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Online Auctions: Legit Sale Tool for Luxury Properties?

Online auction tools to sell luxury properties are beginning to gain credibility. But is an auction really a new must-have tool? Or just another gimmicky fad?

You could have easily missed it here on The Main Line -- an attention-grabbing event that happened just before New Year’s Day. One of those San Francisco Bay Area luxury properties (priced at $25 million) made headlines when it was reported to have successfully gone under contract through a little-known process…an online auction.

Come again?

In an increasingly digital age that instantaneously reaches buyers and sellers across the globe, online auction tools to sell luxury properties are beginning to gain credibility.

But is an auction really a new must-have tool?  Or just another gimmicky fad?

The attraction of using an online auction to sell luxury properties is the shortcut the auction companies (they usually work in tandem with a listing agent) claim to provide. It’s promoted as an alternative to what they characterize as the ponderously slow traditional channel with its hallmark of heavy negotiations.  Also claimed is how the ‘glitz and glam’ surrounding a major auction is said to create marketing buzz around luxury properties.

The concept hasn’t yet taken off in a major way -- probably because just about everyone has the same thought: what if a low bidder wins and my home sells for less than it would have fetched on the traditional market? There is also the possibility that a home may not sell at all. One online auction agency reports that only 55% of auctioned properties are ever ultimately sold. That means three months wasted while marketing an auction. Then, there’s this: the Belvedere-area home referenced above allegedly actually cost some $35 million to build, and was originally listed in the $45 million neighborhood. So you have to ask: was that auction truly a success? 

It is our business is to know the Philadelphia Main Line real estate market inside and out. Selling luxury properties on The Main Line presents a unique set of challenges. Each property is unique; each requires a different marketing plan for top success.  If you are considering selling a luxury property this year, contact the John Badalamenti and Lone Spillard Group, Prudential Fox & Roach to build out a unique marketing plan for your property in 2013.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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