p24Asian Property Review examines whether going hi-tech for property auctions is advantageous and discovers there are more pros than cons in doing so.

Text by Mira Soyza

“Going once, going twice, sold to the highest bidder!”

The topic of auction is a territory many still find quite baffling. Since each country has its own sets of rules in regards to property auction—in some countries, each state forms its own legislation—the auction scene can be a little tricky to the average Joe.

Buying at an auction is often perceived as the most common way of acquiring an asset at below market value. However, over the years, the business of property auction has become a playground for syndicates—these cartels manipulate the prices by paying off genuine bidders, extorting compensation out of an interested bidder, harassing bidders to withdraw from an auction and many more unethical practices. Even more shocking, ofttimes, lawyers, auctioneers, bank staff as well as court staff work hand-in-glove with these syndicates to manipulate the auction process.

In a bid to crackdown on these syndicates and ensure a fair and transparent auction process, Malaysia decided to leverage technology to the full – by conducting online all public auctions held at the High Court. From July onwards (barring any unforeseen glitches), anyone can log in, register and bid online. This, according to the authorities, is partly to stop the unsavoury activities of the syndicates as well as move towards a paperless system (wherever possible).

Few countries have adopted e-auctions and those which have, have not implemented it fully, says Alan Poon, Principal Strategist of Superior Wealth Mastery. Poon asserts that despite the advancement of technology, the fact remains that conventional live auctions and live biddings are “still very much favoured and practised effectively.” Poon is known to have made a pile from buying auction properties and occasionally shares tips on how to successfully bid for the right properties.

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