Tulsa-based real estate auction house Williams, Williams & McKissick are expanding their reach into Canada.
WW&M, 7140 S. Lewis Ave., announced a strategic alliance with Bill White of Ontario-based Real Estate Auction Canada.
Dean Williams cofounded Williams & Williams in 1986, built upon real estate and auctioneering partnerships going back with his family to 1910.
Today, it’s one of the largest real estate auction firms in the world. In the last 10 years, it has sold more than $10 billion in real estate from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Central America and Europe.
CEO Pam McKissick joined Williams & Williams in 2005 as chief operating officer and built a sustainable business model that afforded the company year over year expansion and diversification.
She is a former vice president for network specials for Walt Disney Studios and former president of the TV Guide Channel.
McKissick also founded Auction Network, a 24-hour streaming television network that allows viewers to participate remotely via live auctions throughout the world. Viewers can bid interactively and in real time.
In 2010, she entered into an equal partnership with Williams and became Co-owner and CEO of Williams, Williams & McKissick.
Executive vice president of sales Fontana Fitzwilson has been with WW&M for 10 years, having worked with McKissick at the TV Guide Channel.
“Now, the idea is to take what we are doing in the U.S. today, and launch that into Canada,” Fitzwilson said. “We are launching there because there aren’t any sizable auction firms in Canada now. So we are working with Bill to build that marketplace and we are starting in Ontario.”
She says there are many reasons people sell properties at auctions. Perhaps they are getting relocated and they need to have a definite sale, or they are getting married and there is more than one property and they need to sell one. Sometimes, it’s the result of a divorce.
Others want to buy another property but have to get rid of their current property.
In relation to a commercial property, perhaps it’s sitting vacant and isn’t earning money and they have a cost associated with holding on to the property.
Through the sister brand Auction Network, WW&M has a global audience to each of the properties that they sell.
“What that does is provide us the capabilities to sell on site and online simultaneously,” Fitzwilson said.
The network hosts programming 24 hours a day and showcases these properties.
“Then on auction day, it’s sort of like a news desk and we have a reporter in the field and a media desk promoting the properties coming up. Then, they will go to the live auction team,” Fitzwilson said.
Bidders have a choice to bid live, in real time in front of the auction team, or online where they can hear the auction live and bid just like they are there in person.
“About 80 percent of our properties receive online bids,” she said. “So it really does create a larger audience that is able to participate.”
About 30 percent of the time, the property is sold to an online bidder, leaving 70 percent which are sold to someone on site.
“I am amazed that even though we sell properties worth over $1 million that people will bid that kind of money online, but they do,” she said.
The first Canadian auction for WW&M was held March 6 with an opening bid of $50,000.
“Our very first auction at the Investors Forum was exciting,” Fitzwilson said. “We had about 20 registered bidders on site and we had one bidder online. So about 21 bidders total. We were educating the audience about how the auction works (and) what the advantages of buying through auction are.”
The key advantages to auction selling is that it is a time definite real estate transaction. The property is going to sell the day of the auction.
The finality of the process helps create a sense of urgency and buyers know this is their last chance.
“Sometimes properties that we show have been on the market for a while,” she said. “People have driven by the properties waiting for the seller to lower the price, and then when the auction sign goes up, it makes them get off the fence. It also creates competition and brings all of the offers together. That’s what maximizes the price — the competition.”
Other times buyers make pre-auction offers and the property never makes it to the auction because a seller will accept a pre-auction offer.
WW&M sells real estate and personal property as it relates to the property.
“For example, if it’s a farm and ranch, we may sell the horses, tractors and equipment,” Fitzwilson said. “Or if a restaurant is being sold or a winery, we may sell the equipment. If a golf course is being sold, we may sell the golf carts.”
Types of properties include retail, residential, owner/occupant, investor grade properties, luxury homes, land, farms, ranch lands and specialty properties.
“We sell for Fortune 500 companies, we sell for financial institutions and individual sellers and corporations she said.
Two open inspections are conducted for each property that they sell. Bidders can come and inspect the properties.
“The homeowner isn’t interrupted every night at dinner,” she said. “Every property is sold as is, and there are no contingency offers accepted.”
And the seller isn’t subject to inspection or the buyer’s ability to get financing.
“The majority of our buyers are cash buyers,” she said. “They already know where their cash is coming from or they have an equity line of credit available.”
People interested in purchasing properties through an auction house should do their due diligence, according to Fitzwilson.
“There is nothing to be scared of,” she said. “It is just another way to market a property. But you are buying a property as is.”
However, just because the property is sold as is, doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it.
“We sell properties that are beautiful, well-maintained properties all the time,” she said.
She recommends touring the property like you would normally do in a regular real estate transaction. And, buyers have the option of having their own inspectors go over the property as well.
“Also, be prepared to know what you are willing to spend on auction day and don’t be scared to come and bid,” she said.
Sometimes people spend more than they planned because of the competition that ensues.
Lesa Jones 918-581-8306
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