Monday, August 20, 2007

Do Online Real Estate Auctions really work?

“Do online real estate auctions really work?” is a common question from sellers who are new to using online auctions to market a property. The answer: Yes, they do work! If they didn’t work, we would be seeing a decline in online real estate auctions and instead we are seeing an increase.

Prior to the popularity of the Internet, only live auctions were available. A live auction is successful in drawing attention, but they require coordination, advertising and auctioneer fees. It’s not uncommon for a seller to pay thousands of dollars upfront and it doesn’t guarantee a property will sell. Live auctions are still successful today and there will always be a place for them.

Today, the Internet is changing the real estate auction industry. An online auction can be just as successful in drawing attention and doesn’t require as much cost upfront. The success will still be related to how well it is advertised and whether it’s a good deal, but an online auction is an easier alternative and available to more sellers. In today’s market where properties are not selling as fast, sellers are looking for more options. As a result, more sellers are turning to online real estate auctions as a solution.

Another reason that online real estate auctions are becoming popular is because buyers are more comfortable bidding online. No longer are online auctions just for “as-is”, sight unseen properties. Some sellers are helping encourage bids by giving access to the property, allowing inspection periods and/or providing inspection reports. Another reason for their popularity is that it’s easier to bid than to write up a sales contract. All negotiation is automated and done on line.

The winning bid on an online real estate auction site like or is similar to a verbal commitment. It doesn’t become binding until a sale contract is signed. That doesn’t mean a bidder should not be serious about following through, but it does allow them to submit bids without worrying about getting “stuck” with a property if a problem is uncovered.

However, it’s now a buyer’s market and that’s changing how online real estate auctions are run. For example, more and more auction listings provide buyers a way to view a property and do their due diligence before bidding. As auctions are still the best way for a seller to get their property noticed, it’s not a surprise that more sellers are combining that marketing power with flexibility to make their property more appealing.

An auction is still the best way to market or find a deal on a property. As buyer confidence grows and the online Real Estate auction success continues, more sellers will move to online auctions, changing the way real estate is bought and sold for everyone.

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