How-To Choose The Right Online CRE Auction Platform For Your Asset: An Interview With CBRE's Adam Sklaver and Phil Kates

  • Jun 24, 2020
  • Research

As online auction platforms become more popular, it is critical that sellers evaluate which platform is the best fit to assist them in the sale of their assets.

That means as the investment sale broker you must be knowledgeable and ready to help your client make this important decision. If your client has expressed an interest in selling an asset via auction, how do you help them select the right platform that will work with you to provide the highest likelihood of transacting?

We asked Phil Kates and Adam Sklaver who specialize in dispositions through an auction format at CBRE, for their recommendations on the top questions, as a broker, you should ask when selecting an online auction platform.

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you provide clarity on the potential benefits and pitfalls when representing a seller during an online auction while highlighting key differentiators that will lead to the highest chance of a successful and profitable closing.

1. What is the trade rate for similar properties on the platform?

ADAM: Understanding how many assets the platform has sold by property type, location, and price is important information when deciding which platform to choose. If the platform has been successful selling similar assets then it is more likely that they will be able to attract more eyes on the deal, and therefore achieve higher pricing and a greater likelihood of successfully trading. 

PHIL: At the end of the day the asset needs to trade and, as Adam said, certain platforms excel with different asset types and locations. We have seen a large number of assets that failed to sell on one platform, being very successful on other platforms with three-four times the bidders than the previous auction. 

2. What will marketing encompass?

PHIL: Understanding who is responsible for the marketing, the reach, and targeting of the marketing efforts and the costs, are essential to the success of an online auction. Ensuring that marketing from the platform, and broker-based marketing, are complementary, and will attract more potential buyers. 

ADAM: It is also important to take time to understand the platform’s budget and ensuring that they are focused on the most likely buyers. As every asset is unique, having a flexible and custom marketing plan that can change based on data is essential to ensure a successful auction.

3. Is the platform easy to use from a technology standpoint?

PHIL: One of the major benefits of an online auction is that it can help to make the broker’s job easier. But without the right technology, some platforms can actually make our jobs more challenging. Does the platform allow me to easily upload a deal? And how much of my time is spent to get a deal live and out in the market? Uploading asset information and making changes should be quick and easy. The ability to make changes myself allows for the information to get out and into the market quickly. 

ADAM: Another important factor is the ease at which bidders can register to bid on an asset. An auction works best when bidders compete to drive pricing above a set reserve price. Understanding how easy it is for a potential buyer to get registered could mean the difference between the asset trading or not trading on auction day. This process should be as painless and as easy as possible.

4. How many other properties will my asset be competing with?

PHIL: A large auction can bring many potential buyers on auction day, but it is important to look at the auction event as a whole. Is my office building competing with 10 other office buildings on auction day? This may bring more buyers to the table, but it can also create stiff competition if they are in the same location. 

ADAM: If you have an asset that is fairly priced, and another similar property is heavily discounted and in the same location, your asset could suffer. Being strategic about when and where you auction your assets has served us well and allowed us to surpass client expectations with prices exceeding their set reserves on a regular basis. 

We hope these questions help you find the right online CRE auction platform for your clients.  If you are interested in learning more, please visit our Brokers Page and register for a free property valuation, or send us an email at info@rimarketplace.com.