We in the industry are already very familiar with the numerous benefits of auctions, but you may encounter some push back from time to time from those who aren’t quite up to speed on all of the various benefits that a trained auctioneer can bring to a sale. Many non-auction based estate sale companies have popped up in recent years, some claiming that their “tag sale” method, in which they place a single, static price on an item and hope for the best, is a more effective means of clearing out the inventory for an estate sale than an auction.
We see things differently. While I probably don’t need to sell you, personally, on the benefits of auctions, here are some quick responses you can give to those who might be having doubts about the value a trained auctioneer can bring to an estate (or any kind of) sale.
1.) Auctions maximize sales.
With an auctioneer, you’re getting the most bang for your buck. A single-price estate seller who simply marks “best case scenario” prices on things could easily misvalue an item, putting people at a disadvantage from the get-go. And with an estate sale that may encompass hundreds of items, it’s highly likely that at least a handful of things will be undervalued.
With auctions, this is not an issue. Auctions leave it to the market to value an item. A good auctioneer will get people onto the auction floor to drive the price up naturally through competition. There are many an instance of things at a tag sale going for way less than they’re worth. With auctions, the true value of an item is discovered naturally, so there are no worries over whether or not you let something slip away for far less than it’s worth.
2.) Auctions attract more buyers.
Relatably, auctions drive competition through attracting larger crowds than regular estate sales. The more buyers there are, the more competition there is. The more competition there is, the higher the prices go. Auctions are exciting events – a good auctioneer knows how to stir up buzz for a big event and ensure a good turnout. Many people will show up just to watch the proceedings, then end up bidding on things as well once they get caught up in the excitement. The same can’t be said for tag sales.
With auctions, you can maximize your bidder pool by allowing people to leave absentee bids, or set up a simulcast event to integrate online bidders into the mix (ahem). Rather than sitting on a single price and hoping it’s not undervalued, auctions make action happen.
3.) Auctions work up, not down.
Another of the chief disadvantages of tag sales is that they are only negotiated downward. That initial posted price is seen as the high point from which to haggle lower. These tag sale events, when they last more than a day at all, typically reduce their prices more and more on each successive day. Auctions work the other way. They get sellers the most for their things. Tag sales give the advantage to the buyer, auctions give advantage to the seller. For this reason alone, hiring a trained auctioneer should always be worth it.
4.) Auctions don’t leave items behind.
As discussed before, it’s very difficult to put the right price on every item. This means that in addition to not getting the full value for those items that were undervalued, tag sales leave behind all items that were accidentally overvalued as well. At tag sales, the undervalued items are generally the only items that are sold. The overvalued items get left behind, leaving sellers with a whole lot of stuff they have nowhere to go with. Auctions are efficient in that they not only naturally find the correct value of an item, but also clear out the entire inventory. Sellers, espcially in estate sale scenarios, don’t want anything left behind. If only 50% or less of their items are sold, as is frequently the case at a tag sale, they end up having to wholesale the remainder for far less than it’s worth, if not give it away. Auctions ensure that every item is sold (and for the best price possible).
5.) With auctioneers, you know what you’re getting.
With estate sale companies, you’re really taking a shot in the dark about who you’re working with. To be a tag-based estate sale handler, there is no licensing required, no particular code of ethics to adhere to, and no particular training. Anyone can call themselves one. With a licensed auctioneer, you can rest easy knowing that they are a member of a state association, and have accountability as a member of that community. With an unlicensed estate sale handler, you only have the person’s word, and no direct recourse should they mishandle your property. With auctions, everything is out in the open, and completely transparent.
So there you have it. We hope these quick talking points come in handy should anyone ever want to know what auctions can do for them! Leave a comment below if you have any other good points!
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