Industry Opinion as seen in Elite Agent

25 March 2022

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Queensland’s auction agents are on the eve of a disruptive time of year. But, with the market’s embrace of online bidding – a legacy of COVID - it shouldn’t be. REIQ Auctioneer of the Year David Holmes shares his thoughts.

 

Three consecutive long weekends basking in Queensland’s invigorating autumn sun – that should be a highlight on anyone’s annual calendar!

 

But, if you’re an agent that favours auctions for premium results, the period isn’t much fun or productive.

 

For auction agents, the run of public holidays – Easter, followed by Anzac Day and Labor Day long weekends - has become a scheduling headache over the last couple of years. Many agents have given up hosting auctions over the period, directing their sellers toward the middle of May, instead.

 

Agents worry that scheduling an auction that runs into a public holiday will ensure a low turnout.

 

I don’t believe we should think like that, anymore.

 

COVID-19 showed us many things, one of which was the market’s enthusiasm and comfort with digital tools across the spectrum of applications: remote working, online shopping and studying and more.

 

The pandemic showed buyers that they didn’t need to be standing on the front lawn of a home to buy it. Online bidding has become auction agents’ COVID-19 legacy. What originally started out as a way to buy property in lockdown has now become a mainstay of auctions.

 

Over spring and summer, one in every three bidders at auctions I called logged in via an online platform, comfortably competing with those in the room. It’s been a game-changer for auction agents in expanding competition for their vendors. Indeed, some agents are now managing weekday online-only events and achieving great results in the process.

 

When a buyer has discovered their dream home, they’re a serious bidder. And serious bidders don't care when, where or how an auction takes place: they’ll bid through their weekday lunch break and forgo Friday work drinks if it gets them and their family into their new palace. You’ll get the same commitment from an investor who has identified outstanding capital growth potential in their due diligence.

 

So, why do we have difficulty in convincing vendors that they can achieve a premium result at auction on a long weekend? Serious bidders – the bidders that we really want to engage for our sellers – will happily give up an hour of their three days at Noosa or Byron Bay to cast a winning bid from their holiday apartment balcony. So why do we avoid long weekends like the plague?

 

Now, I agree that Easter is a no-go zone – you'll be hard-pressed to find someone in real estate mode over the four-day break.

 

But for the following long weekends – or the Queen’s Birthday, later in the year, for that matter – there are opportunities to be had.

 

So, instead of giving-up three consecutive weekends of auction opportunities, why don’t auction agents talk to their sellers about the benefits of online bidding?

 

April and May is already an amazing time to be in Queensland – but for sellers, it could be even better.

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