An auctioneer’s C-19 survival guide

Posted on 20 Apr, 2020

No viewings? No problem. In a niche where buying blind and cash purchasing is not unusual, there is no reason why auctioneers can’t be ticking over.

If you run an auction house, business right now will be very different. We know you are taking the Government’s guidelines on isolation, social distancing and unnecessary travel seriously, while still trying to keep your business operational - us too here at Viewber. Indeed the existing environment might actually change the way some people sell property for good once it’s all over.

While you may have shut the auction room doors on a temporary basis, there is still plenty of work to do. Here is Viewbers’ advice for keeping auctions alive and for preparing for the ‘new world’ future:-


Run online auctions if you aren’t already

If you haven’t embraced the world of online auctions, now is the time. While some lament the lack the ‘buzz in the room’, the global nature of property demands that sales can be started and completed remotely. Already some auction providers, including BidX1, offer end-to-end online transactions, from listing to completion. Don’t worry, many auction houses run online auctions in tandem with their physical ones, rather than switch to online exclusively. Many have been doing this for years with help from platforms like EIG’s online one.

Deploy remote bidding

Property auctions do not need a room full of buyers to result in success. Safe and secure online bidding environments already exist; smart software that’s compatible with all devices along with the ability to submit documents digitally and to pay fees quickly by BACS.

It’s also possible to close deals with proxy and telephone bidding – with an expert auctioneer able to co-ordinate the bid from anywhere – even their home office. As lockdown restrictions begin to lift, remote bidding may be the next safest step, followed by live streamed auctions.

Real-life auction case study

Andrew Parker, at SDL Auctions, has been going ahead with its planned schedule of auctions by creating a remote experience for investors and buyers

“We already broadcast a real-time live video feed of all our room auctions with multiple proxy, telephone and internet bids each time, so ‘lockdown’ auctions were very simple for SDL to set up. Plus we also have online auctions running every day. We’ve seen a good level of interest from both buyers and sellers for these remote room auctions; our three auctions last month attracted over 1,850 online viewers and more than 400 remote bids.”

Andrew adds: “The speed and flexibility of an online auction is likely to be a huge pull for people in the coming months. Being able to start and end an auction to suit the seller - and still have the competitive bidding environment of an auction - is a huge benefit.”

Keep your pipeline open

Use any downtime to keep talking to potential clients and to raise your profile online through digital marketing and social media. There is a high chance there will be pent-up demand once restrictions are eased, combined with a need for asset disposal and some owner-occupiers looking for a quick, assured sale. Your next in-room auction may be your best yet!

Official advice on viewings

Although the Government says ‘the buying and selling process can continue during this (lockdown) period’, they also remind us that unnecessary travel is prohibited. This includes allowing prospective buyers to view a property in person and visiting any property to undertake a valuation or to take photographs.

The future: ensuring viewings can always take place

Even if you are keen to resume in-house auctions – perhaps enjoying the sound of the gavel coming down - future proofing your business now could be essential. It goes without saying that ensuring you have a readily-available digital catalogue is essential, but there’s also work to do when it comes to viewings. Doing recorded tours tours of properties will increase your buyer base on a global scale and facilitate remote viewings, should the unthinkable ever happen again.

Future proofing with Viewber

Viewber will be commencing assisted viewings, 360? virtual tours and property photography as soon as the Government eases the existing lockdown. In the meantime, we’re working remotely to help auctioneers plan so they’re back out of the blocks with extra firepower – get in touch today.

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