Estate Sale or Estate Auction, What’s Best?

Trying to figure out what makes more sense an estate sale or an estate auction? This article will answer that very question.

Are you trying to figure out whether an estate sale or estate auction might be the best way to handle your project? Are you wondering how much money will you make? Are you contemplating trying to host your own estate sale? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions than you’re in the right place. This article will help you decide which route is the best fit for your particular project.

Here at Prestige Estate Services we answer these exact questions everyday. As the leading experts in personal property liquidation, we are considered to be the “source” or the place to go or call when clients need to sell the contents of an estate, a partial estate, a business or a few highly valued items. Prestige Estate Services can help you identify whether an onsite estate sale or an auction is the best fit for your project. No matter which direction we advise, we can help you either way.

For the vast majority of our clients, an on-site estate sale is the most comprehensive and profitable option to liquidating property. Through an on-site estate sale we’re going to be able to sell upwards of 95% of the estate contents.
In an auction, this is an appropriate venue for only about 40% of the contents.
What happened to the remaining 60%!? It wasn’t included in the auction. Why not? Well the auctioneer can’t spend time auctioning off the $1.00 bottle of window cleaner and the $3.00 basket of cookie cutters and the $2.00 knife in the kitchen. Through an estate sale, we can sell 100’s or 1000’s of items and if you add all of these items up and you can see why that 60% is important.

With an auction liquidation, the entire estate didn’t sell because the entire estate wasn’t for sale! Most and when I say most, I mean 95% of auction companies will not come out to your estate and auction off all the items. They will “Cherry Pick” your estate. Cherry picking is when an auction company offers to sell a select number of items at a seemingly higher price than what you could receive at an estate sale. Typically auctions have an advantage in that the price can fluctuate past fair market price if the demand is high and the item is bid-up. However, this offer is only limited to the high value items in your estate. They will not help liquidate the stuff and as we mentioned before, this stuff has real value. Here at Prestige Estate Services, we have such a lengthy list of buyers and collectors that we can often realize sold prices exceeding hammer prices at an estate auction.

REMEMBER THIS: Typically in a full estate, the “stuff” that isn’t “worth it” that “won’t ever sell” as described by auction companies, typically sells for thousands of dollars and adds a great deal of value to the estate!

WARNING! Do not piece out your estate. When companies are allowed to “Cherry Pick” your estate it absolutely ruins the value of the estate. After they take all the good items you’re stuck with less valuable “stuff” and no way to deal with it. When your proverbial cherry tree has been picked and you are left with a lot of leaves, stems and branches that have little value. Our buyers come to the sale to buy the cherries, but when they are there, they also buy a few leaves and branches. These kinds of lower priced items “leaves and branches” can really add value to your sale!

OUR POINT: Don’t get CHERRY PICKED! Save the good stuff to be included in your sale. It will help you make more money in the long run. I always tell people “We don’t just sell junk. We sell the items people want and the junk sells along with it.” That is the number one advantage to having an estate sale over an estate auction.

Remember, we can and will, hold an auction for your estate but more often than not that is not the most optimal or profitable solution for an estate that needs to be liquidated.

When might an auction be the best option? If you were just selling a custom, perfectly restored, 1954 Ford Pick-up truck or you have an estate with the average item being listed at or above $5,000.00 then considering an auction might be the right approach and we can help you with that.

Let’s talk facts:

1. An estate sale is the way to 98% of the time. Most estates do not consist of average prices of $5,000.00 per item. (Don’t get me wrong, many estates have several items worth 5,000.00 per item. But this isn’t the average of all of the items in the estate and that’s okay.)

2. Even the small stuff has value. Selling 100’s and 1000’s of items for .50 to a few dollars can really add up. Sure these bigger ticket items have great value but it’s all of these .50 and dollar items that add up to be thousands of dollars in sale profits along with the sale of the more valuable items in a home like cars, jewelry, antique and collectible pieces etc.

3. Estate Sales liquidate the majority of a home’s content. Combining the high value, big ticket items along with the large quantity of smaller valued items and mix in huge crowd’s that Prestige Estate Services can draw and our client’s will sell 90% to 95% of the personal property within an estate. Remember, this is 50-60% more content than you can typical liquidate through an auction.

4. Don’t get “Cherry Picked!”: The nicer, bigger ticket or higher valued items are key to drawing the crowds and ultimately helping to sell the smaller valued items. Don’t get “cherry picked” OR try to sell these select few high valued items by yourself. The amount of profit you could potentially realize on your own won’t make up for the potential monies you will lose because the estate sale has been cherry picked by you. If those higher value items are removed your estate sale potentially won’t draw the crowds or worst case, no company can take the sale because all you have is “stuff” and there isn’t enough value in the estate to justify the staff, labor and time it takes to put on a live estate sale.

5. REMEMBER THIS QUOTE? “We don’t just sell junk. We sell the items people want and the junk sells along with it.” If your sale doesn’t include the items people are excited about, then your sale just has the “stuff”. By all means hang on to the stuff you love. Just understand it will affect the estate sale in one form or another. You would be shocked to know how many people will show up to these sales when there is collectible and quality items.

We get calls sometimes where families or individuals have sold off the good stuff or tried to run their own estate sale, and then call us, because they have so much stuff to still get rid of because they do not have the resources to move large quantities of items and at top dollar prices. If I had a hundred dollar bill for every one of these calls I would have retired long ago. Don’t be one of these people trying to run their own estate sale. There is a reason we offer this service and there is a reason this takes so much knowledge. Can you do your own valuations and ensure you’re not missing something more rare or valuable and try to sell the items yourself? Maybe, but will you draw and advertise to thousands of qualified buyers? Probably not. Do you have the multiple buyers for specific genres, collections and niches before the sale opens? It has taken us years to develop our database of dealer, collectors, designers and end users. This list helps to ensure we’re getting maximum profit from each sale. I’m sure you have heard this before, but don’t try to this at home. Let the professionals take care of you and show you the money!

At Prestige Estate Services, we can help you decide what is best solution for your project. Remember, there is no clear-cut, blanket answer for every estate. It takes years of experience and know-how to create successful event after successful event. We will help you get the job done no matter how, when or what the circumstances might be.

Call Prestige Estate Services today at 804-977-2723 to discuss your project!