WABASH, Ind. — During a normal spring, you might find Howard Halderman in front of a crowd during a farm auction.
However, this year is anything but normal.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, auctions are being held online instead of in-person. Luckily, real estate companies are prepared for the transition to off-site auctions.
“We made the decision within about 48 hours to convert all of our upcoming auctions to online only events,” said Howard Halderman, president of Halderman Farm Management and Real Estate Services.
“This was not scary for us because we’ve been offering online auctions for a number of years. We made that decision because we want to make sure our staff, clients and customers would be safe during this time. We also have the technology to manage those sales very successfully.”
Pat Karst, vice president of Halderman, said that positives of online auctions include limited travel, less emotional toll, time savings, anonymous bidding, ability to bid from anywhere in the world and easiness of placing bids.
“We’ve done this for a long time,” Karst said. “We’re very comfortable with it. We have a provider that gives us a very easy, intuitive program to use. It allows bidders to bid without any worry, without any concerns, while also helping us maximize the sales price for our customers.”
The process for an online auction is very similar to a live auction.
In fact, until the date of the auction itself it’s exactly the same.
“We use the same marketing, the same brochures and the same newspaper ads,” Karst said. “Our reps are out talking to potential buyers, talking to loan officers and doing everything they can to maximize the sale price of that farm.
“The bidding is open for 24 to 48 hours. Typically there’s very little bidding on that first day. Most of the bidding is in the second half of the second day, as the auction nears the end.”
If someone puts a bid in at the last 30 seconds, bidding is extended for another five minutes to give everyone the chance to bid on the property.
“The purchase agreements at a live auction are typically signed at the site,” Karst said. “Right now we’re using DocuSign. We email the purchase agreements to the buyer or deliver them in person the next day.”
Going forward, the company expects more auctions to be held online due to efficiency and convenience.
Learn more about Halderman at www.halderman.com.