Friday, February 3, 2012

How live online property auctions work

An auction is a sales process that allows assets to be sold to the highest bidder. As the world moves ever-increasingly towards online business, it makes sense that auctions themselves are finding enormous popularity online. Take eBay and bidorbuy as prime examples of international online sites that enable buyers and sellers to participate live from anywhere in the world, at any time of the day or night.

To date, most of the goods these sites offer have been moveable assets. However, one of the latest arenas to move online in a big way is the auction of immoveable property – real estate.

Numerous South African property auction houses are now starting to offer online property auction facilities, with the transactional nature varying according to the sophistication of the technical platform utilised. This ranges from sites such as Auction Alliance that allow web streaming of traditional auctions (which still take place at a set time in a set venue) to the more interactive sites, such as Powells, that conduct auctions entirely online, allowing bidders to bid in real time, right up to closing. Registered bidders who have placed a bid on a property (or who are interested in watching the bid progress of a property) are informed via email when other bids are placed.

One of the world’s largest live online auction sites is GoIndustry DoveBid, who have launched the company’s first dedicated live online property auction site through its South African office, GoIndustry DoveBid SA (Pty) Limited.

GoIndustry DoveBid’s proprietary software platform, developed over 10 years ago, allows its online auctions to be fully interactive in real time around the clock. As the company has 40 offices across the globe in 27 different countries, dedicated in-house technical support staff are thus available 24/7 to answer questions immediately from bidders anywhere in the world as these come in during an auction, while also ensuring that the site is secure at all times.

Viewing the various properties on offer online is a fairly simply process on most sites, and requires no more than simply logging on to the site. However, in order to participate as a bidder, a registration process of some nature is required and may necessitate the provision of some financial information, and in some cases even a refundable deposit.

Unlike traditional auctions that happen in a physical venue at a set time, online auctions can go on for days from the time they open until they close, making it impossible for individual bidders to monitor the progress of their bid around the clock. Therefore, the most cyber-savvy online auction houses have mechanisms in place to ensure that bidders are able to participate for as long as lots are still within their financial range.

These range from email alerts to autobids – the latter being a system that allows the online site to ‘bid’ on your behalf in the allowable bid increments for the relevant lot. GoIndustry DoveBid South Africa employs both alerts and the autobid system.

Kim Faclier, MD of GoIndustry DoveBid SA’s Property Division (Africa) explains: “Let’s say you are willing to pay up to R2.5-million for a particular property and the current online bid is sitting at R2-million against you, with the applicable bid increment sitting at R20 000 per bid. Once you have registered for Autobid, the system will place a bid on your behalf of R2.02m, making your bid the current highest bid.

“If someone else puts in a higher bid at R2.04m, Autobid will go up by another bid increment to put you at R2.06m. This will continue, on your behalf, up to your R2.5m maximum. If the bidding stops at R2.3m, for example, and yours is the highest bid (and has met the reserve), you will have acquired the property for that amount and saved R200 000 against what you were originally prepared to bid.”

John Cowing, MD of GoIndustry DoveBid SA concludes: “The internet has changed the way we all do business, and auctions are no different. I have no doubt that growth in online auctions will be exponential, and adaptation will take place quickly.”

With the idea of online property auctions still quite new to the marketplace, GoIndustry DoveBid makes it as easy as possible for both buyers and sellers to find their way around. The landing page for their South African property site ( gives a complete overview of the ‘how to’ process from registering to view or list properties right through to how to bid on them.

For more information contact:

Joey Burke: New Business Development, GoIndustry DoveBid SA (Pty) Limited

Tel: +27 21 702 3206 or email:


Kim Faclier: MD Property (Africa), GoIndustry DoveBid SA (Pty) Limited

Tel: +27 21 702 3206 or email:


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