auctions, and some agents suggest they are attracting an even larger audience through the online system.

Partner and sales agent at McGrath North Canberra, Justin Taylor says his auctions have skyrocketed since moving to an online delivery system, with a 100% clearance rate over the past four Saturdays.

Mr Taylor said he had sold each of his last 18 properties on the market and the number of registered bidders at auction had roughly doubled from around seven or eight in normal times to a maximum of 15 on the online platform.

“It’s a very easy and simple process for buyers, it takes less than five minutes from the comfort of their own home,” he said. “Registration just needs to be approved by an agent, so we get an email pending a registration that includes an uploaded photo of their license, we cross-check the details, then approve it once we’re happy and it’s ‘is made.”

Mr Taylor said that in online auctions the only person buyers can see is the auctioneer. Meanwhile, the general manager of McGrath North Canberra, Suzi Wells, the listing agent, the sellers and a host of observers are all listening in from their own locations.

He said the incremental number of people watching these auctions online was around 100 each time, doubling the number of viewers at in-person auctions. His theory around the increase is just platform availability and convenience.

“I have personally found them to be great and my advice to agents and sellers is not to be intimidated or worried about the online platform,” he said.

“I see a lot of auctions coming up, and I would tell these agents to just set a date – it sets a deadline…and I’ve found the online auctions to be very positive.”

According to Taylor, the key to a successful online auction is having an experienced auctioneer who can use the platform well; like their exclusive auctioneer Hugh Rainger, who has 20 years of experience and over 12,000 auctions under his belt.

“There are no awkward silences and it flows naturally; there is virtually no difference whether he was on the property or not,” Mr. Taylor said.

“He’s got a few screens set up to view the auctions and we have a good system in place where when the seller accepts the offer I’ll give his wife a thumbs up and she’ll give him a silent thumbs up from off camera and it’s a really transparent process.

Overall, Taylor said it was a streamlined process, much easier to navigate than you might think, and he received no negative feedback.

For those unfamiliar with the process, he invites them to log on weekly and watch other online auctions as they unfold.

However, Mr Taylor misses the emotion of in-person auctions and said it is human nature for sellers to feel more comfortable when the auction is on-site.

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