The debate about online auction charges levied on buyers continues this morning with the release of figures showing that one company alone generated over £10m in fees for agents in the 12 months to the end of October.
Some estate agents have been voicing concern for over the shift of these charges from sellers (who pay the fees at physical auctions) to buyers (who are typically the side paying fees at online auctions). The debate centres on where that leaves the responsibilities of estate agents who use the online ‘Modern Method of Auction’ to sell houses on behalf of clients.
The debate reached a new intensity recently with the HomeOwners Alliance consumer group calling the online auction sector ‘murky’ and suggested a possible lack of transparency over the fees, which are often £5,000 plus VAT. These fees - according to the HOA - “go straight to the auctioneers and estate agent.”
Now IAM Sold, the largest operator in the online auction field, has issued new figures claiming high customer satisfaction with the Modern Method of Auction, and also revealing how much income its own company’s activities generate for estate agents who partner with it.
It says that on a £19m turnover in the financial year to the end of last month, it generated £10.6m for agent partners based on 3,300 completed sales.
IAM Sold says it’s now the largest independent residential auctioneer in the UK, offering agents both old-school physical auctions and online versions.
Some 74 per cent of its lots this year were sold online, and IAM Sold says it has a 65 per cent share of the online auction market.
“Our annual customer survey sent to all buyers and sellers saw an 87 per cent recommend rating (450 responses), and an average of 9 out of 10 in our annual service review by our partner agents (2,744 responses)” according to Jamie Cooke, managing director of IAM Sold.
“We continue to evolve our service offering having introduced a number of key initiatives and technology advancements to support our partners this year which has helped them to grow their auction business” he continues.
“In a relatively tough sales environment, auction can be the best option for vendors, and it’s great for our partner agents to be able to give vendors the choice.”
The firm says that next year it will be “further developing and utilising technology to assist the client and customer journey” plus offering training through partner Agency All Stars.
Cooke concludes: “We pride ourselves on service delivery, and as we head into 2019, we will be concentrating on our strategy to help our agent partners further evolve their auction offering, and in turn, satisfaction for their clients.”