UK portal zoopla.co.uk has teamed up with Real Estate Disposition Corporation (REDC) to launch a live auctions section.
REDC is a fully licensed real estate auctioneer with a presence in the US as well as London. The company was established in 1990 and says it sold 32,800 homes in 2008.
"We currently successfully sell approximately 1,000 homes, worth over £50 million each month via our online auctions in the US and we are looking to create the largest online property marketplace in the UK for buyers and sellers to transact openly and transparently,” explains Greg Spiro, executive vice president of REDC’s international division.
Visitors to zoopla.co.uk's new auctions section are presented with a UK map showing where properties listed for auction are located. The website currently states that 76 properties are listed for the first auction, which is scheduled to begin on 11 February and run until 14 February.
zoopla.co.uk says that once this initial auction is over, auctions will run regularly from Thursday afternoons to Sunday evenings. A reserve price is set before a property is entered into these online auctions and successful bids are binding on the buyer.
While the new auctions section will initially focus on repossessed homes, zoopla.co.uk says the service will open to UK agents “shortly”, and emphasises that private sellers will not be able to participate. zoopla.co.uk member agents will not be charged to add their properties to the auctions section, and can choose to market properties in the normal way alongside their auction listing.
zoopla.co.uk says agents will receive a further 0.25 percent of the purchase price as a referral fee on top of their standard commission if their property is sold through the online auctions.
Property hunters can view the properties included in upcoming auctions and save those they like once they have registered. Properties can be listed up to 30 days before an auction begins, allowing prospective buyers to arrange viewings and research the property.
“We see live online bidding as the future of property auctions and our innovative offering as one of the most exciting developments for estate agents in the UK for years,” said Alex Chesterman, zoopla.co.uk CEO.
zoopla.co.uk integrated with propertyfinder.com, hotproperty.co.uk and thinkproperty.com in November 2009, and this year has claimed second place in the UK property portal market based on figures from Nielsen.