On Monday 16th May, the RICS held their annual Auctioneering Conference. Bamboo was kindly invited to join a panel to discuss how the auction industry might increase its market reach and stretch beyond the 1.9% of the total property market that it has teetered at for almost a decade.
Members of the panel included Phillip Arnold, current president of NAVA, Andrew Binstock from Auction House London and Gavinder Sangra from Shonki Brothers — so we were not short of expertise.
Despite the expertise on the panel, it did appear from the reaction of the audience, that a real discussion had not been had. There was also much that we wanted to say, but didn’t have the chance. With that in mind, we thought we’d set out a few of the key messages that we’d hoped to leave with auctioneers.
- As an industry, we need to raise information standards to a consistent and high level. This means that both buyers and sellers need to be properly informed on how auctions work, what the Common Auction Conditions mean and importantly how properties are priced. Both RICS and NAVA can help on this front, by providing independent information, forming closer alliances with other professional bodies such as the Guild of Professional Estate Agents or NAEA and by raising awareness directly with the public.
- RICS should create a “RICS Approved” level of membership. This is for organisations that do not meet the criteria for full RICS membership, but want to abide by the RICS code of conduct. This would do wonders to raise standards and would cost little to implement.
- We need uniformity of conditions. Adopting the Common Auction Conditions should be mandatory. We also need a Common Auction Conditions for online auctions.
- We should think about creating an Auctioneers Ombudsman. This would be independent and would be the primary port of call for customers should they need assistance in relation to auctions.
These measures would surely create more trust and make it more likely that vendors use this method of sale.
- There is huge potential for the auction market. 156,000 new homes were built in the UK in 2015. We believe that many of these could be sold by auction. Indeed, a major auction house has already launched their new homes auction to capture some of this market and we believe that there is scope for others to follow suit.
- Widening choice for vendors. Making a vendor wait for 6 weeks for an auction could put them off using the method of sale. Being agile and innovative by having an online auction is only going to win or at least retain more instructions.
- We mentioned it above, but raising awareness is crucial. While we’re not so sure one national advert during Coronation Street is the way to do this, we do think that a continuous and targeted marketing campaign is a good way to increase exposure to the auction method of sale.
- Having spoken to most auctioneers over the last 6 months, our general impression is that having an online auction is rising to the top of their priority list. Most auction houses are revamping their websites and it is the perfect time to integrate an online auction.
- Consumers are getting familiar with properties being online. Online estate agents are becoming more popular and an online auction is a great way to engage these tech-friendly consumers.
- Most auctioneers are working at 120% capacity — technology can make the life of an auctioneer much easier — this frees up time from admin, leaving auctioneers to win instructions and continue to provide great customer service.
- Technology can enable access to highly useful data — we manage all underbidders and have a record of all bids, which means that you can make sure you can target buyers more accurately. We also profile buyers, so we will have useful information on:
- who a bidder is
- when they place their bid (optimal times) and how much they bid
- where bids are placed from (mobile or laptop; work or home; national or local)
- bidding habits — how a bidder bids (increments, frequency)
This kind of information is particularly useful to drive how an auction house markets property. We’ll be writing a blog on useful marketing tips soon — watch this space.
Bamboo Auctions builds branded online auction platforms for auction houses, allowing buyers and sellers to exchange online, immediately at the end of a specified time period. For more information or to arrange an online demonstration call 0330 088 9659 or email firstname.lastname@example.org