What Are Estate Auctions and How Do They Work?

When a loved one dies, it is a challenging and emotional time. There are funeral arrangements to make and family to notify on top of going through the grieving process. Often, the deceased friend or family member leaves behind a large number of belongings and personal matters that need to be dealt with, but the thought of doing so is too overwhelming.

Individuals who find themselves in this situation can hire a professional who deals with estate sales to handle the sale of their loved one’s belongings. These professionals will arrange either an estate sale or an estate auction. 

Estate Sale Vs. Estate Auction

There are critical differences between an estate sale and estate auction of which one should be aware. While both serve the purpose of selling the belongings of a deceased loved one, the way they are handled is very different.

Estate Sale

An estate sale operates similarly to a tag or garage sale. Each item is priced according to its worth and sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. Those managing the sale may advertise the items online so that potential shoppers can browse the items available before the day or days of the sale. However, they do not sell the items online. Shoppers must attend the sale in person to purchase anything. 

Each day that an item goes unsold, estate sale managers reduce the price until as many things are sold as possible. Unfortunately, not everything sells at an estate sale, so a person may end up with more items to deal with after the sale is over. 

Estate Auction

An estate auction prices their items using a different method. Rather than the sale manager determining the price of each item, the prices of things are determined by bidders. Before the opening of the auction, shoppers can browse the items available to decide how much they would like to offer. 

There are several benefits to choosing to sell items through an estate auction rather than an estate sale. Everyone has an equal opportunity to purchase items, so they can make a claim on anything at the auction rather than missing out on items if they are not the first person to arrive. If shoppers are not allowed to enter early to preview items, they are provided with a catalog with the details of each item available so that they can make their selections.

Additionally, bidders are allowed to submit absentee bids if they are unable to attend the event. Typically, the bidder informs an auction staff member of their bid. In some instances, the auctioneer requests a check be made out for the item ahead of time with the amount the bidder is willing to pay written on it. If they are outbid, the check is destroyed.

One of the most significant differences between an estate auction and an estate sale is licensing. An estate sale is entirely unregulated and can be operated in whatever manner the managers decide to it. However, auctioneers in NC are required to have a license. They are also required to provide their address and phone number so that attendees have the means to resolve complaints about the auction. 

Finally, most estate auctions can get rid of all of the sale items. Estate sales, on the other hand, usually end with a lot of things leftover. 

How an Estate Auction Works

While estate auctions are often handled by a professional, individuals must know the process. Below is an overview of how the steps in planning an estate auction. 

1.) Initial Consultation

A potential seller and their chosen auction firm schedule a consultation to discuss the seller’s needs. Here, the seller can ask any questions they may have about the process.

2.) Pre-Auction

The pre-auction tasks include marketing the auction, cataloging the items, and making arrangements for potential buyers. Typically this involves accommodating an established list of existing buyers and advertising to new ones.

3.) The Auction

On auction day, prospective buyers can bid on available items. Additionally, there is an opportunity for an online auction. Online auctions allow bidders from a much wider geographical area to participate in the auction, ensuring that all items are sold. Typically these auctions last up to fourteen days, which gives ample time for anyone interested to make a bid.

Whether it is a death in the family, divorce, or a significant move, managing a large number of personal belongings can be a stressful and tedious venture. Professional auction companies like Carolina Auction & Realty can help individuals accomplish this task quickly, giving them peace of mind and allowing them to get on with the rest of their lives. Call for more information on planning an estate auction.