L eading luxury real estate auction marketplace Concierge Auctions has been pioneering ways of bringing the finest properties to the market for almost 15 years. In November, Sotheby’s and Realogy, the largest full-service residential real estate services company in the US, recognised these achievements with an 80% acquisition of the company. Sotheby’s magazine spoke to Laura Brady, cofounder (with Chad Roffers) and chief executive of Concierge Auctions, about the platform.
Can you tell me a bit about the process of selling a luxury home with Concierge Auctions?
Our process is very streamlined – 60 days from engagement to contract. When we accept a property to our platform, we spend a few weeks preparing the auction campaign, and then we have a viewing period of four to six weeks. When the bidding ends, the buyer is declared, and the typical closing period is 30 days.
What are some of the advantages of selling a property through the platform?
The first thing is time certainty of sale, the second is our reach, and ease of transaction is the third. Time is one that we keep coming back to: we can create a sense of urgency and sell properties on a timeframe that may not be easily obtained traditionally. When the market is strong, sellers may be able to sell within a week or two, but what they may not be doing is maximising the value through competition. With that in mind, together with Sotheby’s and the listing agent, we assemble multiple bidders and produce the best price through competition.
What are the criteria you look for in a property?
We are very keen on the curation of our properties; we evaluate roughly 20 properties for every one we accept. Our business developers evaluate our opportunities on a number of criteria. The first one is price point. We typically consider properties valued above $2.5 million, and we have sold properties upwards of $100 million. With that said, a property could have an amazingly high price point and not reach our standards of quality – that’s the second criterion. The location of the property is important to us, and not just in a geographical sense. Aspen, Colorado, for example, is an A-plus market, but within it there are some neighbourhoods that are more exciting than others. So we’re looking at the location within the market. Then finally, there’s the seller and agent sentiment – why they’re selling, and whether our joint efforts will accomplish their goals.
Which properties have stood out over the years?
One of our big breakout sales in the early days was when we sold a home for Cher in Hawaii. It was a lot of fun and she helped us spread awareness and raise funds for charity, too.
How do you think that the Sotheby’s and Realogy acquisition will affect the work that you do?
There’s certainly a lot for us to learn about format and execution of auctions with Sotheby’s and integrating our sales. We’re also looking at maximising our shared contacts and using similar technology so clients can have the same experience as when they’re buying other assets through Sotheby’s. From our perspective, we couldn’t have picked better partners to help us grow to the next level.