Friday, January 25, 2008

Online Real Estate Auctions - A Powerful Option

In most areas of the country, it’s a great time to be a buyer. There are lots of properties to choose from and lots of great deals available. But what if you need to sell?

Homeowners and real estate agents are struggling to get their properties noticed and sold. It’s not surprising that now more than ever, sellers are turning to other creative strategies to market their properties. One such creative strategy is an online auction.

While live auctions have been successful for centuries, the rapid growth of online auctions is relatively new. This recent growth is the result of a slowing real estate market, advancing technology and our acceptance of buying online.

Online auctions are becoming an easier and inexpensive alternative. They still require preparation, marketing and effort, but a growing number of online auction sites provide additional tools and resources to make the process easier.

Here are the basics of how an online auction works. The homeowner or listing agent gathers all the property details and takes pictures just as they would for any other listing. They select the online auction system they will use, the dates of their auction (usually 2-3 weeks), and the terms of their auction. They plan their marketing, decide on their hidden reserve (minimum price) and determine their starting bid. When everything is in place they create and activate their online auction, do some marketing, open houses and then watch the bids roll in.

When the auction ends, the highest bidder who has met or exceeded the reserve price is the winner. One thing to keep in mind is that an online auction is not binding. Therefore, it is important that the seller, buyer and agents (if any) get together shortly after it ends to sign the paperwork and collect escrow monies.

That’s all there is to it. It definitely requires effort and the right pricing in order to be successful, but it’s a great option to have when you need to sell quickly.

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