Williams & Williams Offers Online Real Estate Auctions

As a means of providing a new auctioning alternative for real estate investors looking at properties in the $30,000 to $50,000 price range, Williams & Williams here, a global real estate auctioning company, has unveiled an online auction service for investors and homebuyers. The new service, "Online Only Auctions," exposes sellers to potential investors worldwide and provides buyers with a larger pool of available investment properties.

Through Online Only Auctions, bidders can register, search and bid on properties for free with no upfront deposits, having 24-hour access to properties with auctions held each month and closing on the properties within 30 days of the sale.

According to Dean Williams, president and CEO of Williams & Williams, the company could previously accommodate some online bidding for singular exceptions.

"We had accommodated some online bidding but it was on a case-by-case basis, usually for special-needs purchasers who would be physically unable to attend, so this is a broader launch of that," he said.

After doing some testing, the company found that there was a larger buying pool that would be interested in bidding on properties online. "The buyer pool is largely made up of people less concerned with exact specifications of the properties and more concerned with the economic properties."

Online Only Auctions is ideally for investors looking to add properties to their portfolio, often for purposes of purchasing, renovating and reselling. One major advantage is that investors can bypass having to travel to the physical property location and can instead bid online via the company's website at www.williamsauction.com.

Mr. Williams added that the ideal properties to be auctioned on with Online Only Auctions are in the $30,000 to $50,000 price range, which makes REO properties ideal.

"So many REO properties that come out of subprime lending are lower-value properties, so by their very nature they're a fair amount of that product that will attract the ideal audience for this service.

"The local investor market has become saturated. Declining local markets are now 'buyer markets' and buyers are waiting for sellers to continue to drop their prices. A program like Online Only Auctions targets these markets and help bring the investors to the properties that much quicker."

Properties can be submitted for auction at any time and can be placed online for sale during the next available online auction cycle. Williams & Williams then markets the properties both nationwide and locally via a variety of channels, including property signs, direct mail, print advertising, e-mail auction alerts and the Williams & Williams site.

Buyers sign up at the site to bid on properties and are offered a reduced bidder's fee, further lowering the barriers to selling these properties. All bidders and buyers are bound by written terms and conditions disclosed to them during registration prior to the auction.

Through partnerships with RealtyTrac, Zillow and Mapquest, buyers can obtain detailed property information, get estimated property values and find the exact locations of the property.

Also, buyers can find information about the property listed on the site, including the opening bid, disclosures, terms of the sale and interior and exterior photographs.

"The issue is buyers and sellers are increasingly desperate for more efficient ways for getting property sold. We're trying to create more efficiency in the real estate marketplace," said Mr. Williams. "This could have resounding positive effects on the mortgage industry."

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