Embrace of online property auctions has been slow

Embrace of online property auctions has been slow
Embrace of online property auctions has been slow

Online property auctions have been around now for two decades, but their embrace in the onsite auction capital cities has been slow.

I'm surprised they aren't more popular, but expect there will be a fillip during the current downturn.

Australia has long pioneered the best technology in the era of real estate digitalisation.

One of the reasons online auctions are the future is that we live in an increasingly self obsessed busy 24/7 world.

Not everyone can always make it to an onsite auction, so reaching more buyers by embracing technology allows the expatriate to bid from their office in China; the first home buyer can still bid while holidaying on the Greek Islands or they might be busy parents with their mobile phone on the sidelines of their child's must see sporting grand final.

Online auctions offer transparency, greater access, convenience and mobility.

It is odd that more agents haven't jump on board. 

There's the occasional gimmick with an unsuccessful live cryptocurrency NSW north coast real estate auction last month.

There can be still be emotion in the online auction as we see whenever monitoring listings on Ebay or the antique online auctions.

The online auction experience can also sometimes give buyers the opportunity to get in early and make a winning bid before the auction starts to heat up, or to compete against the clock and other bidders in a countdown towards final call.

Online auctions are popular in the Australian bush.

Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull are selling one of their Hunter Valley properties, Scotts Creek having asked rural agent Chris Meares at Meares & Associates to conduct an online auction next month.

Meares expects the two-day auction to attract bids of between $6.5 million to $6.75 million for the 2000 hectare farm.

He expects the potential buyers will visit the property, do the due diligence, get their finances in order and then register before bidding online.

Each bid will be visible online in real time with the bidder’s identity remaining private.

With each bid, the system will declare whether the reserve price has been met or not.

Often most of the bidding activity occurs in the last hours, with the deadline pushed back by five minute increments until exhausted.

Once the virtual hammer falls there is a binding contract in place. The deposit monies are not however exchanged online.

Meares likes the process as there's plenty of time to consider the offering with family and financial advises.

Many auxiliary tasks associated with buying property have well and truly moved online.

It includes online conveyancing services which has take over from the paper-based property settlement process

Integrated electronic settlement services have created a one-stop solution for the industry.

While we have marvelled at the speed we can find the best priced mortgage, we still often distinguish between low cost convenience transactions and high value strategic decisions and the need for advice.

I'd suggest Australians still like interaction with an expert mortgage broker when they take on their biggest debt.

The rise of the internet over the past two decades has changed property purchasing information right at your fingertips, any time of day or night. Street View, Google Earth and Google Maps offer invaluable information and orientate you instantly. 

Alerts can be set up for news and listings in any suburb of your liking.

There's property price estimates guidance and auction results too, along with the capacity to ascertain the successes of active real estate agents who you can call on to transact at a later stage.

Of course, glossy property magazine ads still capture the attention too.

This article first appeared in The Daily Telegraph. 

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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