Written by: Toby Limbrick | 19 Apr 2023

How COVID changed the world of property auctions for the better.

Before the carnage of Covid, we held our auctions as you’d expect, in West End hotel ballrooms, just like the ones you see on TV. Not being able to do this was daunting for anyone working in the world of auctions, but little did we know converting to hosting auctions online was about to become one of the best things to happen to the auction world. Like us, many estate agents become auctioneers because they value the speed and certainty that auctions offer, which differs massively from the uncertainty of a private treaty sale, so when forced to move to a process that is effectively more certain than what it was already, what’s not to like?

Change! That’s what people don’t like. Having to adapt to something new as traditional auctioneers was terrifying, to say the least, but it’s fair to say we’ve never been happier.

Don’t get us wrong, old school auctions were exhilarating, not knowing how many bidders would show up or if you’d even have any at all, the hustle and bustle of bidders crowding around the contracts desk, people taking phone calls in readiness, the magic of physically doing the auction, but there was no way of telling whether the people showing up to the auction were serious buyers, or whether they were just on a day out, and, although the results were good, we subconsciously craved some additional certainty.

The additional certainty came when we switched to the online process. Our register-to-bid system means that we now obtain a £5000 hold on a potential buyer’s credit card before they can join the auction, which means our auction consists of buyers who genuinely intend on buying something which makes a positive difference to both us as auctioneers but our clients too. The fact we can monitor how many buyers have registered to bid makes a difference as well, for example, with pre-auction offers. Clearly it would be a mistake to sell prior with multiple registrations to bid when competition between bidders delivers the best result. Conversely, selling prior when a strong offer is made could be advantageous if only a handful of bidders have registered. Switch that scenario to an old school auction, with decisions based on experience rather than factual data and those days feel old fashioned and outdated!

Not only does the online process offer even more certainty, but it also offers more excitement and satisfaction. We became auctioneers because of the speed and certainty, but also because it offers a solution to the sellers who need it most. Being able to help people is still at the forefront of what we do and why we do it, and no matter how many times we may have to adapt the auction process, that’s the one thing that will always remain the same.

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