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Auction roundup: Sales success across the board despite corona woes

This week, Property Investor Today profiles Seel & Co’s first online auction, SDL Auctions’ upcoming national property auctions, iamsold’s resilience in its latest sale and the success of BidX1’s online April event.

Seel & Co’s first online auction sees 1,000-plus bids for one lot

Seel & Co auctioneers received a record-breaking 1,048 bids for one lot at its inaugural online auction on March 31.


In light of the coronavirus outbreak, the auctioneer held the auction fully online and encouraged bidders to register and bid early for the lots in its catalogue.

Lot 26, a leasehold interest in a terraced house on Broadway, Cardiff, was guided at just £1 but eventually sold for more than £21,000 after a fierce bidding war.

Huw Edwards, auctioneer at Seel & Co, comments: “Lot 26 was an unusual lot in itself as it is a leasehold interest which is relatively short, which is why the guide price was so low. When we realised that the bids were mounting, we were very surprised and pleased for our client.”

“We then realised that in fact we had more than 1,048 bids on that one lot and have been told that this is a record for an online property auction, which was even better news.”

He says this outcome was a new experience for the auction company, which took its first venture online after more than 100 years in the auction business.

Edwards adds: “All of the lots sold well in excess of their guide price and we had lots of bidders register, some of whom had never bought at an auction before. It was great that this format attracted a different buying audience.”

Seel & Co’s next online auction is being held on May 19. The catalogue will be available online from Friday May 1 where people can register to bid for each lot via the website. Bidding will then commence on Friday May 15 and conclude on May 19.

The auctioneer will be posting as many full 3D virtual reality tours as possible, as well as photographs for the auction to allow interested parties to view from the comfort of their own home in these challenging times.

Husband and wife duo keep auctions running during lockdown

SDL Auctions has announced it will hold monthly national property auctions via live video feed to keep the industry going during this period of lockdown.

Managing director and auctioneer Andrew Parker and his wife Rachael, who is the regional property manager for the East Midlands, have stepped up to run the remote auctions from the head office in Chilwell, Nottingham.

They will be the only people in the room to ensure that social distancing is maintained.

Andrew comments: “Rachael and I are confident that, with the help of a remote team, we can keep the auction running as smoothly as ever, without coming into contact with anyone from outside our household. Viewers at home will see very little difference from our usual room auctions which have been streamed over the internet for many years.”

To adapt to these challenging times, the auctions will replace the regional sales which had been planned to take place in Nottingham and Manchester in April and Derby and Birmingham in May.

They follow last month’s three successful auctions which were held behind closed doors in the first week of lockdown. The auctions were broadcast live via the internet and watched by 1,850 people, raising £7.1 million for sellers.

The new-style auctions will feature properties around the country, with the first one taking place on Thursday April 30, with the second following on Thursday May 28.

Andrew will conduct the auctions from the rostrum and handle proxy bids as usual, while Rachael will manage internet bidding. A remote team will take telephone bids and convey them to the auction room via Microsoft Teams.

“Our new national property auctions are the ideal solution as they allow us to continue to serve our buyers and sellers during these uncertain times, without putting anyone at risk,” Andrew says. “It is a sad fact of life that some people will need to sell their property, crisis or no crisis, and we are proud to be there for them when they need us.”

Just as in a standard room auction, buyers will be able to place bids on the internet, by telephone and by proxy.

Since SDL Auctions’ new national property auction was announced, more than 60 lots have already been entered.

Andrew adds: “The success of our March auctions proved that people are more willing to bid remotely and are just as keen as ever to buy and sell property. In fact, some of our offices have seen an increase in instructions since the pandemic began, as sellers realise we are still open for business and can offer the certainty of a set timeframe.”

The majority of the residential lots going under the hammer are vacant, while a few are already let to tenants. Properties include a converted former hunting lodge of the estate of The Earl of Shrewsbury in Derbyshire, a stripped-out Nottinghamshire cottage which has planning permission for a single-storey extension and a detached bungalow in Staffordshire which requires renovation.

There are also luxury apartments in Salford and Birmingham, as well as commercial properties and several plots of land, both with and without planning permission.

For more information on SDL Auctions’ upcoming auctions, or to request a non-contact valuation, you can call them on 0800 304 7879 or visit www.sdlauctions.co.uk.

Positive online auction results for iamsold despite corona crisis

iamsold’s online March auction saw 296 sales, accounting for 98% of recent sales successes compared to its average run of 80%.

The firm – which is a flagship brand of iamproperty and a pioneer of the Modern Method of Auction – made the decision to move all of its live in-room auctions online to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest essential information group (EIG) results show iamsold topping both the overall auction performance and online auctions tables; coming top for both lots sold (3,842) and capital value raised (£490,376,379) and increasing its share of the online auction market to almost 70%.

With over a third of the firm’s sales coming from vacant properties and another one-third from Probate, the team are confident that they can continue to offer agents a route to faster cash and support cashflow, at a time when they need it most.

Ben Ridgway, chief executive officer of iamproperty, comments: “We are still open and ready to support our network and the industry, and we’re doing everything we can to provide whatever assistance they need.”

“Our online auction offering is showing good levels of resilience so far, when compared to the property market as a whole. As consumers are spending more time online and looking for remote tech-based solutions, we are confident that we have a proposition that will enable our agents to offer a viable alternative during this crisis and beyond.”

BidX1 achieves 83% success rate amid coronavirus uncertainty

Digital auction company BidX1 achieved an 83% success rate at its April online auction, bringing its success rate in 2020 to 87%, with £27 million raised.

The firm’s model – which uses proprietary software that is developed and manged in-house – has mitigated any business disruption, selling over £7 million worth of property across its five markets against a backdrop of national lockdowns with all staff working remotely.

The highest value lot at its UK sale was a freehold end-of-terrace house located in Charlton, within the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Arranged as two self-contained flats with a rear garden and off-street parking, the property was listed by order of the Court of Protection and sold for £525,000.

Meanwhile, Severn Trent used the digital platform to good effect, with a 100% success rate for the seven sites offered. With plenty of pre-auction interest, including 362 requests for legal packs, BidX1 had 68 approved bidders on the day. The combined sale price came in at £276,400 against its guide of £125,000, following 480 bids across the seven lots.

As established online auctioneers, BidX1 incorporates ‘the best of the traditional auction model’ with the use of technology. In 2019, the UK catalogues received a total of 1,145,075 views from 119 countries, and the company reported a 335% increase in bids on the platform and a 78% increase in registered bidders.

Oliver Childs, head of commercial auctions at BidX1, comments: “Our technology has never been more important, minimising disruption to our business and allowing us to deliver for clients in challenging circumstances; we’re very pleased to have achieved an 83% success rate at our April auction.”

“These assets were priced prior to Covid-19 becoming the health issue that it has become globally, but especially in the UK. We’ve worked closely with our clients to enable them to navigate the current market, and to make important decisions in a constantly changing environment, while also providing more ways for interested parties to carry out due diligence including additional floorplans, video walk-throughs and drone videos of sites.”

He says while the challenges that the market are facing are unprecedented, they also raise questions about the viability of traditional sale processes in an increasingly digital world, claiming this period may prove to be ‘the catalyst for permanent change in the property industry’.

“The BidX1 platform facilitates end-to-end online transactions – from listing to exchange of contracts,” Child adds. “We take the marketplace to bidders, allowing them to transact from wherever they are, removing the need to attend a fixed physical location; buyers can bid from any device, anywhere in the world, in a safe and secure environment.”

The BidX1 platform is fully transparent, with all bids logged and displayed in real-time during the auction, and contracts are exchanged digitally as soon as a lot closes.

The auctioneer’s next residential and commercial online auction will take place on Wednesday June 3.


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