Auctions may have changed forever – EYE hears from firms embracing the virtual saleroom

The list of businesses able to reopen in the near future includes auction houses.

From June 15th they will be able to open their doors to the public and to hold physical auctions.

EYE has asked a number of businesses what plans they have for the resumption of live sales and we have found that firms are not rushing to open up the sale room to bidders.

The changes forced upon the market by the Covid crisis have had a profound effect and and the ‘new normal’ will see far more emphasis on the gavels falling in virtual salerooms.

Clive Emson’s Managing Director, James Emson told us:

“We have decided to take a common sense approach and hold both our June and July auctions solely online.

“We have taken into account the requirement for social distancing, which would be difficult at a live auction given the number of attendees, the requirement to place chairs two metres apart with adequate walkways and its setting in a confined space.

“Other considerations include the requirement for the exchange of documents for transactions with some face to face contact as well as general interaction between attendees.

“We have taken this decision in the best interest of our staff, clients and buyers as well as public safety generally.

“We already have 90 properties listed for our June auction and are seeing interest and information for our July auction so these interim online auctions are proving very successful.”

“We held successful online auctions in tandem with our popular regional venues for some years before the lockdown.

“Our online bidding technology is tried and tested, and there is no doubt that bidders, who must register first, are becoming more familiar with making bids online during the live auction.

“Our online auctions will continue when the auction floors open, and we expect the use of this technology to grow even further in the years to come.”

Lee Maher, CEO at iamproperty, owners of iamsold said:

“At iamsold we aren’t planning to re-start our regional physical auctions in June.

“That being said we are now proactively planning for the re-scheduling of our events most likely into July and August.

“We are deliberately taking our time to ensure we can run these events in the safest way possible for all parties, whilst retaining as much of the buzz of the in-room experience as possible.

“We are working collaboratively with our network of partner agents to develop and execute these plans.

“At the moment we are seeing a strong appetite and resilience in our online auction offering.

“We hold 60% share of the online auctions market and see this is a big opportunity to educate consumers and agents alike on the value and benefit of online auctions, which in an average month account for 80% of our sales”

Andrew Parker, managing director and auctioneer at SDL Auctions gave us an insight into his company’s plans:

“Like many other companies we’re pleased about the plans to start to steadily reopen a number of businesses again on 15 June, including auction rooms.

“The lifting of restrictions in other areas of the housing industry is a positive step forward for the sector and this will only add to it.

“At SDL Auctions we’ve found that we have adapted and thrived during this period, and the industry has had no choice but to embrace virtual methods for broadcasting our monthly room auctions.

“Not only have we continued to raise a healthy profit for our vendors – in April we raised over £7.7million – but we’ve also uncovered some unexpected benefits that may inject some new energy into the industry.

“By holding national auctions online, selling properties from all over the UK, it breaks down any locational barriers and gives vendors and investors access to a wider market.

“Similarly, with a simple online link to follow it’s easier than ever to log on and bid for your chosen lot, quickly.

“Prior to this, attending an auction might have meant a full day out to visit the room auction,

We’re also seeing more activity per lot, with sometimes 10 or 20 people competing for the same property versus two or three as would be expected as standard.

“In a physical room auction bidders might react to the actions of others but virtually, they’re only led by the price that they see and their desire for the lot.

“There will always be a place for traditional room auctions, but we are excited to have seen the emphasis shift towards online.

“Whenever we do return to holding physical room auctions, we will of course approach them with our customers’ safety in mind, and as with so many sectors it will be fascinating to watch how the physical rooms will blend with the new virtual environment we have created.

“Whatever happens, we will look to be at the forefront when it comes to finding the best way to deliver results for our clients.

“This sudden change has accelerated the sector forward five or ten years, and we’ve been fortunate to enjoy what might well be a brighter future for all involved in property auctions.

“We’re seeing the benefits already and are working to adapt in a way that suits our customers best.”





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  1. Property Poke In The Eye

    The way forward I think for property auctions in near future.

    Why travel to a venue and waste your time when you can bid online.

  2. AgencyInsider

    I can see that ‘virtual’ works for property sales where viewing and due diligence can be done ahead of the auction day. Can’t see it working quite so well for other auction fields.


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