Adapting to the changing landscape of property auctions

Saif Derzi

Property investor Saif Derzi‘s experience of auctions during the pandemic

by Angharad Owen, Co-editor.

A long-time friend of YPN, Saif Derzi has an extraordinary amount of experience when it comes to both buying and selling at auction. In fact, over the past three years he has bought and sold over a hundred properties.

However, throughout the pandemic — and as the market shifted from being a buyer’s market to a seller’s — he was forced to change his focus from predominantly buying to hold to buying to sell.

Prior to lockdown, auctions were mainly reserved for experienced property buyers, but a combination of the new online format (allowing people to bid from home) and the certainty of an auction purchase, meant that demand suddenly increased dramatically. This is a reflection of the heavily competitive market at present, where many buyers have been outbid, underbid or gazumped.

When the lockdown started lifting, Saif tried to buy as much as he could. He and his team drew on their creativity to solve more complex deals that were too early to bring into the still-recovering market, for example properties with non-paying tenants or stock that had been repossessed. The silver lining of the lockdown was that Saif had the mindspace and time to find creative solutions, as there weren’t as many deals coming through his usual pipelines.

Switching from buying to selling at auction

However, he quickly realised that buying was too competitive, and decided to make the most of the high demand for property. He examined his portfolio to see if there was anything suitable to sell, looked at his pipeline for trading opportunities and targeted properties that might be suitable to trade. You can find out exactly what happened following that decision in the upcoming July 2021 issue of YPN, where he goes into two case studies in detail.

Speaking to Saif, it is clear that he loves data and believes that in order to understand the future of auctions, it’s important to study the property market as a whole. It was inspiring to hear how he changed direction and strategies so quickly, which clearly showcases an adaptability that is outstanding.

If you are interested in using auctions — whether to buy or to sell — as part of your investing toolkit, you’ll find this article helpful and illuminating. As with any form of property investing, flexibility is key to success, as is a greater understanding of the wider market. Saif advises everyone to consume as much information as possible, and to take the time to form your own opinion about how that information can influence your own investing or businesses.

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