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New online property auction service launched in Ireland but what are the advantages for buyers and sellers?

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The Town and Country Property Auctions management team, from left: office manager Brian Osborne, head of auction sales Eva Harrington, principal William Brennan, head of business development Colm Devoy, and head of professional partnership scheme Michelle Farrelly

The Town and Country Property Auctions management team, from left: office manager Brian Osborne, head of auction sales Eva Harrington, principal William Brennan, head of business development Colm Devoy, and head of professional partnership scheme Michelle Farrelly

The Town and Country Property Auctions management team, from left: office manager Brian Osborne, head of auction sales Eva Harrington, principal William Brennan, head of business development Colm Devoy, and head of professional partnership scheme Michelle Farrelly

House auctions can provide an opportunity for buyers to get a bargain and sellers to get a good price on their property but there are also other benefits compared to a standard private treaty.

The Brennan Group, which includes Brennan Property Consultants and McGroddy Brennan Solicitors, has an extensive history of buying, selling and managing properties in Ireland. Now, it has joined the online auction space under the umbrella of Town and Country Property Auctions and the first homes are set to go under the hammer on April 17.

Ahead of the auctions, we spoke to William Brennan to discuss how auctions can provide a Covid-friendly approach to property sales and to look at their potential benefits over a private treaty sale.

An alternative way to buy and sell property

It can be difficult to sell a property during the current lockdown, with social distancing restrictions making it difficult for viewings or surveys to be conducted on certain properties. Online auctions can provide a safe, convenient and swift way to buy or sell a property despite the pandemic.

“We were keen to be in this space and keen to look at the online element, particularly in light of Covid-19 where you can’t really bring together groups in a public auction,” explains William.

“People can go into the website, look at the property, see the pictures, and see a walk-through video showing the interior and the exterior. We’ve also encouraged clients to put up their own survey which makes it a little bit easier for purchasers as they can see an independent survey of the property. So they can have confidence that the structure is OK and there are no major defects.”

Conducting their own survey also allows a seller to identify any issues that could affect a sale or the property price ahead of time.

With its property and legal background, the Brennan Group is perfectly placed to provide a streamlined property service for both buyers and sellers regardless of the impact of lockdown restrictions.

Advantages for buyers

“The advantage for the buyer is that they’re getting access to a very straightforward and easy means to purchase property,” says William.

All the relevant documentation is available for review online along with high definition photos and walk-through videos. William advises any interested buyers to make sure they review the legal documentation before submitting any bids as buyers will be legally obliged to complete a purchase once they submit the winning bid.

With sellers providing independent property surveys, it reduces the need for buyers to complete their own survey. However, there is obviously the option to do so, current restrictions permitting.

“This mechanism does allow for a situation where people can buy a property without actually attending, where the information and everything that they need is available to them. From that point of view, it’s a very useful service for a buyer.

“Literally, it’s the click of a button in order to make an investment so it can make the process much quicker and much easier. We have set timelines in our contracts which mean that from the time you click the button, you’ll have secured your property within four weeks in most circumstances.”

The speed and transparency of this process can be a major advantage for buyers but it can also help them to get a good price on their dream home where a property is in dispute or owned by multiple parties.

“The purchaser can sometimes end up getting a bargain because a group wants to sell a property quickly and they’re not concerned with the price once they get it sold and everybody is happy with the process.”

Advantages for sellers

Vendors are not charged to list a property on Town and Country Property Auctions and they will only be charged 1pc of the price plus VAT once the property is sold (subject to a minimum fee of €1500 plus VAT). They can also enjoy savings on legal services if they use McGroddy Brennan Solicitors, which can further reduce costs.

The eventual buyer will be charged a fee for marketing and administration services, ensuring that Town and Country Auctions can widely promote the auction and generate significant interest among potential buyers.

“Sometimes the auction method is useful to a vendor who, let’s say, has a legal difficulty,” adds William.

The group’s legal expertise can help it to expediate sales where there may be issues with a title or other potential impediments to a sale.

“Obviously with auctions, there are a couple of other advantages in that you can potentially get a better price with an auction if you have people bidding against one another who really want a certain property.”

Being able to sell a property quickly for its market value can be an attractive option if there is a probate sale of a property, a family dispute requiring a sale, a dispute between joint owners or a disagreement over a property’s value.

“When things are restricted as they are under Covid-19, online provides an option for selling whereas some of the more traditional options like private treaty are more difficult. It’s another option.”

Sellers can set a reserve price on the property and only properties that achieve their reserve will be sold. Sellers are also protected against sales falling through. The verified bidders will be registered so in the unlikely event that they don’t proceed with the purchase, they will lose their deposit and the property will go back up for auction or be sold later by private treaty.

Upcoming Auction

The first auction is due to take place on April 17 and the available properties can be reviewed on the Town and Country Property Auctions website. A further auction is due to take place in June and potential sellers are being encouraged to contact Town and Country Property Auctions if they’re interested in selling their property.

Town and Country Property Auctions also have a reward and partnership scheme in place for auctioneers, solicitors and accountants who recommend properties that are sold in an auction.

An online auction can be a very effective means by which to sell your property particularly when there are certain restrictions in place as there are now. You might consider doing a vendor survey to aid the process. Town and Country Property Auctions would be delighted to discuss some options with you.

For more information, check out the Town and Country Property Auctions website or email info@townandcountrypropertyauctions.ie


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