Online Auction Platform Aims to Improve Bidding

By Tonie Auer, Contributing CorrespondentTaking advantage of a new platform to create more interest from buyers in auction-sold properties, Sperry Van Ness/Guardian launched the MarketMaker auction platform to sell REO, bank ordered and developer close-out properties.The firm will test the platform for the first time in a July 30 auction as a way to accelerate…

By Tonie Auer, Contributing CorrespondentTaking advantage of a new platform to create more interest from buyers in auction-sold properties, Sperry Van Ness/Guardian launched the MarketMaker auction platform to sell REO, bank ordered and developer close-out properties.The firm will test the platform for the first time in a July 30 auction as a way to accelerate sales for the region’s most motivated sellers of commercial properties. MarketMaker is designed to be a new distressed real estate liquidation platform.“The last market run-up for commercial real estate was between 2005 and 2007 and a lot of what drove pricing was the abundance of buyers in the market,” said Karlin Conklin, COO of Sperry Van Ness/Guardian. “We could get buyers bidding each other up even when it wasn’t an auction. That created urgency and excitement in properties and was one of the things that was driving pricing.”Today, she said, there are not enough buyers in the market.“What few buyers there are are going for blood or just distress. In a climate like that, it is hard to sell anything when there aren’t enough buyers. People are waiting on the sidelines,” she said. “With an auction platform, our goal is to broadly reach buyers and to get buyers creating some urgency and bidding. We can move transactions and help clients by driving bids.”To achieve market pricing, Sperry Van Ness/Guardian launched a web portal (www.svnmarketmaker.com) to provide a one-stop location for the July 30 multi-property auction. The site includes general information on the auction process, detailed information on all listings, a secure hub for confidential due diligence and specific information for co-broker participation.Partnering with Real Capital Markets on the creation of the site, MarketMaker uses RCM databases of more than 40,000 qualified principals to market the properties on a national level.“This is relatively new for us,” Conklin said. “Auctions have been around forever, but we’ve taken the tools we use with Sperry Van Ness and accelerated the marketing platform with the auction by applying this technology to it.”“We are using the technology to enhance the tools we have in selling commercial real estate. There are lots of auctions where you have the auctioneer, and buyers are on their own. We are not doing that. In this situation, we have listing agents, buying agents and we help the buyer do better due diligence. This site lets both agents help the buyer to make an informed bid on the listings themselves,” Conklin said.Additionally, she said, the portal speeds up the process. “It is all about information. When a buyer–particularly in this market–doesn’t have enough information, they bid as low as possible. With the document hub within our Web site, the buyer has as much due diligence as we can assemble. They have all that information to help them be an informed buyer when they go to make an offer,” Conklin added.The brokerage community is encouraged to participate in the auction, as the site provides SHARElink, a proprietary Web site tool that allows agents to securely register clients and collect a cooperative fee. This online protection feature is unique to MarketMaker and is a first in the auction industry, Conklin said.Los Angeles-based Sperry Van Ness/Guardian’s MarketMaker Western Regional Commercial Property Auction to will be held at 2 p.m. on July 30 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles. Participating property listings include dozens of individual commercial properties located in six western states and with more than $100 million in assets aggregated. REO, bank ordered sale or developer closeouts, the properties will likely be sold at up to 90 percent off the original loan balance.–Nielsen Business Media

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