How BidX1 changed the way property is bought and sold
Company says transparency of online auction model helped sell €600m of property
The BidX1 team of director Jonathan Fenn, marketing manager Nicole Pomeroy and chief financial officer Mike Murphy, at The Irish Times Innovation Awards judging day. Photograph: Conor McCabe
The traditional auction room can be a very intimidating environment. The nods, winks and other subtle twitches and signals which indicate bids confer a more than slightly forbidding mystique. Add to that the suspicion that there are “plants” with fake bids and other nefarious operators inside and outside the room and you’ve got a recipe for mistrust – for both buyers and sellers.
Irish company BidX1 has cut through all of these misgivings with the creation of a fully transparent online auction platform that allows users to buy or sell property online from anywhere in the world using any device.
“Our focus is on using technology to enhance the experience of buying and selling property,” says marketing manager Nicole Pomeroy. “We have developed an innovative, transparent and trusted digital platform. In pioneering the use of online property auctions, we have transformed the property transaction process, completing sales across the full spectrum of asset types, from houses and apartments to offices, pubs and development sites, as well as large-scale investment portfolios.
More than 4,000 of these assets, totalling more than €600 million, have been sold using the online platform over the past three years.
The BidX1 online process is straightforward and user-friendly, according to Pomeroy. Properties are prepared for auction by specialist teams of commercial and residential surveyors who review the asset and set an optimum reserve price. Legal documents for each property are uploaded to an in-house portal by the vendor’s solicitors so potential buyers can perform the necessary due diligence prior to bidding.
Every bidder can see every other bidder who is identified by a unique number. They know who is in the virtual auction room and who is bidding and when. One attractive feature prevents “fastest finger” competitions developing. If a bid is placed within 60 seconds of the lot’s closing time, an additional 60 seconds will be added. During this extension period, any further bid that is placed will result in the clock re-setting again for a further 60 seconds, giving all registered bidders a fair and equal opportunity to place another bid.
“Our founder Stephen McCarthy was the first to run large property auctions in the RDS back in 2011,” says Pomeroy. “We already had property expertise and we combined that with software expertise to create this digital platform. We are not a technology company, we are a commercial and residential property company.”
According to Pomeroy the key advantages of the platform are efficiency, accountability and accessibility. “The typical residential sales process takes around 200 days. With us it takes an average of 9.5 weeks. It is fully transparent, and everyone knows what everyone else is doing. And it is accessible on any device regardless of location anywhere in the world.”
The future looks very bright for the firm which is now the second largest auction house in Britain and Ireland. “The UK business is going really well, and we have just entered into a joint venture with Pam Golding in South Africa”, Pomeroy adds. “We are now targeting central and southern Europe as well.”