AnalysisLifestyleResidential News

Property auctions re-imagined: Now more accessible to home buyers

If lockdowns have taught us anything, it is that technological and digital innovations have proven invaluable in ensuring continued efficiency of business, including meeting increasing customer demand for mobility, ease, convenience and speed that we’d have never previously dreamed possible, says Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group.

“With true South African resilience and determination, we saw a change in mindset as people around the country resolved to get on with their lives – and business, accepting and utilising technology to its fullest advantage, to the extent that this has now become more a standard expectation than not.”

Dr Golding says this adoption of technology was particularly pronounced as far as the buying and selling of property is concerned. “Companies which leveraged the latest technology while maintaining client relationships and personal service were able to transact while expanding their reach amid extremely difficult times. In retrospect, this has now catalysed the local real estate market to significantly evolve as far as ease and convenience are concerned, these aspects of service being central to customer needs in the modern world. While in no way detracting from preferred and still primary selling methodology, namely the more traditional ‘private treaty’ and with it, the importance of personalised, professional service, this new world has given rise to a continually emerging worldwide trend towards online property auctions in instances where an urgent sale is required.

“Notably, during the past two years, it’s become evident to us that there is a certain category of sellers who require a different approach to the marketing and sale of their properties, whereby urgency and a degree of certainty – in terms of timing and the non-suspensive nature of the offer – are pre-requisites. This is the sweet spot for the auction strategy, with the pricing of these properties being such that it proves enticing to prospective buyers.

“To cater for this need, our specialist auction division, Pam Golding Auctions, has now evolved to redefine the online property auction arena, with what we refer to as ‘people-powered technology’, by offering buyers access to a portfolio of select properties at significantly reduced prices, along with the ease of being able to make online offers – prior to or on the auction itself – but with the assurance of a personalised and dedicated buying service offered by our auction team.”

Elaborates Anthony Stroebel, head of new business development for Pam Golding Properties: “Drawing on our extensive network and reputation for quality and service, backed by the latest real-time property technology, our Next-Generation online property trading platform now provides our primary home buyers, as well as property investors,  with an additional opportunity to access a portfolio of quality properties specifically mandated by our sellers to secure an urgent sale on their behalf and therefore priced accordingly.

“Traditionally, properties on auction have been perceived to be, more often than not, in a state of ‘distress’ and not ideally suited to experiencing the joys of house-hunting for your dream home. These auction events are also often considered to be highly pressured and somewhat mysterious, primarily serving the needs of bargain hunters and investment opportunists.

“We’ve realised the need to demystify property auctions and to make them easier and more accessible to homebuyers across the board, with the added benefit of more-than-just competitive pricing, with specialist agents on hand to assist 24/7.

“And why shouldn’t buyers enjoy the best of both worlds? While the properties on auction are ‘on sale’ for a limited window of time, you still have the time you need to ensure you’re making the right decision, coupled with the price advantage associated with the auction process.”

Says Tania Smit, who heads up Pam Golding Auctions: “Every property is listed for a period of four weeks before the auction commences, during which time you can make a pre-auction offer if you wish. Prices will typically be up to 15-20% below what the property was previously listed on the market for.

Adds Stroebel: “This innovative sales platform is enabled by Offr, a unique Offer Processing Engine, allowing us to provide our buyers with a fully-mobile, smooth, hassle-free, end-to-end online property transaction, including both pre-auction offers and auction bidding.

“Our sellers are open to considering all pre-auction offers which can be simply made right there on the online platform and are transparently shown in live time. These will then be presented to the seller for consideration.  During this time, you will automatically be advised should a new offer come in subsequent to yours, in which case you can increase your original offer. You can also sign up to be alerted when new properties are added to our portfolio.”

Smit says after the four-week period, the auction will then commence for a defined period of six days.

No buyer’s fee payable

“Buying on our auctions is a straightforward process – simply register on our platform, which pops up on the property page and then follow the easy steps, which include direct contact with our auctions team in order to ensure immediate personal service. For added convenience, you can even book your ideal viewing time on the platform, as well as apply for pre-approved mortgage finance.

“Unlike the traditional property auction, there is no buyer’s fee payable, which further enhances our commitment to offering buyers exceptional property value. Online pre-auction offers and live auction bids are made anonymously, securely and transparently with ease, convenience and peace of mind from any device from anywhere in the world. Our unique buyer’s dashboard also provides a real-time view of your offer or bid status plus that of other interested buyers, thereby empowering you to make the best buying decisions in order to ensure success and the best final price.”

Smit says important to note is that an auction sale is legally binding, so if you are a successful buyer, you will be required to sign a binding contract, pay a non-refundable deposit within 24 hours and the balance on the closing date as set out in the contract. However, any pre-auction offers are treated just as they would be in the traditional sense, regarding contracts and timing, and so on.

“Set a price limit to suit your budget and stick to it. You can even set an automated maximum bid on the bidding platform which will then automatically bid on your behalf up to this amount. All the legal documents relating to the property are also available for immediate download off the platform, in order to carry out due diligence on the property in good time prior to bidding.”

Adds Stroebel: “In a nutshell, this strategy is designed to provide our buyers with a completely unique and innovative opportunity to buy a home through us with increased convenience and at an exceptional price. All the advantages of an auction but without any of the hurdles.”