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Why phone bidding at property auctions can be a tough call

Symonds & Sampson’s gavel basher Mark Lewis reports on one recent gathering

The Negotiator

West Country property auctionsThe mobile phone has had one unintended consequence for property auctions – clients calling in to make bids while on the go who then disappear when their signal drops. But what do you do? Suspend the auction?

Symonds & Sampson’s faced this problem at their September property auction, which at the start was packed with bidders for 23 lots in Dorset and Somerset.

Auctioneer Mark Lewis was expecting a big crowd, “We had a record number of legal packs downloaded, always a sign that the people who view the lots are serious about bidding and we had so many telephone bids that we had three people manning the phones. It was very exciting with 444 bids recorded which is the highest number for two years and the most popular lot in Weymouth attracted 78 bids in total.”

However, a London buyer, who was on a train bidding strongly for a house in Weymouth, kept losing the signal as the train went through tunnels. After many recalls the team eventually lost him for good and he missed out on buying the three flats – which still made 66 per cent above guide with 78 bids recorded the hammer falling at £250,000.

Top price of the day was Weston Manor Farm, Corscombe an attractive farm set in 92 acres of farmland. The position was outstanding and attracted great interest; the guide of £925,000 was quickly exceeded with the hammer dropping at £1 million to a couple from Cheltenham.

The most excitement, however, was for property in Weymouth and Blandford. In Blandford we were acting for the Dorset County Council and offered a small car park for sale and guided the lot at £50,000 but after frantic bidding including a telephone bidder from Portugal the hammer fell at £140,000 with 70 bids recorded.

December 8, 2016

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