Concierge Auctions, a luxury property auction company where the bidding takes place mostly online, finished up 2019, a year in which the decade-old company facilitated more sales than ever before, with a live auction high atop New York City’s The Dominick Hotel on Thursday.
“It’s been our best year ever,” Concierge Auctions Chairman Chad Roffers told Inman, against a background of sweeping skyline views. “We took about 200 properties to auction this year and had some really impressive and precedent-setting sales.”
The vast majority of properties are sold through the online platform, but on a quarterly basis the company will host a “portfolio sale,” where it aggregates a subset of properties from different geographies and brings them to a venue where there’s a large pool of buyers that fit the properties.
The company viewed New York as a fantastic place to showcase properties in Florida and the Caribbean, for example. Earlier in the year, the company held an event in Hong Kong, where it highlighted properties in Canada and California. In February, it will hold its next event in Dubai, where it will highlight European properties.
The event doesn’t exclude people who want to participate electronically or over the phone – there’s a phone bank of Concierge Auctions employees talking to buyers at the event.
“It allows people who want to actually come and do it live and at the same time they can participate electronically as well,” Roffers said.
At the New York event, Concierge Auctions was offering up seven properties live in five countries.
With so much of the business taking place digitally, it also gives Concierge an opportunity to meet with potential clients and real estate agents in person and form connections. Roffers compared it to Warby Parker, an e-commerce company that opened a few brick-and-mortar locations.
“Today, we have bidders here, we have potential sellers here for properties that are coming up, agents who oftentimes will bring a buyer. A lot of times at these sales, an agent will bring a buyer who may or may not win a property today, but we’ll see them a few months down the line.”
“It allows us to give life to the brand and humanize it,” Roffers said.
Roffers told Inman that the market for the kind of luxury properties that Concierge Auctions sells is solid, with the economy strong. But he doesn’t exactly fear an economic downturn hurting his business.
“Luxury is hard to sell in any market,” Roffers said. “There’s finding a pool of buyers, they’re discretionary purchases, and I think the biggest thing is the Zillow world that we’re in, the history of a property and how long its been for sale is public information.
“So if you don’t get a luxury property sold quickly you have a real problem on your hands, whether you’re an agent or a seller,” Roffers added. “Our message is, don’t delay, if for whatever reason it doesn’t happen quickly, start talking to us.”
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