Transparent Real Estate Auctions Are Catching On

Canadian housing sales have recovered. Image DepositPhoto.com
Image DepositPhoto.com

TORONTO – BUSINESS – Offer dates and bidding wars continue to be one of the common ways many GTA buyers purchase a home or condo in this competitive real estate market.  The movement to provide a more transparent, fair and certain process to consumers continues with the introduction of two new homes set to be sold by online auction.

After listing 10 properties through their online auction platform over the past year, On The Block Realty is bringing two new exciting properties to the market set to be sold by auction.

The first property is a stunning two-bedroom condo situated between the sought-after Riverdale and Corktown areas of East Toronto. Also up for auction later in August will be a three-bedroom Brampton townhome – just a stone’s throw from the Mt. Pleasant GO Station.

Both properties will be the latest to use On The Block Auctions, a cutting edge auction platform that allows interested buyers to bid on a home and actually see the highest competing bid in order to make a more informed decision.

“Transparency is pivotal to ensuring buyers are confident with the real estate process,” says Daniel Steinfeld, co-owner of On The Block with his partner Katie. “When people can see the price they need to pay, they are more likely to participate, and they won’t miss out on a property for which they may have otherwise under-offered.” The process has proven to work in the GTA, with the last auction generating 45 bids along with live-action ‘entertainment’ for over 500 people watching online.

Even Realtors representing buyers who have ‘lost’ at auction have noted that the process is considerably more comfortable versus blind bidding wars. “It was actually fun,” said one participating Realtor out of Brampton. “We didn’t win, but we knew we went to our best price and could walk away once it got too high. So much better than waiting all night with no information.”

The auctions take place online at www.otbauctions.com, where users can view extensive details about properties, book showings, explore the homes with multimedia, and even preview the purchase agreement itself.

Perhaps the best new addition to the website is a demo that runs 24/7, allowing users to participate in auctions of fictitious properties at any time. “Now people have the opportunity to understand how the auction works by actually doing one,” Katie Steinfeld explained. “Potential bidders, sellers, and those who are just curious can log on anytime to try out the platform.”

Both upcoming auction properties will be listed on the MLS with auction dates set for the second and third weeks of August.

There are several unique features in addition to the transparency of the auction. Properties that are sold by auction have a reserve price, which represents the lowest price the seller is obligated to accept – a measure of protection for sellers. When the reserve price is reached, all participants are made aware in real-time and the highest bidder will purchase the home.

Another key feature of the auction is that it does not end with a last-second bidder, like other popular online auctions. Any bid which is placed in the final 5 minutes of the auction will extend the clock to allow other interested parties to improve their bid. This ensures the best price for the seller but also ensures no buyer is disallowed from improving their offer until they are truly finished.

On The Block is growing with these auctions along with other traditional listings scheduled for the coming weeks. With the momentum picking up, the company has a new Vaughan office set to open in August, as well as new agents joining the brokerage. “Offering choice to consumers was our differentiator,” Mr. Steinfeld said. “We provide the premium service of any top tier brokerage in the city, but with a little bit extra.”

That ‘extra’ will be on full display throughout the month.