Real estate agent stoked with $700k online auction

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Rodney Fong, the real estate agent involved with the first house in New Zealand to be auctioned online. Photo/file
Rodney Fong, the real estate agent involved with the first house in New Zealand to be auctioned online. Photo/file

A Bethlehem home with a $1 reserve fetched $700,000 in the country's first online auction.

Yesterday evening was "groundbreaking" for the real estate industry when the four-bedroom home on Orchard Way went under the virtual hammer on website PropFi.auction.

Ray White real estate agent Rodney Fong said 50 people registered in the auction, undergoing a strict identity verification process with RealMe.

"There would've been some people in the industry who wanted to follow the auction and some people who registered out of interest."

The house sold for $700,000 after about 70 bids from 10 different bidders.

Though the house was estimated by Homes.co.nz to sell for between $690,000 and $790,000 Mr Fong said the vendors were happy with the result.

"The vendors went into this realising that it could go exceedingly well or wherever it ended up was going to be the sale price. It ended up landing within a range she was happy with."

The auction was initially scheduled for October 24 but was pushed out to 6pm last night.

"Since it's such a new concept we wanted to give people more of a chance to register and verify their identity," Mr Fong said.

"Buyers were very positive but it is going to take time for the new idea to sink in, people have to get used to it."
Rodney Fong

As a seasoned auctioneer he thought holding a traditional auction would not have changed the outcome.

"The crux is it was a really robust, compliant way to sell property and ground-breaking for New Zealand," Mr Fong said.

He would let the dust settle around the first online auction but he said the intention was to offer the option of online auctions to vendors.

"Buyers were very positive but it is going to take time for the new idea to sink in, people have to get used to it."

Logistically online auctions were easier for buyers - there was no need to take time off work for auctions, Mr Fong said.

"But it won't replace in-person auctions, it just gives another option."

The owner of the home, who wished to remain unnamed, said things went smoothly and she was pleased with the result.

She watched the bidding "ping in" on a computer screen in Mr Fong's Ray White office.

"The PropFi team put a lot of thought and energy into it and they have a good team working behind them. I had confidence in the online auction process," she said.

PropFi founder Angie Zingel, from Tauranga, said in a press statement she and her husband Paul had spent several years setting up the platform after seeing its success overseas.

PropFi partnered with RealMe so buyers could prove their identity and bid in the auction.

Mrs Zingel predicted PropFi would transport the property industry.

"This is the future of real estate. It's a huge paradigm shift. It's a bit like self-service really."

ONLINE AUCTIONS
- PropFi.auction founded by Tauranga couple Angie and Paul Zingel
- Online bidders must prove identity at least 24 hours before auction through Government-backed RealMe
- RealMe was created by the Department of Internal Affairs and New Zealand Post
- Allows people to prove who they are online
- From October 31 real estate agencies can run property auctions on PropFi for a monthly subscription fee

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