With online purchases spurred on by the lockdown regulations, more home buyers – who are already accustomed to starting their search for potential properties online – are finding that online property auctions are a safe and easy way to make a purchase.
“South Africans in general are increasingly tech-savvy and confident in regard to concluding purchases online, and that includes a big-ticket purchase of a home – or in the case of an entrepreneur or business owner, acquiring a commercial property,” says MC du Toit, CEO of BidX1 South Africa, who offers this guidance for potential buyers.
“Keep an eye on the auction catalogues as exceptional opportunities can and do arise, which may well suit your requirements and preferences.
“Once you’ve discovered a property which piques your interest and seems to fit the bill, download all the information on that property, which is available on the website, and ensure that you fully understand the conditions of sale.”
“The next step is to physically visit and inspect the property at one of the show days. Property brokers will assist with any queries and can also take you through a realistic bidding simulation so you know what to expect on the day. They are also available to provide advice and assistance during the auction itself.”
Du Toit says it’s also important to familiarise yourself with the registration process – such as the need to provide FICA documentation (ID and proof of residential address), as well as a deposit.
“There is no cost to taking part as registration deposits are fully refundable. If you are the successful bidder, your initial registration deposit goes towards the 10% deposit which is required at that point. For non-successful bidders, the deposit is immediately refunded.
“Registration for bidding usually opens a week before the auction and while it’s quick and easy, it’s best to register in good time rather than waiting until the last moment. All bidders go through the same registration process.
“The whole process is transparent and fair in that everyone taking part has completed the same registration process and bids under the same terms and conditions. On the day of the auction, bidders can view competing bids as they are made, although the bidders’ identity is not disclosed. This means that each bidder is able to assess the demand for the property as the bidding progresses.”
Du Toit adds that the entire process is online so you can register and bid from the comfort of your home or office – which is a huge shift from the more intimidating and competitive atmosphere of traditional auctions.
“As with any significant purchase, ensure you know what you can afford and what you are willing to pay for the property. One of the key benefits of online auctions is that you won’t feel pressured in the way you might if you were physically present in a room with other bidders. With online bidding, you have privacy to make clear decisions without distraction, so remain calm and stick to bids that you are comfortable at – know your limit and stick to it on the day.
“The sale is not subject to the buyer obtaining finance or bond approval,” adds du Toit. “However, as the guarantees are generally due around 30-45 days from the date of acceptance of your offer, you have reasonable time to arrange finance.
“If you’ve done your homework and decided you want to acquire the property, but don’t want to place your bids manually, you can specify the maximum bid price you are prepared to pay, which means that the system enters bids for you – only as necessary to retain your position as the winning bidder and only up to the maximum bid price you’ve specified. This is also a good option if you are concerned about your internet connection, experience load shedding, or do not have access to WiFi. Be assured that your maximum bid cannot be viewed publicly, so only you will know how high you’re willing to go.”
Writer : Gaye de Villiers