I attend two Portland real estate auctions in the last couple of weeks. The first, run by REDC featured bank owned properties throughout the area. The second hosted by Accredited Marketing Partners focused solely on the South Waterfront’s Atwater Place.
In both cases, registered buyers could work with their existing real estate broker, required an earnest money deposit in the form of cash or cashier’s check, and had a live in-the-flesh auctioneer and had backup bidder opportunities at the end of the auction.
REDC had an online bidding system and web simulcast. Though only one online bidder won an auction it had a global spread because of it. The online bidders cause little or no delay in the process. REDC also had a digital visual scorecard of the properties that had sold. By the end of the auction, some of the first properties had come back on the market because the higher bidder could not (or chose not to) perform.
REDC had signs posted that there is a 5% buyer’s premium added to all sales and that there were undisclosed reserves; just because you won the bidding didn’t mean the seller was obligated to sell to you. Prior to the Atwater auction I confirmed that there were no reserves. The Atwater Place auction probably had 10 times the attendance (estimation).
Both auctions ran very smoothly, they knew what they were doing and how to handle the situation though it did appear at the end of the Atwater auction that one of the winning bidders had done “a runner.” She was nowhere to be found and I don’t know how that worked out. One would have to expect they know how to track down a winning bidder given the registration process.
The bottom line is that though the theories are the same but the method is not. Like any property purchase, you need to do your homework before pulling the trigger.