With virtual property auctions increasing in popularity, the team at Street Property (led by Director of Sales Damon Sellis) recently hosted its first live event - and the result was a resounding success!
Understandably, the real estate market was impacted by COVID-19 as buyers and sellers pulled back due to the uncertainty created by the pandemic. Challenging times called for innovative thinking, and the team at Street decided that this was a great opportunity to trial the effectiveness of a virtual auction – supporting both buyers and sellers alike.
“Social distancing regulations required us to find innovative new ways to support our clients. We began hosting private inspections one-on-one with our agents and potential buyers. 3D video tours have really taken off recently, too, with REA reporting a massive 285 percent increase in engagement during March/April” explained Damon.
“We had seen virtual auctions increasing in popularity, and so we decided that given the restrictions around people congregating in public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was an ideal time to embrace this new technology,” he said.
After doing their homework and reviewing case studies of other agents who had gone down this path, they put the option to the seller, who had a strong preference for an auction sale. After some discussion, they agreed that a virtual property auction was a great option, allowing the sale to proceed as planned rather than waiting for restrictions to ease.
The decision was made to use AuctionNow, an app that allows buyers, sellers, auctioneers, and agents to watch, register, bid, buy and exchange on live property auctions from anywhere in the world, on any device, in real time.
The property, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom fourth-floor apartment in Newcastle’s ‘Royal’ complex in King Street, was promoted with a three-week campaign ahead of going under the virtual hammer on 16 May 2020.
On the day of the virtual auction
Come auction time, eight interested parties had registered to bid, and under the guidance of Auctioneer Luke Jones from Reynolds Auctions, bidding got underway.
“It was an interesting process,” Damon said. “The bidders did take some time to get used to the process – it is very different vibe to when rival bidders are in the same room or standing together on the same property.”
“But once the momentum started building things heated up quickly with a couple of larger bids. When it hit $1.5m it became a really exciting two horse race from that point until the final $1.8m winning bid. It was a great outcome.”
Damon said feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive and the process ran smoothly.
“Given the apartment was quite a small space, it was practical way to ensure the health and safety of the potential buyers, sellers, auction team and the vendor given the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.”
Bidders can’t see each other, only bidder numbers – so they were able to maintain their privacy.
“Allowing people to bid from their own homes made people feel safe and comfortable, which made it accessible to all – even out of town bidders. By removing the ability to see other bidders and read their body language, it added an element of mystery… like playing poker in the dark!”
Street Property are keen to utilise this technology into the future, introducing a flexible hybrid offering allowing bidders to take part both on site and online.
“It’s just another way we can support buyers and sellers to achieve the best results possible,” Damon said.
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