Richmond art auction house plans to sell homes

A Richmond art auction house plans to start auctioning off real estate – something that is common practise in Australia but new to Canada.

YKLM – which translates to “Art Space Alliance” in English - offers both live and online art auctions every month at Lipont Gallery on No. 3 Road. After auctioning off Canadian and Asian fine art, antiques and collectibles, the company is now considering to get into the real estate business over the next few months.

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“Anything has a market value that can be sold at an auction,” said Dingyang Zhang, director of real estate auction at YKLM, adding that selling homes at auction is more transparent compared to the traditional way. 

She said this will limit shadow flipping and create a safe bidding environment for both buyer and sellers. 

“A real-estate auction will be fairer, more transparent and open to both parties. Bids won’t be kept as secrets and potential buyers can know what the others have offered,” said Zhang. “There won’t be any room for agents to break the law.” 

An auction can be conducted live, online, or both. On a bidding day, buyers gather outside of a house and place their bids in public. Or they can just bid online; buyers can change their bids after observing what other competitors are doing. 

Also, would-be buyers can do research before bidding on the property. They can have access to floor plans, home inspection reports and the history of a house before purchasing. 

“Buyers don’t need to rush while dealing with something as massive and life-changing as buying a house, and they can spend a week making a decision.”

A real estate auction is a new concept for locals, but buying a home at an auction has become the dominant method of sale in Australia in recent years, according to Zhang. 

She pointed out that China has also followed suit this year. More than 10,000 homes were listed on Nov. 11 through Ali Auction, an online auction platform under Alibaba Group, one of the largest online retail businesses in China. 

“Our team came up with the idea earlier this year, but there have been a lot of homeowners showing interest in it,” Zhang said. “We are confident that people will find out the benefits of auction.”

YKLM was originally founded in Xi’an, a province in central China, in 2015. As an auction house specializing in art, it appeals to collectors of fine art and culture connoisseurs around the world. Later, it established a second art auction house in Richmond.

Currently, Zhang’s team has been working on creating a multilingual website and mobile app for real estate auction in the next few months. 

“Instead of operating the real estate auction business in Richmond, we look forward to expanding it and sharing the idea across the country,” said Zhang.


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