Pros and Cons of Online Auction Sites

If you’ve contemplated selling or buying real estate recently you’ve undoubtedly encountered an online auction of one sort or another. Like digitally generated characters, online auctions seem to be appearing everywhere.

At its most basic level, the concept of online auctions gives sellers access to unlimited buyers, and buyers access to unlimited properties — what could be better? A lot, frankly.

Sellers, buyers, and their Realtors can benefit tremendously from the unique advantages of online auctions, but only if they do their research and make sound decisions.

The auction method of selling real estate isn’t new. Companies like Cates Auction and Realty (celebrating 75 years next year!) have been managing successful real estate auctions for decades. The best of these companies began incorporating online bidding functionality years ago.

What To Look For In An Online Auction Company

Cates and other such companies will be the first to tell you that a successful auction is far more than a fast talker on a microphone. Bidding is a critical element but it is NOT the only element. In fact, a failed auction is more likely the result of actions (or inactions) taken and choices made long before auction day. More about that in a moment.

benefits of online auction and bidding technology

Professional auction companies have been using online technology for many years.

Technology, the great leveler, has given sellers (and their Realtors) access to plug-and-play bidding platforms. Fill in some blanks, pay a fee, click a big button and you have an auction! Up pops a Pikachu just waiting to be found. What has essentially been replicated, in an arguably diluted form, is the bidding component of an auction. That’s all. When the promise is “just add water,” the outcome is usually more about getting wet than getting results.

It’s not that online auctions are complicated. They’re not. It’s just that the auction is the culmination of a process — not the process itself. Anything worth six figures (your house, for example) deserves individualized attention, expert opinion, and a full-service approach. An online auction isn’t a shortcut; it’s a strategy.

Understanding Online Auction Bidding

Home sold in online auction

This home was professionally marketed and sold in an online auction by Cates Auction & Realty Co., Inc.

When a professional auction company like Cates Auction agrees to work with a seller and/or a Realtor on an auction marketing plan, part of the consultation will include an analysis of bidding methodology.

Online bidding should certainly be included. But is it timed online bidding? Live online bidding? Hybrid online bidding?

Far more important are these two questions:

  1. Is auction (regardless of bidding methodology) the right strategy in this circumstance?
  2. How will buyers be found and brought to the point of bidding?

A properly promoted and conducted auction brings many distinct advantages to sellers. In fact, enthusiastic accounts reported by these sellers generates much interest in the methodology.

Online bidding allows auction companies and partnering Realtors to extend their reach, and in turn, to improve the satisfaction of their sellers and buyers.

Find Out If Auction’s Right For You

Curious about selling or buying real estate via online auction? Don’t turn to technology. Turn to a professional who will use technology to your advantage.

To contact an auction specialist, click here, or complete a short form to request a free property analysis.

Greg Duncan, Vice President, Cates Auction & Realty Co., Inc.


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Copple Trust Auction I worked with Jeff Cates and Kim Mangum, and they were just great to work with. Very pleasant and accommodating. They work hard to get the most dollars for your property. The reason bidding wasn’t very competitive had more to do with the appeal (or lack thereof) of the …
Kevin Roberts - Commerce Trust Company
We are Kansas City's oldest and most experienced real estate auction company specializing in accelerated real estate sales in Missouri and Kansas, including Overland Park, Lenexa, Shawnee, Leawood, Kansas City, Lee's Summit, Olathe, Blue Springs, Independence, Liberty, Kearney, Parkville, Smithville, Gladstone, Clay County, Platte County, Jackson County, Johnson County, Wyandotte County, Leavenworth County, Cass County, Lake of the Ozarks, Lake Ozark, Sunrise Beach, Osage Beach, Four Seasons, Shawnee Bend, Miller County, Camden County, and around the Midwest. Kansas City auctioneers with regional expertise!