If you’re a bit like me, you’re immediately thinking of ‘Homes Under the Hammer’, but bear with me… If you haven’t thought of buying or selling at auctions before, I might just change your mind! I’ve sold two of my own properties by auction, and I’ve purchased another that way, so I am no stranger to auction rooms. I have taken great care to find the right auction partner for you, and my choice is BidX1.
Over the last decade, auctions have changed dramatically. They are no longer the preserve of professional investors and bargain hunters with the availability to attend an auction room in person. Recently auctions have become accessible to a much wider audience of prospective buyers, without any geographical limits. In-room auctions and their online counterparts have both benefited from the development of user friendly online bidding platforms, thanks to unprecedented technological advances in website programming, connectivity, and security.
There has also been a significant change in the kind of properties offered. Auctions are no longer associated solely with bargain basement or problem properties. They are brilliant for sellers looking for a quicker and more secure transaction, or for owners of unique properties which could inspire competitive bidding. Of course, that includes canalside properties!
We are all well used to the concept of a traditional online auction – after all, many of us have bought and sold on eBay. The ‘traditional’ type of auction is unconditional. On eBay, for example, you enter into a legally binding contract to purchase an item when you commit to buy it, or when you have the winning bid. (eBay have different rules for cars and property, where a bid or offer is not binding, but expresses a buyer’s serious interest in the item, but we’ll ignore that for the purposes of this post). For properties in a traditional auction room, just like eBay, the contract is binding when the hammer falls. The buyer is required to exchange contracts within hours of making their winning bid. An online property auction is similar, in that if everything goes to plan it is much faster and more secure than a traditional sale. However, there is not one universal format for online property auctions, and although the timescales are always set in stone, they are not identical. If you are buying via an online auction, it is absolutely critical to read the small print.
You may have heard of the Modern Method of Auction as a common method for buying and selling property using an online auction platform. A more complete definition of a Modern Method of Auction states that the sale is conditional. In a conditional sale, the successful buyer pays a reservation fee to reserve the property, giving them an exclusive option to purchase. The buyer is given a longer timescale to finalise the transaction, typically 28 days to exchange and then a further 28 days to complete. The reservation fees can be very high and they are non refundable. For example, two of the biggest names charge a minimum £6000 reservation fee. Remember, this is an additional payment in excess of the property price, not a deposit! There is a great deal of unrest in the industry over these high reservation fees, and several online auction companies have sprung up to offer an alternative.
It took me a long time to look through all the auction companies offering partnerships with estate agents. I was looking for transparency and fairness; I wanted a user friendly and secure platform suitable for even the most inexperienced of buyers and sellers; I needed an experienced company who would willingly advise my clients on the best approach and guide price for their property; I wanted to retain a strong relationship with my sellers, and finally I wanted to continue to offer my specialist marketing services under my own branding, throughout the sale.
It was quite easy for me to exclude several of the online auction companies, either because their reservation fees were terribly high, or because once my client’s property was handed over to them, I would lose all control. Choosing between the remaining offerings was much harder. In the end I settled on BidX1. From the outset I found them very helpful and supportive, with bags of experience and professionalism, and a genuine air of enthusiasm for working alongside me and my clients. It is not entirely coincidental that the Canal and River Trust uses the same company – BidX1 agreed with me that the synergy could benefit our clients.
Their fees are much fairer too. The seller pays me a 2% commission. The seller doesn’t need to pay BidX1 any entry fees; instead I pay a BidX1 a percentage of my 2% commission. The only other cost to the seller is for the preparation of the legal pack in advance of the sale. They will normally instruct their own solicitor to prepare this, and it will probably cost somewhere around £450. The buyer does pay BidX1 an admin fee, which is BidX1’s equivalent of a reservation fee, but this is usually between £1,250 and £2,000 + vat, not the crazy £6,000 or more – even £10,000 – which I have seen elsewhere!
You can read more about my choice below. Finally, here’s a summary of what you get with my auction service:
- Joint Sole Agency with BidX1
- Fee 2% of sale price + vat, minimum fee £3,500 + vat
- No additional seller’s fee payable to BidX1
- Market appraisal visit, report, and ongoing advice from me in person
- Expert advice from my auction partners BidX1
- Listing on Rightmove and Zoopla
- Marketing on the eXp website
- Enhanced marketing on my social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube
- Consultation with property stylist (included if required, optional)
- Professional photography by a qualified photographer
- Bespoke gloss handout brochures if required
- 360° virtual tour
- Professional video
- Drone photography (subject to CAA restrictions)
- For Sale boards (including canalside board)
- History of your house researched (if applicable)
- Press releases to local papers and canal magazines (no guarantees of publication).
- Accompanied viewings (expenses may be payable)
- Open Days for viewings (expenses may be payable)
- Your solicitor will need to prepare a legal pack
- My auction partners BidX1 manage the auction and sale for you
Please get in touch if you would like to talk about auctioning your property.