It’s been a trend developing in the past few months - estate agents increasingly flirting with the idea of selling homes via auctions, especially in a sticky market.
Now a new service called LetsBid Property is being launched today with the aim of enabling estate agents to upload listings to a website where registered buyers and renters can bid for property they’re interested in.
“The whole idea of LetsBid is that estate agents can offer online auction services as an extension to their business whilst remaining in complete control of the process, particularly in regards to whom they accept bids from and at what price,” says the service founder, Milton Rodosthenous.
“In effect, we act like an estate agent’s virtual or remote auction department, enabling them to become an auctioneer overnight” he claims.
The process works like this.
Agents can set a guide and reserve price as well as the duration of the bidding process. They can also access details of anyone making bids or downloading relevant documentation about the property.
A credit referencing service has linked with Lets Bid to allow potential bidders to be pre-referenced before making bids.
The service says it’s not seeking to remove traditional agents from the process.
“Lots of PropTech seems intent on taking business away from agents but we believe they still have the biggest part to play in property so we’re backing them, which is why vetted agents are the only ones who can upload property to LetsBid,” says Rodosthenous, who has previously worked at Barclays and other finance companies and in property development as well as at an auction house.
The service is free for bidders but agents pay a fee; a spokesman for LetsBid told Estate Agent Today “we haven't decided exactly what the amount will be but it’s unlikely to be more than £100 a month."
LetsBid says there is a free 12-month subscription for the first 1,000 agents signing up.
“Ultimately, we hope to create a platform for property auctions that is as useful and successful for sellers and buyers as eBay is for everything else,” says Rodosthenous.
Last month Fine & Country announced it was to offer an auction option to vendors while Surrey agency Christies became the latest to offer the ‘Network E’ service that allows sellers to set up customised auctions for individual properties via the Network Auctions operation.