Time to go Online - 11th October, 2007

Some things are inevitable, some are inspired, and some are both. Online auctions, the latest groundbreaking initiative of Century 21 nationally, falls into the third category. They’re hot, they’re happening and they’re coming to a suburb near you. Yes, online auctions could be held in Brisbane’s western suburbs as early as next month following recent successful trials in southern states. This month’s trials have not only proven the technological integrity of online auctions but also have demonstrated their widespread consumer support. I was recently asked to speak about this hot topic on Seven News, which prompted a number of next-day enquiries about when and how online auctions would be introduced locally. Clearly there is a view that this is very much the way of the future – a natural extension of other types of online bidding – and there is certainly some excitement that this medium of selling puts power back into the hands of home-buyers. Indeed the old days of pressure-cooker auction environments in auction rooms and on street sides are perhaps approaching an end. Online auctions enable interested parties to participate via live video streaming without the intervention of third parties and without the normal poker-face emotional game-playing that has historically gone part and parcel with the auction experience. For those people who have avoided auctions in the past due to the stress of the high-emotion, in-your-face setting, online auctions are very good news. For sellers, they also open up the possibility of international bidders being able to directly vie for a home, multiplying one’s buyer base exponentially. Century 21 has joined with PTY Auctions to develop the Microsoft-based software applications that power the online auctions – a cost to vendors of just $320 to place their auction online. Bidders are able to register online, bid and exchange contracts, place proxy bids and monitor more than one auction from different agents. I don’t think I’m understating things: it’s a brave new world and it’s very exciting. Until next week … Gerard Baden-Clay Principal, Century 21 Westside