The upsides of selling online - It can happen fast: Properties are often auctioned off quickly, usually within two weeks.In an online auction, the homes which sell the quickest are those which offer buyers the most details. Bid4Assets advises sellers to disclose as much information as possible such as nearby attractions and a lot of high-quality photos.

Sellers can create storefronts and upload maps, title information and disclosures. Bid4Assets also coaches you on the best days to hold an auction — usually weekdays.

Want to sell your home fast? List it on a Friday

Exposure the world over: Online auction sites are heavily trafficked. At Bid4Assets, hundreds of thousands of visitors check in weekly. And lately, foreign homebuyers mainly from Europe, Israel, India and Canada are popping up more and more. For even more exposure, Bid4Assets also syndicates their listings with 65 top real estate sites.

You can also drive more traffic to your auction by posting your property on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, or uploading videos onto YouTube.
Other free listing sites include Craigslist, Backpage and BiggerPockets.

At RealtyBid, sellers can't list the home themselves; they must go through an agent. However, you can request that your agent list your home on the site. And exposure is large last month the site had 2 million visitors, including foreign buyers.

But at Bid4Assets, sellers can choose whether to list themselves or go through an agent.

Buyers are vetted: Online auction companies usually authenticate buyers. For example, Bid4Assets uses proprietary databases to verify identity, matching names to credit cards and verifies working email addresses.

At RealtyBid, there's a $500 penalty if the buyer defaults on the winning bid. "Once they win the property, they have 24 hours to put down a 5 percent deposit,". They have another 30 days to come up with the rest of the cash. These days, many buyers make all-cash payments.

If a winning bidder can't come up with the financing, the second-highest bidder gets a crack.

The downsides of selling online - Lower bidders may win: If you sell your home using the online auction approach, your home may sell for less than you would like. If your objective is getting a certain price, an auction isn't the best strategy.

There are protections, though. Sellers can set high reserves and withdraw a property if the reserve isn't met. However, sellers can lean on auction company expertise or utilize other online sources for valuing and setting an open bid.

Your home may not sell: At RealtyBid, only 55 percent of auctioned properties are ultimately sold. The rest go back on the market, people usually gather more information and put the home up for sale a second or third time.

So while an online auction may not be the best venue for every seller to market their home, it remains an alternative option for those struggling to sell in today's tough real estate market.

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