While the Covid-19 pandemic has seen an uptick in businesses adopting digital technology, Bidstream, South Africa’s first homegrown developed online property auction website, had already moved to offer buyers and sellers an additional property sales channel.
The online auction company was founded by Craig Cooper, MD of national commercial property brokerages CRE Africa and Warehouse Finder, and has offices in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria with a dedicated team of more than forty property professionals.
Launched in February, Bidstream has four auctions under its belt, which saw a collective thirty-one properties go under the hammer across residential, commercial and industrial in locations such as Gordons Bay, Ballito, Klerksdorp, Margate and Johannesburg.
Bidstream boasts the country’s first native property auction app, as opposed to a third party white labelled app used under license from an overseas company like others on the market.
The BidStream backend was developed in conjunction with a local IT and applications development company.
Cooper said Covid-19 had pushed people into looking at other ways of buying and selling properties.
“Residential estate agents can only work again when lockdown gets to Level 2, and with more than 40 000 of them in the country, they are forced to look at new ways of transacting, so they are using our platform more and more.” However, he acknowledged that sales were impacted by prospective buyers being unable to view properties before auction.
“The economic maelstrom created by adding pressure from Covid-19 to our already ailing economy means that some commercial properties that wouldn’t have come on market will now be available, as companies are forced to sell off non-core property assets to free up cash,” Cooper said.
By virtue of its digital nature, Bidstream offers access to a much wider market than a traditional auction. Held at no cost to the seller, prospective buyers must register, upload FICA documents and pay a refundable R25 000 registration fee before they are approved to bid.
“Once the auction goes live, bids can be placed from anywhere in the world either via a computer or the BidStream iOS or Android mobile app.”
All relevant due diligence and Know Your Customer procedures are completed on both purchasers and sellers. The auctions run on a set date for a number of hours, and registered buyers can logon to the Bidstream’s website to tender their bid, which is date and timestamped for security and an audit trail. All properties have a reserve price and the process is easy, transparent and secure.