Online auctions have arrived – but not everyone’s sold

An agent has used an online auction platform to attract 40 bids and sell a property for almost 20 per cent above the listing price.

Sandie Davidson from Ray White Bella Vista sold a property in the Sydney suburb of Beaumont Hills through Exchangehouse. The three-bedroom home was listed for $672,000 and sold for $804,000.

Ms Davidson – who is also a traditional auctioneer – said that last week’s auction had exceeded her and the vendor’s expectations.

“There were three registered bidders, but only two of them bid. The bidding was fast and furious with over 40 bids in just under three hours,” she told Real Estate Business.

“The vendor watched the auction from London, one buyer bid from China, and the under-bidder was in Sydney.

“There would not have been a sale if Exchangehouse had not been used. I suspect the bidding process created pressure on the buyers who both substantially exceeded their stated limit.”

Ms Davidson also used Exchangehouse last month to sell a six-bedroom Rouse Hill residence for $1.15 million. Now a third vendor looks set to register for an online auction, she added.

“What I did was give him all the options… Then I invited him to watch the [Beaumont Hills] auction online and he then made his own decision,” she said.

“With another property I listed, she was open to the idea of an online auction, but she then went for the traditional option and she was very definite about that.”

James Curtain from Place Estate Agents, who finished 39th in last year’s Top 100 Agents ranking, said he was sceptical that internet auctions could deliver better results than on-site sales.

“I certainly appreciate that we do need to embrace new technology. But what I see with the current auction environment that we run is that the face-to-face aspect is so critical,” he said.

“It’s that relationship that’s built up through an auction campaign with buyers. I think that’s vitally important to maximising the right outcome for our sellers. I’m not convinced that you can orchestrate that in an online environment.”

Auction Services director Rob Trovato told Real Estate Business that the emergence of online auctions would eventually threaten businesses like his own.

However, Mr Trovato said that traditional auctions would remain dominant for years to come because they would continue to be favoured by agents.

“Agents are always looking to see how they can leverage one property to win the next piece of business,” he said.

“When you’re doing it on-site, you’ve got the neighbours coming to have a look, and even if they’re not in real estate mode right now, if you have a positive outcome, when they’re thinking of selling down the track they’ll remember the auction that happened in their street.”

[Related: Sydney enjoys best auction result of 2015]

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