Estate Sales vs Auctions.

I have had a lot of people ask me lately why I have been focusing on estate sales over auctions. So I figured I would write it down.
Estate Sales vs Auctions:
In the last year I have learned a lot about being an auctioneer and doing auctions or estate sales.
Positive use of Auctions: Auctions will always have their place in our society and I think that auctioning land, farm equipment, cars and homes is a win win situation IF you have a reserve on your property. Any auction company that tells you to sell anything without a reserve is only out for their profit and not yours.
Personal Property: I have gone to hundreds of auctions, garage sales and estate sales in my life being an antique dealer and collector first and foremost. I LOVE going to all of those types of sales especially when the person or company has no idea what they are selling. That is how the most money is made in the resale business. Taking high value objects for the least amount of money. Un-informed sellers, auctioneers and estate sale companies are the friend of the buyers/ dealers. But who is the friend of the sellers? Garage sales? You are on your own. Auctions? Well you hope the auctioneer has at least a basic idea of value and what to take pictures of to promote the sale instead of just showing up to sell. Estate sales? Depends on the company. There are the companies that have no knowledge and set prices accordingly (love those). There are companies that ask to much and are left with most of the items and very little for the sellers. And then there are those that try to be realistic and achieve the maximum amount of revenue while getting rid of the property. I personally have found this way to be the most pleasing and rewarding for clients and myself. I just completed an estate sale here in Hesston last weekend and have heard several stories of complaints of high prices and surprise at low prices. Those comments are a reflection of the diversity of the shoppers more then of our pricing. Resellers want everything for nothing. Which is understandable to me as a reseller. Collectors just want what they collect and getting to save a few bucks makes them happy. Those buying for their homes use their tastes to govern their choices. eBay has become the standard to which most pricing is done. Some people may not appreciate it for what it is which is a world wide true market reflection but in this day and age it is the industry standard. Beginning a sale where the items will gradually decrease in price while starting out at 75% of market value makes much better money for clients then having an auction where you are HOPING people show up, hoping it doesn’t rain, hoping it’s not cold, hoping people will wait till you get to what they are interested in, hoping their isn’t a football game they want to see, etc, etc. With an estate sale time is the buyers friend. Prices go down, not up. You can spend a little more and take an item home right away. You don’t have to plan an entire day to wait around for one item. Or you can wait and hope that the item is still there when the price drops and come back and see. For the sellers they have a better idea from the beginning what their items might bring and how their treasures WON’T be sold for pennies on the dollar because the auctioneer is tired or bored or in a bad mood. This is pretty long and I could write a lot more but I will just say that for my clients I believe in the value of estate sales. I believe in the value of auctions in the right situations. There are other good estate sale companies out there, this isn’t just about my business. L&B Estate Sales out of Newton is a good one. Becky’s Estate Sales out of Wichita is a good one. Someday I hope to be mentioned in that same breath. For the client’s personal property I believe estate sales are the way to go.
My two cents.

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