Anywhere Auctions: bidding website, app taking off in Melbourne

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8 Service St, Coburg, sold to a remote bidder via new platform Anywhere Auctions.

Physically being at an auction is no longer a crucial component of buying under the hammer.

Real estate agencies across Melbourne are adopting new online platform Anywhere Auctions, which allows buyers to watch and bid at auctions in real time via an app and website.

A first-home buyer who wasn’t able to get out of work to bid for a Coburg townhouse became the platform’s first virtual buyer earlier this month.

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The buyer of 8 Service St, Coburg won the keys and signed the contract of sale without having to leave her workplace.

Barry Plant Inner City Group director Rocco Siciliano said the medical professional outlasted three other bidders to win the three-bedroom pad at 8 Service St for $697,000, $37,000 above reserve — all from a Richmond hospital.

She also signed the contract of sale electronically to complete the deal without having to set foot outside work.

“Technology has been lacking around auctions — it’s still the old way it’s been done for years, where only buyers on the street can bid,” Mr Siciliano said.

“Now, we’re opening it up to the rest of the world.”

Online bidding has been dubbed the future of the real estate industry. Picture: Mike Dugdale

Another auction broadcast on Anywhere Auctions involved a “bidder in Dubai, a vendor in Perth and a property in Melbourne”, the agent said.

Mr Siciliano said his office had been using the platform for about four months and would be adopting it for “every auction” from now on, with Barry Plant Frankston and Northcote also on board.

Anywhere Auctions managing director Garry Giritharan said another leading residential agency, Woodards, and commercial big guns CBRE and Colliers had also embraced the platform.

He said the service ensured “no one ever has to miss out on the opportunity to participate in an auction”.

It was born out of frustration he commonly felt as a property investor, missing out on buying opportunities because he couldn’t attend every auction he wanted to.

This was a common experience in Melbourne’s typically jam-packed market, where hundreds of auctions took place every weekend.

An online bidder also participated in the auction of 39 Barry St, Brunswick via Anywhere Auctions.

Mr Giritharan said the platform also ensured sellers would “never again have to hear potential buyers … couldn’t make it to their auction”, eliminated the need for buyers to rely on stand-in bidders, and let buyers “jump on the opportunity of a passed-in property by making an offer instantly” online.

Woodards Blackburn director Cameron Way said he was keen to make Anywhere Auctions a feature of all his office’s future auctions, as the public bidding process was “all about creating competition” and the platform had “enhanced that competition”.

Specialist auctioneer Paul Tzamalis, of The Auction Company, said online bidding was “the next step in the evolution of the real estate industry”, tipping it would open up the market to more bidders and achieve better results for sellers.

“There’s a new generation of real estate buyers coming through who have grown up with mobile devices,” he said.

“They rely on being able to do literally anything on their phone, so why should buying real estate be any different?”

Another platform, Gavl, also states that is has “digitised every aspect of the auction process” so buyers can watch, bid and buy on its app.

An investor notably won a Malvern property from a boat racing off the coast of Sorrento using the app last year.

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