https://www.egi.co.uk/news/clicktopurchases-ai-auctioneer-hosts-first-sale/

Online property platform Clicktopurchase has laid claim to hosting the first property sale to be concluded by an artificial intelligence auctioneer.  The sale process also incorporated Blockchain technology. The property in question was a house in Sweeney’s Terrace, Dublin, being sold by agency Allen & Jacobs.  It was offered with a guide price of €250,000 (£218,000). Following competitive online bidding, monitored by the AI auctioneer, the property was sold using the Clicktopurchase auction platform for €345,000. Neil Singer, chief executive of Clicktopurchase, said the system emulates the ballroom experience but in a modern online manner. 

Bidders interact with the auctioneer in real time, see other bids and comments from the auctioneer, and react accordingly.

The artificial intelligence auctioneer, named “gAbI”, controls the bidding, encourages offers, and closes the sale when appropriate.

“Human error or manipulation cannot occur, instilling total trust in the process for all involved,” Singer said.

Gary Jacobs of Allen & Jacobs said: “From start to finish, the bidding was kept going at a good pace while allowing ample time for the bidders in the room to bid. It also ensured that we had plenty of time to get all our verified bidders into the online auction room and also allowed us to be able to interact with our client during the auction.”

Online auctions are gaining traction in the market: Essential Information Group and Bamboo Auctions both provide white label auction services to a growing number of auctioneers and estate agents, while Irish online auction house BidX1 brought its own platform to the UK market earlier this year.

Clicktopurchase is more active in the private treaty market than the auctions sector and its chief executive, Neil Singer, says his system “came from a completely different direction”. Its key focus is on the electronic exchange of contracts online using digital signatures.

“We created a platform to enable private treaty execution as part of the sales process. We did this by finding a way for legally binding digital signatures to be created as part of the offer and acceptance process – it is as if someone has signed a contract and put it in front of you,” Singer explains.

“We then decided to add in the auction facility, which initially was live auctioning conducted by an agent/auctioneer. At the end of the auction, a digital contract note is automatically generated with signatures. This year we added in the artificial intelligence, as we could see a demand for automation.”

The auction offer aims to emulate the traditional experience online, with dialogue from the AI auctioneer appearing on screen before and between bids. So far, other online property auction platforms show only the bids on screen – in a similar way to eBay – and frequently use their expert staff to liaise with bidders by phone.
 
 

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