Online auctions: ‘People are very comfortable’

By Bianca Dabu 17 August 2021 | 1 minute read

Lockdowns do not appear to be fazing buyers and sellers, according to one network, which has reported a “seamless” transition to online as of late.

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With the online auction process now made “as simple as buying groceries online”, LJ Hooker Group’s head of sales, Troy Malcolm, acknowledges clearance rates are remaining strong in Sydney — despite the ongoing lockdown.

He has flagged continuing demand and stock shortages as contributing to this — as well as a higher level of ease at operating online, from both buyers and sellers alike.

“The transition to online auctions has been smoother than previous lockdowns, with increased buyer confidence and easy-to-use technology,” the sales head highlighted.

Some suburbs have even set new records, according to LJ Hooker.

The network has reported that one Mount Druitt property attracted over 30 online bidders, ending up selling for $520,000 above the owner’s reserve.

Another Asquith property saw 98 bids and fetched $100,000 above expectations, while a St Ives property saw 113 bids before selling for $320,000 above its reserve after only two weeks on the market.

Reflecting on the results, Atlas by LJ Hooker Upper North Shore agent Stephanie Hearne said: “People are very comfortable with the online process.

“There is just such little supply out there and pre-approvals give buyers a finite time to purchase before having to go through the whole process of getting finance again — so they are very motivated.”

But how did buyers and sellers adjust to the digital process quickly?

While still lacking the emotion of a live auction, Mr Malcolm noted that online auction platforms made up for it with a straightforward and “extremely user-friendly” process that anyone who has used an e-commerce site can definitely navigate.

Ultimately, he said it came down to two key components: communication and accessibility.

“Agents are being more involved with the buyers, checking in with them two or three times a week to make sure they have all the information they need to be able to make a bid,” Mr Malcolm explained.

“Auctioneers are also speaking to buyers and coaching them through the process, while the platforms have also helped out a lot.” 

Looking ahead, he expects online auctions to remain popular as technology continues to evolve — even in the post-COVID market.

“This is a great tool moving forward — it is going to provide a hybrid approach, so if you have buyers overseas or interstate, they can use the digital platform and they compete against the buyers that are present,” Mr Malcolm concluded.

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Online auctions: ‘People are very comfortable’
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