Estate Sales vs. Estate Auction – What’s the Difference?

Why Should I Hire an Estate-Auction Company?

An estate auction or estate liquidation is an event that happens when a homeowner decides to sell their personal property for reasons such as downsizing or moving out of an area. Estate auctions give homeowners new funds which can be used to cover various expenses. Depending on the situation, an estate auction, estate sale, or even both could be suitable for you.


What’s the Difference Between an Estate Sale and Estate Auction?

Estate sales and auctions are a way to part ways with belongings you may no longer need. While it is true that a sale and an auction inevitably ends in something being sold, there are some differences between the two, such as:


Estate Auction:

  • Items can be previewed before auction
  • Items are sold to the highest bidder
  • Typically lasts for one day
  • Seller receives payment after auction

Estate Sale:

  • Typically sold at fixed prices 
  • Items are priced individually
  • Can last for several days
  • Seller receives payment immediately


How Do Estate Auctions Work?

Estate auctions work just like any other kind of auction. Items are cataloged, priced, and then sold for the highest bid, with the bidding process allowing each item to be sold as its own lot. This means that items at estate auctions can be sold by itself, or all at once. Generally speaking, estate auctions can be divided into three phases, which are the:

  • Consultation Phase: In this phase, homeowners looking to auction their items get in touch with a service and plan an auction based on the homeowner’s needs.
  • Pre-Auction Phase: This is the phase which involves giving publicity to an upcoming auction. Items are cataloged, appraised, and a list of potential buyers are made so they can be invited.
  • Auction Phase: During auction day, buyers can partake in the bidding process to purchase specific items they want. Estate auctions can last for several days, allowing anyone interested to participate. Additionally, some estate auctions are also held online, ensuring that buyers can see and bid on all items.


How Do I Auction Off My Estate?

Auctioning your estate can be a time consuming process without the proper knowhow. iStuffSellers has compiled a brief list that should give you an idea of what to do to put your estate for auction:

  • Find an auction firm that specializes in estate auctions: Certain firms specialize in estate auctions, and selling through them will ensure that you reach the right buyers. 
  • Catalog and determine which items you want to sell at the auction: Work with an appraiser to ensure that the items you have up for bidding are priced accordingly.
  • Set a realistic reserve price: A reserve price ensures that items at an estate auction aren’t sold below a certain price. Price them realistically – high prices will make items difficult to sell.


Why Should I Hire an Estate-Auction Company?


Why Should I Hire an Estate-Auction Company?


It is possible to hold an estate auction all by yourself. However, there are times when you should hire an estate auction company. One of the top reasons for this is:

  • Each estate is valued differently: All estates differ in terms of value. A good estate auction company will have the necessary expertise to provide a proper valuation of the estate’s items.
  • Convenience: Other than their vast experience in selling estates, estate auction companies are familiar with all the steps required for an auction.
  • It’s easier to reach buyers: By doing an auction with an estate auction company, it will be much easier to reach your intended audience, as they will handle the marketing and preparations to make a sale


How Do Estate Auctions Price Their Items?

An estate auction prices items through the use of professional appraisers, who will determine an approximate value for an item based on a number of factors. The factors that appraisers use to price items in an estate auction are: 

  • Condition: items in good condition typically sell for more than items in worse condition. 
  • Demand: items in high demand will typically sell for a higher value than those with lower demand. 
  • Rarity: Items that are rare tend to have a higher valuation compared to those of lesser rarity.
  • Age: Some older items can sell for a much higher price than their modern contemporaries. Examples of these can include furniture, instruments, and works of art.


Benefits of Holding an Estate Auction?


How Do I Auction Off My Estate?


Estate auctions work just like any other kind of auction. Items are cataloged, priced, and then sold for the highest bid. While an estate sale is just as good at selling off former belongings, a good reason to perform an estate auction rather than an estate sale is:

  • Estate auctions target buyers who are looking to buy a specific thing.
  • Estate auctions are typically held for a single day.
  • Auctions usually have a high sale-through rate, and many things are sold off quickly.
  • The bidding process and public attendance ensures a fair market value is met.
  • There is no limit to the selling price.


What To Consider Before Organizing Estate Auction


How Do Estate Auctions Work?


Estate auctions are a popular way to make money off your old valuables while you are in the process of packing up and moving out. Companies specializing in this field can also be hired, but choosing them may be a bit challenging. iStuffSellers understands this, and have compiled a few points to consider while looking for an estate clean-out service:

  • Does the company have proof of insurance?
  • Does the company have any references from previous clients?
  • How does the company handle financial transactions and sales taxes?
  • When is the company holding their next estate auction?

The hallmarks of a good estate auction company combine professionalism, transparency, experience in organizing and selling off an estate’s items, and good rapport with previous clients.

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