Auctions vs Estate Sales- Which is better?
As a licensed Auctioneer, it would make perfect sense if I did nothing but push and defend auctions only, but let's explore the differences. First, there seems to be a cultural difference. I spent the first 28 years of my life, as a city boy, living in Columbus. The last 20 years I have spent in the country out here in Coshocton. The first 28 years, the only auctions I ever attended were auto auctions and Ebay online auctions. Out in the country they are very common.
Let me take a moment to say that I am NOT an Ebay fan. It was there I learned to wait for the very last second to bid.
In all actuality, there is very little difference between a well run Estate Sale and a well run Auction as far as marketing, and overall realized prices. Both are marketed thru an email database, digital and print media advertising, signage, and word of mouth.
Here's where the differences are. Estate Sales professionals will come into your home and offer you a modicum of protection against the bottom feeders, people only interested in getting your items at a fraction of the value. Can't shoot them for that, we all like to get a great deal. BUT... selling in this manner puts a cap on value.
Estate Sales professionals are in business to make money, and to liquidate your items in the fastest possible manner. Thus, they market, draw a crowd, sell, then on the second day, discount. On the third day, they discount even more. So, they snagged you by your greed, which by the way, is ok as it is simply human nature. That piece you were scared to death would be sold under value, if it doesn't sell the first day, it gets discounted. If it doesn't sell the second day, it gets deeply discounted. All of a sudden, that price protection is gone. What happens when it is all said and done? Depends upon your contract. It could all be donated, or it could all become the property of the Estate Sale Company. Either way, it is gone, you get a check, and you can get on with your life.
An Auctioneer will come into your home, look at your items, and give you an honest assessment of what you have. You may not like what you hear, simply because you WANT the value to be higher. As an owner of personal property, we all want it to be worth more. That said, I am constantly amazed at what some things bring. I was at an auction last month where a glass horse head brought $450.00. In talking to people I discovered my amazement was not alone. This is not an everyday happening, but one thing that is true, is that this could NEVER happen in an Estate Sale. An Auction only lasts one day, everything is liquidated, you get the check, and once again, life goes on. I think you will find that in either scenario, you are going to realize a similar amount of money. We all have our favorite methods, but it isn't about us, it is about you.
A word about online auctions. I have noticed some Estate Sales companies stating that they take the leftovers and put it online. My thoughts... To take leftovers and putting them online is a disservice. You don't sell the good stuff and auction the leftovers, unless you want junk prices. The good stuff will draw in the quality bidders who will also bid on the "leftovers". The more people bidding, the higher the realized prices, $1, $5, $100.00 at a time. I like live auctions, but do online as well. I also do a hybrid live/online auction. That gives you the best of both worlds.
So, in essence the Estate Sale starts high, then comes down. The Auction starts low, as an enticement, and people bid it up to the amount they are willing to pay. When an item is auctioned off, nobody in the crowd thinks it is worth more than the winning bidder.
Marketing- Success comes from the effort put into it. We have several marketing plans and are happy to share which one works best for you.
Professionalism- I tread lightly here because in any profession, you have good ones and bad ones, so just be careful. There are zero licensing qualifications to be an Estate Sale professional. An Auctioneer must go to school and must apprentice under a sponsoring Auctioneer for a period of time as well as participate in a certain number of auctions, then pass a stringent exam, and have a bond that protects the public. That said, I am ready willing and able to do both, so the option is yours.
If you are in transition and need to move a lot of items fast and for the most possible amount of money, call me to see when my calendar is open.
Shawn J Dostie, Auctioneer
"The Friendly Auctioneer"
(740) 622-8350 office
(740) 502-1017 cell
(740) 622-9798 home
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Shawn J Dostie has extensive real life experience in live, online, and fundraising auctions, commercial real estate, small business investment, landlording,the auto industry, and livestock farming.