The future is now

Online bidding is the next big change coming to the auction process. With the technology to do just about anything sitting neatly in our pockets, not embracing online bidding could be catastrophic. Yet the real estate industry is largely resistant to emerging technology.

Whether it is through a lack of understanding, or fear that it will affect agents’ reputation with buyers, there is resistance in the marketplace to embrace the possibilities of live online bidding.

Some of these fears are legitimate, but also easily worked around.

Agents seem concerned at the possibility of an online buyer falling-through post-auction. In my view, this is unfounded. Currently, when you turn up to an auction in person and bid, there's a degree of trust, but nothing binding. In contrast, online bidding has parameters built-in to ensure trust, like 100 points of ID. There is also now an opportunity for buyers to register and have a deposit taken prior to auction - it might be $1000, $1500, $2000 - so there is some security as well.

The simple fact is that not everybody who might have an interest in a property can necessarily attend on auction day. School sport, family commitments, work, travel – these all play a part in prospective buyers missing their chance to bid on a property in-person, which could mean we’re missing out on bids, therefore not achieving the best possible result for our vendors.

Another major advantage is the exposure that offering online bidding can give. Property sales is a numbers game, and the fact is that online bidding can only expose our stock to a greater pool of buyers, which is ultimately going to widen the competition at our auctions.

It's time to embrace the tech, and we saw a great example this weekend just gone.

Colleagues of ours at Barry Plant Inner City auctioned a Coburg property with competition between three in-person bidders and one online via Anywhere Auctions. The online bidder kicked things off at $600,000 before beating out the in-person bidders with a final bid of $697,000. Contracts were signed within about 15 minutes of the fall of the hammer and the vendors, agents, auctioneer and online buyer all logged-off happy!

Ultimately, what we think doesn’t matter - what matters is what buyers want, and what’s going to help maximise price. The taxi industry didn’t see Uber coming and it’s turned the industry on its head. We now have an opportunity to embrace online bidding and harness its power before it passes us by and turns our industry on its head, while we watch.

The future is now – it’s time to embrace it.

Paul Tzamalis