Grays offices sell for £1.225m in online auction

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A large office building in the Essex town of Grays has been sold for £1.225m in an online bidding battle.

The freehold property at Five Wells is one of the latest to be sold through a recently launched web-based sales service by Clive Emson, the largest independent land and property auctioneers in southern England.

James Emson, managing director, said: “There was keen interest in Five Wells, with the first bid made at £1m and a final bid made for £1,225,000 just before the ‘fall’ of the electronic gavel. There were 15 bids, with the final one being £250,000 above the guide price.

“We are seeing a growing appetite for our online auctions, which complement our 40 physical auctions a year along the South Coast from Essex to Cornwall, because our online platform allows sellers to choose a timescale at their convenience.

“The money paid for Five Wells, a self-contained building with a three-storey hexagonal core and east and west wings of two storeys each, plus a car park, is the highest to date in our online auction since go-live last September.”

Five Wells, adjacent South Essex College and currently occupied by the National Probation Service for up to 12 months, may suit alternative uses, such as conversion to residential use, subject to planning consents.

Lots from Clive Emson’s digital property listings are sold upon the fall of the electronic gavel, with bids placed via smartphones, other handheld electronic devices and desktop/laptop computers. Sellers pick a reserve price, a finishing date and time which suits them.

Bidders, who must first undergo statutory anti-money laundering checks, can download each lot’s legal documents, then make offers in the run up to the cut-off date and time. Once the clock has reached zero, the highest bid is accepted if it is above reserve.

As in a live auction, the fall of the gavel means immediate purchase and exchange, with completion within 28 days and all of the legal responsibilities that entails.

To further benefit sellers, there is a time extension of 15 minutes if there is a flurry of bids in the last five minutes to the original cut-off time. This deters multiple bidders from holding back until the last moment.

James added: “From a buyer’s point of view, the listing means they have access to auction properties which were previously unknown to them due to geographical restrictions which cannot be avoided with live auctions.

“There can be no doubt that the wind is strengthening with online property – we are increasing our share of the digital market while continuing to grow our popular live auctions.

“Internet bidding is already part of our commercial DNA here as we provide a remote bidding service for our live auctions; the online listings are a natural progression of this service, taking in England and Wales and not just the regions we’re well established in.”