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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Thought LeadersGoing, going…gone: Has Covid killed off the traditional auctioneer?

Going, going…gone: Has Covid killed off the traditional auctioneer?

Landwood Property Auctions Director Kate Lay comments:

The impact of the coronavirus outbreak is being felt across all industries.

It’s sweeping aside outmoded ways of working, while ushering in widespread efficiencies and improved ways of working.

Easier, safer and more flexible for all concerned, it’s clear that online auctions are the future for the property auctions sector. Not only do they eradicate any safety concerns, they offer an experience far superior to the traditional model.

The benefits of an online approach for buyers include greater transparency, fixed auction times to avoid hanging around a stuffy auction room all day. They also get to place a bid when they choose to, not when the auctioneer decides that they can join in.

For sellers, the upsides include no more waiting weeks for an auction date or panicking that you might miss the deadline. Sales details, guide prices and reserves can all be updated regularly throughout the marketing to reflect any changes that may come about – meaning no outdated printed catalogues.

At Landwood, we’re experts in this field – having held weekly online sales since our inception in 2018. We’ve never staged a traditional property auction and never will.

Our tech-driven approach has seen us utilise digital auction technology that dispenses with any need for a physical auctioneer. It allows more bids to be taken in a shorter space of time – maximising potential returns for sellers and giving buyers more opportunities to secure a property. A recent sale saw us receive 16 bids in under 30 seconds and no physical auctioneer could possibly register that many bids in that short space of time.

And by holding sales on a weekly basis – we can actively engage with potential buyers for longer and deliver better returns for clients. It’s an approach that consistently delivers impressive returns for sellers and a seamless experience for buyers.

A traditional auction also allocates a set amount of time per property – so they can get through the list of registered lots on that particular day. That can often result in properties not reaching their full sale potential as lots have to be moved on for further sales to take place.

Through lockdown we’ve seen record numbers of bidders drawn to our way of working – with sales likely to hit £25million by the end of the year.

Our platform has also consigned the traditional summer lull to history.

Traditional auction houses scale back or halt operations entirely between July and September as the industry puts its feet up. But, through maintaining our timetable of online-only sales every seven days we hit new sales highs in August and have seen continued success throughout Autumn.

The old fashioned auction houses are of course attempting to play catch up, with many operating a hybrid model – essentially trying to replicate in-the-room auctions digitally. This misses the point entirely and makes no use of the technology now available. It offers no benefit to either buyers or sellers.

There’s no doubt about it. The industry has reached a watershed moment. It’s time to face facts – technology has now made traditional auctioneers entirely surplus to requirements.

They’re going, going…gone.

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