Servicers looking to sell auction properties quickly need an auction platform that engages buyers and simplifies the process.
Traditional investors aren’t the only ones buying auction properties these days. The trend toward consumers buying homes at auction — to live in themselves, rent to others, or fix and flip — is growing steadily, according to the 2023 ServiceLink State of Homebuying Report (SOHBR). This year, 40% of homebuyers surveyed* said they would consider buying a home at auction, compared with last year’s 33%. Notably, the number of respondents who said they would use a home they bought at auction as a primary residence spiked to 50% in 2023, compared with just 29% in 2022.
This diversification of the buyer pool for auction properties presents great opportunities for servicers looking to accelerate disposition of their assets. It also poses a challenge: As a servicer, how can you attract and support the broadest swath of potential buyers?
“The right technology platform and auction partner are critical to servicers right now. You need to address everything from maximizing the bidder pool and creating a positive buyer experience to streamlining processes,” says Bryan Bellacosa, senior vice President, product management, Default Services at ServiceLink. “ServiceLink Auction supports servicers through an integrated platform that includes marketing outreach that matches buyers to properties and auction events, technology that supports smooth workflows and portfolio management, and a team of experienced auction experts who provide hands-on support. The platform is also being currently upgraded to support remote bidding capabilities.
An exceptional customer experience is essential
Institutional investors, individual investors and end users have different priorities as they shop for auction properties. ServiceLink has created a platform that addresses all of their needs for information and insights, while being intuitive and easy to use, Bellacosa says. “We invest heavily in the user experience and in continually improving our platform through the information and experience we provide.”
For example, the ServiceLink Auction platform offers free property reports, bringing all relevant data together in one place to make it easier for investors and consumers to complete their due diligence. Investors can view a property’s occupancy status instantly and then move on to explore a variety of rich data that is also of great importance to consumers looking for homes for themselves: comparable sales data; school, walk and bike scores; public transportation availability, etc.
The ServiceLink Auction platform also provides education for those new to the auction space or the platform, which is of particular value in today’s market, where many more potential buyers are just entering the pool.
Remote bidding capabilities change the game
Already posting one of the highest sell rates at foreclosure auctions, ServiceLink Auction is soon introducing a new client-focused feature, eBid, designed to make the buyer experience more convenient while accelerating disposition for servicers by substantially expanding the bidder pool.
“The servicers who work with us know that ServiceLink Auction prioritizes helping them sell auction properties quickly — through marketing, technology tools and support,” Bellacosa explains. “To take this commitment to the next level, we’re rolling out a sophisticated online bidding system to the platform. Enabling people to bid from anywhere they have an internet connection, versus having to be present at the courthouse, is going to open up the buyer pool significantly and help servicers dispose of properties much earlier on, before they have to start dealing with curtailments, REO and accumulating additional expenses.”
Buyers who use eBid will be able to register, set up, allocate and manage funds; and bid remotely at live foreclosure auctions. ServiceLink auctioneers will be monitoring bids that come in through the platform along with live bids being made on-site. If the buyer with the winning bid is remote, they can pay for their purchase instantly through an escrow account held by ServiceLink Auction on their behalf rather than needing to hand-carry a cashier’s check to the auction site.
Customized workflows, analytics and tools cut time and cost
For servicers, ServiceLink also offers a portal for managing assets, as well as tailored solutions and customized workflows designed to maximize efficiencies as assets move through the sales process.
On the portfolio management side, ServiceLink offers tools including EXOS One Marketplace®, an asset decisioning platform that centralizes and streamlines the management and disposition of properties, along with a variety of other analytic tools that ServiceLink’s team leverages to support servicers in reviewing, prioritizing and selling properties in their portfolios.
Collaborative teamwork optimizes outcomes
The team component of the ServiceLink Auction solution is every bit as vital to servicer success as the technology, says Bellacosa. “The expertise of our account managers and support team is incredibly important to servicers, especially when they’re selling distressed properties. Having this team of experts behind the scenes to leverage our state-of-the-art platform for data and analytics, while sharing their own knowledge and experience in selling properties, is what makes our solution so effective.”
“Our goal is always to make the process as seamless and efficient as possible, from both the technology side and the human side,” says Bellacosa, “so that servicers can sell their auction properties quickly and at the best possible price.”
*The 2023 ServiceLink State of Homebuying Report survey, conducted by Sago, polled 1,000 individuals who either purchased or tried to purchase a home within the past three years.