Monday, May 20

On the digital block

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Bid from home, on holiday or in the middle of the night as online auctions become de rigueur

An industrial chimney in Dublin, Ireland, which generates income by accommodating mobile phone masts, is one of the most unusual properties auctioned during the past year.

South Africa can also see some unusual properties on auction platforms in the future.

The chimney was sold by BidX1, a UK-based digital auction house which has now launched in South Africa.

Founder and chief executive Stephen McCarthy says this digital auction process is “simple”, and enables anyone to buy or sell property on auction in a secure and transparent manner, and at a market-related price.

With technology becoming a part of almost every industry worldwide, he says it makes perfect sense that digital will also appeal to the auction market.

“Digital disruption has taken the world by storm, including in South Africa, where the property industry lends itself to online auction bidding. Globally we are already seeing that about 42% of our transactions are conducted via hand-held devices, and over vast geographical areas.”

Furthermore, he says, many transactions are concluded by repeat buyers and sellers.

“A good example of the power of the digital platform was illustrated in March last year, when Ireland came to a standstill due to extreme weather conditions. This placed no dampener on our two-day online auction held in the midst of the country’s worst storm in 30 years, when we sold more than 210 properties.”

McCarthy says: “There is an appetite for such change from consumers who have seen technology enhance many other areas of their lives.”

MC du Toit has been appointed chief executive of Auctions and Sales at BidX1 South Africa.

BidX1SA will offer on auction a full spectrum of properties from residential to commercial, retail, industrial and agricultural property and investment portfolios. Their first auction will be held in April.

Du Toit says: “For sellers, through ground-breaking technology, they now have access to previously unseen levels of speed, transparency and worldwide exposure, while buyers and investors have the ultimate convenience of being able to bid and transact in minutes, from wherever they are globally. You can bid from the comfort of your home, on holiday, in between meetings, even in the middle of the night, depending on your location and time zone.”

Legal documents are available for inspection online prior to auction and properties cab be viewed on site as required.

“Every bid placed during the sale of a property is logged and displayed in real time and, along with the final sale price, can be viewed publicly on the website.”

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