Real Estate Auctions – The New Land Rush

On a sunny afternoon in Florida, an energetic crowd gathers on the lawn of a high end luxury estate. A loud and eager banter between an auctioneer, a group of bidders and bidder assistants fills the air. For several minutes the auctioneer asks for the next highest bid and the bidders respond. Suddenly the bidders grow silent. The high bidder holds his breath in anticipation of winning the auction. The auctioneer calls for one more bid. In a loud clear voice which rolls over the audience he says, “Fair warning, last chance” the auctioneer pauses, “SOLD!” And in less than 10 minutes another multimillion dollar estate has changed owners.

Successful real estate auctions like the one above are happening all over North America and the Caribbean. Recently real estate auctions have been on the rise, the increase in popularity is partly driven by growing inventories and fading buyer confidence. Properties that were selling in weeks using traditional methods are now languishing on the market unable to attract buyers even as seller’s lower prices. Many say the real estate boom is over but savvy buyers and sellers are profiting from real estate auctions.

Real Estate Auctions Work in Up or Down Markets.

Regardless of trends or market cycles, real estate auctions provide an open and transparent process for buyers and sellers. Properly conducted real estate auctions attract ready and willing buyers and motivate them to act now.

The auction method removes the “wait and see” attitude which serves to further depress real estate values. Buyers are always concerned about overpaying. Buyers gain confidence with their purchases at real estate auctions because they can see what others are willing to pay.

When market demand is high and inventories low, real estate auctions can deliver selling prices well above what a willing seller would have accepted in a negotiated private treaty sale. In good selling climates many property owners using traditional real estate methods; negotiating with one buyer at a time, leave thousands of dollars of equity on the table. During up markets real estate auctions are the best way to establish top market price.

Evaluating Your Real Estate for Auction

Not every property or seller for that matter makes a good candidate for auction. First of all sellers must be ready to sell now and for the current market value. Also a real estate auction will not fix problems caused by a downturn in market value of your property, if you owe more than a willing buyer will pay, be prepared to come to closing with your check book.

Properties that do well in real estate auctions have a high uniqueness factor. Ask your self, “What makes my property different from most others?” Maybe you own a resort property or high end luxury home, commercial properties and land do very well at auction. Real estate auctions thrive on uniqueness. If your property is like everyone else’s, the best thing you can do is offer the most competitive price.

Most importantly sellers must be reasonable about setting a minimum bid. A seller must look at the lowest, most current comps and price below that to generate the interest and urgency necessary for a successful real estate auction. Once the auction begins and qualified bidders start competing against one another you can watch the selling price increase.

Locate a Qualified Real Estate Auctioneer

Start by checking with the National Auctioneers Association, the best real estate auctioneers belong to this organization. These real estate auctioneers are well trained and adhere to a standard of practice and a code of ethics. Many attend the annual International Auctioneers Conference where the latest techniques and innovations in the real estate auction industry are presented.

Find out if the company you are interviewing is a full time real estate auction firm. Many real estate agents are getting auction licenses yet have no experience with the auction method of marketing. Conducting a successful real estate auction is nothing like (private treaty) traditional real estate sales. Go with a real estate auction pro.

You’re probably better of with an auction house that specializes in real estate auctions. There are many qualified auctioneers who have generations of experience selling personal property; furniture, dishes, lawn equipment and the occasional rare painting. Selling real estate at auction is a complex matter that should only be attempted by full time experienced real estate auction professionals.

Commissions and fees may vary, sellers must pay all marketing expenses up front and buyers typically pay 10% of the sales price to the auctioneer of which a share goes to participating real estate agents.

Types of Real Estate Auctions

Auctions are effective because they create a seller’s market. Professionally conducted real estate auctions create urgency, a reason to buy today and competition for the property. Terms and conditions of sale are established ahead of the auction. Real estate auctions will follow one of these three approaches:

Absolute Auction

The property is sold to the highest bidder regardless of price- using this process often returns the highest sale price.

Minimum Bid Auction

Seller agrees to sell at or above a published minimum bid price – this method is useful for internet auctions.

Seller Confirmation or Reserve Auction

With a reserve auction, the seller “reserves” the right to accept or decline any bids usually within 48 hours of the auction. Reserve auctions are used when there is a lien on the property from a lender or a court ordered sale with a minimum selling price.

Why You Want to Partner With A Small Business Coach-Advisor

According to The National Federation of Independent Business [NFIB] Education Foundation, over the lifetime of any small business, 30 percent will lose money, 30 percent will break even, and just fewer than 40 percent will be profitable. The Small Business Administration [SBA] reports that 50 percent of all small business fail after their first year, 33 percent fail after two years, and nearly 60 percent fail after four years. Reasons for failure cited by the SBA include: limited vision, over expansion, poor capital structure, over spending, lack of reserve funds or too little Free Cash Flow, failure to adjust to market changes, underestimating competition, poor business execution, poor business location, failure to establish company goals, poor market segmentation and strategy, poor knowledge of the competition, no management systems, over dependence on specific individuals, and/or focusing on the technical aspects more than the strategic aspects of the business, and an inadequate business plan.Developing and growing a small business enterprise, either from a new venture or as an existing one, is difficult in a bull market, where the economy is growing. The difficulty factor is there none the less. However, in a down economy, in a recession, where the risk of business failure is magnified several times, the difficulty factor is increased by a significant magnitude. Entrepreneurs and small business enterprises find themselves working in their business as opposed to working on their business. That is, when times are tough, the small business owner feels compelled to spend all his or her time on operations just trying to keep the boat afloat, while putting off where the boat may be going. It is particularly critical in a recessionary economic cycle to spend as much time as possible on the direction of your boat, as it is on operations. If the vision is lost or clouded, it won’t really matter how hard you try to keep things afloat, at some point you may well run aground because you were not watching where you were going. Having an extra pair of eyes to help stir your ship and keep you in the right direction is critical to not only maintaining your business, but helping you to grow it. And as the principal in your small business, this is where you want to position yourself; at the helm stirring your enterprise in the direction of your vision.Successful athletes typically hire a coach to help them achieve success. Certainly this is the case in professional golf. It is the case in the world of professional cycling. And it is the case in professional team sports, such as baseball. For the entrepreneur and small business enterprise, having a coach, advisor, on the sidelines as well as in the game, to provide critical objective guidance to help them attain their business objectives can be the difference in achieving real success. As a small business enterprise, you want to be in the category of a ‘small business growth’ company, positioned for IPO, acquisition, merger or growing into a medium-sized company. A Business Coach and Advisor will work with you to help avoid becoming an SBA or NFIB Education Foundation statistic on their list of small business failures. From time to time we all need outside guidance, counsel, mentoring and advice. A Business Coach/Advisor will actually help you to become a success story. The benefits of partnering with a Business Coach/Advisory far outweigh the costs. Five critical benefits of partnering with a Business Coach/Advisor include, but are not limited, to the following:1. Accountability. A Business Coach /Advisor will help you to maintain focus on driving your business forward, and helping you to work through the temptation to work in your business and not on your business. A good Business Coach/Advisor will insist on holding you accountable for achieving your goals and objectives, and work with you to delegate operation tasks that need to be performed by key personal, and guiding you towards providing the strategic vision your business needs to grow. Your Business Coach, acting in an Advisory capacity will work with you to develop or refine strategic short- and long term goals and then hold you accountable to achieve them. You want your coach to be tough, yet personable having the capacity to understand your business and where it is you want to take it. There job is to help you formulate that and to get you positioned to attain it.2. Formulating Strategic Goals, Ideas, Objectives. A Business Coach/Advisor will work with you to develop and refine your goals, ideas and objectives. A combination of coaching and advising is necessary here, and your Coach has the acquired expertise and experience to work through these with you and knows how to adapt them to your business.3. Contributing Business Growth Strategies. A good Business Coach/Advisory will have the ability to share and communicate their experience and expertise in developing business growth strategies. Remember, no one has all the answers. No one. Not a coach or a business executive. Sharing ideas are critical. Thinking out of the box is essential. So, when you’ve just “run out of ideas” on how to market and sell your products and services, your Coach will work with you, as a partner, to develop and then implement the business growth strategy or strategies that are specific to your company and market to meet your growth objectives. To be most effective, weekly communication with your Coach will keep you on track.4. Resources. When it is needed, your Business Coach/Advisor will provide referrals to contacts or resources for your business, such as expansion capital, legal and accounting services, social media marketing, technologies, and other resources that are relevant to helping you meet your goals and objectives. My view here is that it is incumbent on a business coach and advisory to have a teaming or partnering viewpoint, and it is essential for them to do so for the benefit of you, the small business owner.5. Objectivity. A Business Coach/Advisor provides you with the necessary objectivity to see your business as it really is. This is essential for an honest assessment of where your business is in its life cycle. When you get used to the same processes and procedures, tasks, basic routine, you lose the ability to see your business with the same objective clarity that you once did. Your Business Coach provides you with a double perspective; looking into your business from the customer perspective, and looking out at the customer from your perspective. And then provide you with feedback about what works, what doesn’t and what your options are. To be effective, weekly communication with your Coach will keep you on track.Partnering with a Business Coach/Advisor should be on a retainer basis for three to nine months, preferably six months. It will normally take a good Business Coach/Advisor two months, sixty days, at least to become fully knowledgeable about your business, its practices, your strengths, weakness, your vision, and your objectives. Then another month to begin working with you to arrive at your business objectives. While three months is the minimum time needed for a good Business Coach/Advisor to begin making a difference under a single retainer agreement, nine months is the maximum under a single retainer agreement, where six months is the optimal. During a six month retainer, a Business Coach/Advisor should be able to meet all goals and place in to practice the critical elements that a small business needs to attain strategic objectives. Typically, once a small business has partnered with a Business Coach/Advisor, they retain them continuously, or as needed.In today’s troubled economic climate, the use of a Business Coach/Advisor makes strong financial sense. While you might feel you can go it alone, the resulting cost may far outweigh what it would be had you partnered with a Business Coach/Advisor when needed. It’s sort of like the old TV commercial about changing your oil, you can either do it now at the cost of an oil change, or wait until your engine blows and pay the cost then. Waiting will certainly cost you infinitely more. If you are facing a limited vision, over expansion, poor capital structure, over spending, lack of reserve funds or too little Free Cash Flow, failure to adjust to market changes, underestimating competition, poor business execution, poor business location, failure to establish company goals, poor market segmentation and strategy, poor knowledge of the competition, no management systems, over dependence on specific individuals, focusing on the technical aspects more than the strategic aspects of the business, or simply need help in growing your business, then partnering with a Business Coach/Advisor makes good financial sense.

4 Reasons You Need A Niche Market

Key #1: Focus
When we focus our business to serve a niche market we create a compact business strategy that knows the ‘ins and outs’ of our market’s needs. Our web page speaks to a select market from an expert point of view. Speaking from authority that respond to a familiar need with a focus is a powerful way to attract your niche market. It is called marketing by attraction, or pull marketing.

A niche market may include a million potential buyers, or ten million potential buyers. A small business web site would most likely be pleased with having 10 thousand potential buyers, and to get attention from a niche market of 10 thousand buyers we will need to focus.

You might be inclined to try and sell to a wider market than a specific niche. The broad approach is common and it most often fails because in trying to speak to everyone it speaks to no one. A broad message is lost on all aspects of your market when they have a specific problem to solve.

The majority of business web sites seem to have fallen for the false idea that a web site can sell to the world. The reality is that the web creates a one-to-one relationship. Our web sites need to be more specific to each aspect of our web market.

For instance, a web designer may develop a niche market for business owners that are new to the web. There is also a niche market for those business owners on their second or third web design and the changing needs of that niche. A niche exists for certain professions like a dentists or a realtor.

Of all the different kinds of businesses needing a web design it will be a specialist that can be found quickly and the business jargon speaks volumes to the client.

Key #2: Specialize
You will need your web site to speak about how you specialize in order to attract attention from an important niche that exists within your wider market. Your web site may sell picture frames but you specialize in wooden frames. This would be your primary market, but you can still sell other types of frames. The important thing is to capture your special niche market because it is obviously a big enough market for you to want to specialize in.

Creating a web page for a niche market is often referred to as building a landing page when you have more than one niche market to serve. When this happens then you pull one niche to a certain landing page and pull another niche to a different landing page. Keywords play a big part in which landing page is delivered.

Call them by name:
It helps if your web site can address your niche market by name. Something like “wooden picture frame lovers… ” should catch their attention and from there you can talk about the unique features of wooden picture frames.

Why does your business specialize in wooden picture frames and why do you love wood and like to work with wood? When you speak this way about why you truly appreciate wooden frames your web site is expressing your values as a knowledgeable business owner. Your niche market likes this and they identify with your business because they share the same values.

Key #3: Be of Service
As you build content for a niche market you help them to feel right at home. The jargon you use and the solutions you offer provide a unique experience for your niche market that otherwise have to guess if a web site really does offer a solution for their specific needs.

Your niche market becomes comfortable because you are serving their need to find trust, quality and respect for the values they share with you. This is an unspoken service because your web pages doesn’t say, “We are trying to make you feel comfortable and let you know that you belong here with us”, but this is what your market feels just the same.

When your web site provides insight and helpful information for choosing products and services you’re pulling your niche market in. Your market is not only made more comfortable they are educated in ways they never knew before. This is because their needs are unique to the special niche they are a part of. The market that loves wood probably wouldn’t know why a hardwood may suit some projects but not others. Members of your market may only want the appearance of wood and not care about its other qualities. There are so many things to talk about in providing good service.

Okay, you don’t sell wooden picture frames
Almost every business will have a lot to talk about that is informative for their niche market. As the market become more knowledgeable on the features and functions of a natural product (or your product) then you can educate them on being price wise so they don’t purchase the cheapest product and end up being dissatisfied.

Your service needs to extend beyond the price so your market can purchase in the price range and other considerations that is best for them. And this is true whether the final price is high or low. Good service provides all the important reasons for spending less or spending more so that the final purchase is without regret.

This is truly being of service and it is that old time value we loved about the local business owner that we could always trust to keep us safe while giving us their best information.

Key #4: Search Engine Placement
As you build quality content that covers all the bases in your niche market from beginning (curious) to end (sophisticated answers) you will also be completing your own page SEO. You used to pay big dollars to an SEO expert so the search engines would place your site high on the list for your search terms. Today, it is by providing the quality content that you also complete the SEO for your page.

Over the years Google has changed and the new requirements are that your web site needs quality and quantity when it comes to relevant web content. An SEO specialist cannot do this for you. They might be able to tweak your content slightly to perform better, but no one can support your market as well as you can.

These changes by Google fit perfectly for focusing on your niche market. In the process of providing insight and specialized knowledge for your niche market your web pages are sharing unique information of quality that search engines want. Search engines are in the business of listing the most relevant pages for a search. By giving your niche market the information that helps them the most you are also giving the search engines the pages they want to deliver. It is called symbiosis.

If you didn’t write content for a niche market you would be writing content to cover a broad market and then your business web site would read more like a department store than a specialty shop. But – and this is a BIG but – even a department store needs to have landing pages with a tight focus for a specific (niche) market.

Google will choose pages that provide a specific focus to match a keyword search. Those broad general market descriptions so many business web sites use to attract everyone in the world do not capture the interest of any particular market, and they do not attract the interest of search engines.

The common search terms used to attract traffic are not specific enough to capture the interest of a niche market. What really happens is that the common search terms act as the default. When there is nothing else to choose then common terms will have to do.

Your web site, written for a niche market you are familiar with, is far from common and a niche market will close in on your site with the keywords that identify their need for information.