Auction bidding made easier – Simon Cohen

There is a new App you can download that has been designed to give auctions a tech makeover and streamline the bidding process for buyers.  We talk to the inventor and tell you how to get this great buying tool.
Kevin:  I mentioned at the start of the show that there’s a brand new platform called AuctionWiz streamlining the bidding process for buyers. Joining us now from the company who’s behind this one – Cohen Handler – Simon Cohen, who is one of the directors of that company.
Good morning, Simon. Thanks for your time.
Simon:  Good morning, Kevin.
Kevin:  Tell me about AuctionWiz.
Simon:  For about the past five years, we’ve seen a lot of buyers bidding at auction. We sponsor the major auction centers in Australia, and we’ve seen bidders who go up and specifically bid on the biggest asset they’re ever going to buy without much experience. Mainly over the past 12 months, Ben and I have built this platform where someone who wants to bid hops on, they fill out the criteria of the property they are looking to buy, they get matched with three of the buyer’s agents from Cohen Handler. All these buyer’s agents have independent reviews – and they get to choose who they want to bid and represent them at the auction.
Kevin:  How much work investigation will you do, and will you help me set some limits and values on it?
Simon:  Yes, absolutely. There will be different options. What you will do is you’ll hop on the platform, you fill out all the details of the area you’re looking in, etc., and you’ll get matched with three different buyer’s agents in that area, so you have your choice.
You’ll be able to pick which one you like the sound of. You can then connect with them and they can go into as much due diligence on the property for you if you wish, or they’ll simply just discuss price limits and they’ll bid at auction for you. That’ll be up to you as far as how much due diligence you want.
Kevin:  I imagine this would be fantastic, too, for someone who wants to buy a property in Brisbane, say, and may be living in Melbourne. They can engage a buyer’s agent in the Brisbane market to buy it for them. Is that the idea?
Simon:  It’s definitely one of the ideas. A lot of Sydney-based investors, for example, use us to buy in Brisbane, and as you rightly say, it’s a huge benefit for people like that. But also buying at auction is highly emotional. It’s very stressful.
Even if you’re buying your own home and you’re a first-home buyer, you want someone to take control for you. Otherwise you really get pushed up in price, you go beyond your limit, and you don’t really know what’s going on.
Kevin:  Who is going to use this, do you think? Who will be the major users? Will it be investors or will it be home buyers – maybe people too busy to go or even don’t have the skill to do this?
Simon:  I think it’s going to be a bit of a mixture of first-home buyers and investors. It might take a bit of time for the more seasoned buyer to catch on. But definitely investors, as you say, and first-home buyers. For them, it’s a no-brainer.
Kevin:  What’s the cost of doing this, Simon?
Simon:  It’s around $699, which is just a one-off flat fee.
Kevin:  That is only if I get you to buy. So getting the app is free?
Simon:  Yes, absolutely. And if you engage with us.
Kevin:  How much notice would you need to gear up for this?
Simon:  It really depends how much choice you want. You’ll get matched to the three. If the one out of the three is already busy at that auction time, you’ll go to the next person or the next person. It really depends how much choice in the person you want bidding for you.
Kevin:  I’m just curious to know why someone would use this. Most people generally do actually bid on their own behalf but given the fact that some people only ever buy one or two properties in their entire lives, what do you see as some of the tragic mistakes they make, and how can spending this $700 actually save them some money?
Simon:  I’ve seen people bid against themselves at auction. They were the last bid at $690,000. The agent or the auctioneer gets them to bid against themselves to $700,000 or $710,000, which is highly unnecessary. I see them bid because they think someone else has made a bid but they haven’t. I see them go above their limit.
Typically increments at auctions go in $10,000, $15,000, $20,000, increments. So, if you’re spending $695, to save $10,000 or $15,000, it certainly makes sense.
Kevin:  They’re pretty basic mistakes, aren’t they? Does that happen because of the emotion of the auction or the fact that they don’t really know or understand what’s happening?
Simon:  There are some incredibly seasoned people who go to auction – people who have done it before – but emotion takes over. Whenever you’re buying something for yourself, emotion always takes over.
Kevin:  Good talking to you. Simon Cohen, director of Cohen Handler. Tell us how we can get that app.
Simon:  Just go into the browser and type in and it should come up. It’s in beta stage right now. We’re just making a few touches, but you can enter all your details and you’ll still be in touch with a buyer’s agent.
Kevin:  Sounds fantastic. AuctionWiz. Good on you, mate. Thanks, Simon.
Simon:  Thank you. Have a great weekend.

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