Years ago, when my kids were passing around the dark side of the planet (junior high), they lived in constant fear of being embarrassed by their parents. Concern about what their friends would think weighed more heavily than just about any other criteria when deciding what was acceptable. Turns out, most of their fears were unfounded and we succeeded in not ruining their lives.
In virtually every conversation with prospective auction sellers, this same fear surfaces in one way or another. After all, if an “Auction” sign were to go up in your yard, what would people think?! Those sellers who don’t voice the question are usually thinking it but just afraid of offending us.
Sellers are often surprised at our response: “That’s a totally valid concern.” There are some real estate auctions that result from bad behavior or poor choices and there can be a stigma to the auction concept. To pretend otherwise is folly. But the reality is that high quality real estate sells through auction all over the world… for market value to mainstream sellers. Week after week, Cates Auction is doing successful real estate sales in Kansas City, the metro area, and beyond. The key is in the marketing. (Incidentally, the same is true for personal property auctions.)
Our marketing department focuses on three key aspects:
- The message. If it’s not a “fire sale,” it shouldn’t be promoted as one.
- The promotion. If it’s a high quality home or building, the entire look and feel of the campaign should reflect that.
- The audience. Get in front of the buyers you want, not just the bidders who will show up anyway. Chances are, the best buyer is someone looking for a property of that quality or in that location or price point; not necessarily someone looking to buy at auction. Therefore, your carefully crafted message and your well-designed campaign should target real estate buyers more so than relying on “auction” buyers.
And here’s a twist. No matter what someone may think when they see the word “auction,” the fact remains that the curiosity is a positive. Who cares what they think if you got their attention and they are willing to pay more for your property than anyone else?
While worrying about what people will think may be understandable, allowing that fear to influence an otherwise rational decision is, well, dumb. If all the benefits of selling at auction are attractive to you, trust your property to a professional auction marketing firm with a strong track record in selling similar (and preferably better) properties. You’ll discover that auction can be a highly effective way to sell quality real estate… and parents can be pretty cool humans.