Why sell at auction?

Today I received a call that is fairly common. A family has an estate to settle and is considering selling it at auction. They’ve never done this before so they had a lot of questions about the auction process and are trying to decide if this is the way to go. I shared several reasons why disposing of an estate through an auction can make a lot of sense. I’ll share with you what I commonly tell people who are considering selling at auction.

  • It provides a quick way to dispose of the estate. This is especially helpful if the family lives some distance away. The alternatives to an auction would be to have numerous yard sales, sell through consignment shops, sell through E-bay or Craigslist, or through local advertising. However, these all take time. With an auction you know the date that your items will be sold which is a much more efficient way to sell an estate. There are no appointments to meet people, no waiting for offers, and no haggling.
  • The seller receives a fair market price through the bidding process. Sometimes, items will even sell for more at auction than through other means as people get caught up in the bidding and decide they will own that item regardless of the cost.
  • Your items are marketed to a much wider market than just your local community. Most auctioneers mail letters to their regular buyers, post flyers, run ads in local papers as well as the papers in surrounding communities, and post the auction on the Internet. I’ve had buyers from surrounding states attend my auctions because they saw items they were interested in buying on my Internet post, and I’ve had buyers from California and Tennessee purchase things at my auctions through absentee bids.
  • Buyers arrive with money in their pocket ready to buy. There’s no haggling between the seller and buyer, and there’s no waiting for someone to see “if they can get the money.” They’ve got the money or they wouldn’t be there.
  • Virtually everything gets sold. I always hate the end of a yard sale when I have to take everything back in or figure out what I’m going to do with the items that didn’t sell. A good auctioneer will group less desirable items together and sell them in a lot which means there will be very few things that don’t sell and little clean-up after the sale.
  • On high ticket items such as real estate or vehicles the seller can always place a “reserve” price on the item ensuring that it brings the price you expect. While I don’t like to have reserves on most items, on real estate, vehicles and other high end items it is a way for the seller to protect themselves from selling these items below their value. Home owners, businesses, and owners of commercial property are using the auction process to sell their properties rather than wait months for offers that might never come.
  • Sometimes the selling of an estate can be a very emotional time for the family. It may be difficult for them to watch the things they grew up with being sold to strangers. The family does not have to attend the auction if they choose not to. The auctioneer and his or her staff will take care of everything. At one estate I sold, the family gave me the keys to the house when we signed the contract, gave me their phone number and left the state. I called them a few weeks later after the auction with the results of the sale and sent them their check. The sale was going to be too emotional for them for various reasons so they wisely chose to stay away.

As you can see, there are many excellent reasons to sell your estate at auction. I suppose hundreds, if not thousands, of auctions are conducted every day which must mean that many people find that process to be a great way to sell.

If you would like to explore the possibility of selling your estate at auction, please feel free to contact me. I’m licensed to conduct auctions in Indiana and Kentucky and would be honored to assist you.

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