The New Zealand property market has adopted the use of technology successfully to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic and Level 4 lockdown conditions. From virtual property inspections to online auctions, buyers and sellers have been able to continue transacting virtually. In particular, New Zealanders are embracing online auctions, helping to keep the property market ticking over. 

Who conducts the online auction?

The real estate agent will use an online auction platform, such as Gavl, and an auctioneer. These platforms can be accessed on a computer, tablet or smartphone. On each auction platform, an auctioneer will attend via video, conducting the sale of property in the traditional way. However, bidding works a little differently. 

Prospective buyers are invited to sign up to the online auction platform by the agent. Buyers who wish to bid will need to sign up with their credit card details and give the platform permission to put a hold on an amount of money, up to $2,500. This is to ensure the bidders are genuine. Those wishing to simply view the auction can sign up without providing their financial details. 

How does the online auction actually work?

At the time designated for the auction, it will begin and take place much like an onsite auction. However, instead of waving a hand or nodding a bid, online bidders have a series of buttons to click to bid a certain amount of money. The auction is conducted in real time and all the legal obligations of the seller and successful bidder hold for an online auction as they do in the real world. 

What happens once the property is sold?

What happens following a successful bid will depend on the capabilities of the platform being used. Some platforms offer an end-to-end transaction process. That means any subsequent negotiation and contract exchange can take place through the platform and both parties will have full transparency of those activities. Some platforms also give the buyer and seller the ability to sign contracts, live-stream an open home and hold video inspections. 

If the platform does not have those capabilities, your agent may ask that you open an account with DocuSign so you can digitally sign legally-binding documents and avoid leaving lockdown to visit an office to do it in person. 

The feedback for online auctions has been overwhelmingly positive proving New Zealanders are embracing online auctions, which means that they become part of the standard auction practice following the end of the pandemic.