How do online auctions work?

COVID-19 is not only about border closures, face masks and half-empty supermarket shelves. Depending on where you live, house hunters and us, your real estate agents, have been forced to think outside the box and rely almost solely on digital technology. Trembling at the thought of doing this, when you haven’t ever used Facetime or Skype? Never fear! That gorgeous dream home up for auction can still be yours. 

New auctions explained

For starters, you’ll most likely have already inspected the home via a virtual tour or inspection. Smart potential buyers will have also organised building and pest inspections before the auction as well as lender pre-approval. So, try not to be too afraid of virtual bidding. These events are still organised and run very like public auctions, and the same rules and regulations apply. The main difference is that all the action happens on a computer, iPad or mobile phone screen and from your own home. As such, you might want to shoo children and pets away from the room and this action as you’ll need plenty of quiet headspace! The auctioneer will announce all the usual declarations via your screen and the home will generally sell to the highest bidder and according to the vendor’s requirements. If the sale doesn’t occur, the auctioneer will negotiate over the phone. The successful bidder will then be able to organise a digital transfer of deposits and similar.

Preparing for virtual bidding

Firstly, depending on where you live, we will need you to register for online auctions 24-48 hours before the event. Also, an important point to remember when bidding online is that you can’t actually see the home. As a result, your emotional attachment to it – along with the usual excitement, tension and stress involved in dropping much of your money into this one property pool – may fade on auction day. But try not to let this faze you and remember that many auctions are held in separate offices or rooms. Then there’s the fact that – unlike a one-on-one auction – you may not be able to see who you’re bidding against. You will still hear the auctioneer but not knowing how many others are in the property race can be frustrating and annoying. To resolve this issue, some of us are now switching to online platforms including Google Hangouts and Zoom wherein all bidders can be seen. 

And finally….

Make no mistake – bidding online can be unnerving but as these auctions become more and more common, house hunters are swiftly learning how and what to do best in these situations. As with all auctions, stay in close contact with your real estate agent as we can help you understand how to bid online. And the silver lining to much of COVID-19 living is that you’ll learn more than you ever thought possible about digital technology. Happy bidding!

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