Estate Sales vs. Estate Auctions

Nearly all of us, at one point or another, go through the difficult task of handling the personal property from a loved one’s estate.

It’s an overwhelming time… and we hope it’s something we only have to do once. But because we only do it once, that means selling a loved one’s personal property from their estate is not always something we know how to do.

That means that getting it done properly and respectfully the first time is incredibly important. In most cases, there are 2 popular options available - an estate sale or an estate auction.

And it’s those 2 options that I want to talk about with you today… particularly around 2 important areas.

1.   Time, and

2.   Money

With an estate sale (also sometimes referred to as a tag sale) there is usually a person or company who takes the time to price each individual item, including (if necessary) doing the research to find the value of items.

But even when you do all the work to evaluate and price each item, most buyers who come to the estate sale know the prices are probably cheap and definitely negotiable, so they try to haggle the price down as low as they can.

You never hear of someone going to an estate sale and paying more than the listed price. It’s always haggling DOWN! So, YOU get less money and THEY get better bargains.

And… because an estate sale often happens over a few days (taking up more of your time in the process), it’s common practice to reduce the prices dramatically on unsold items in hopes of incentivizing more buyers on the second or third day. So, again… your results (or the money you recoup from your loved one’s possessions) is significantly impacted.

Not to mention that at the end of the sale, what do you do with the leftover items? Do you load them in your truck and haul them to the dump? Or do you load them all back in the house? All those leftover items at the end of the sale end up costing you even more time and money.

Of course, it’s not all negative.

An estate sale can often bring an extended family together as you work the 2 or 3 days as a group. It can even be cathartic to watch your loved one’s possessions go to another family for continued use.

But, in general, an estate sale costs you and your family an incredible amount of time and never really gets you the result or the income that your loved one’s possessions deserve.

On the other hand, an estate auction is typically handled by an auctioneer or auction company, where items are marketed and sold through competitive bidding.

Because buyers are competing for the items they are bidding on, the bidders are establishing the market value of those items. You don’t have to worry about all that time it takes to properly price an item OR the anxiety and workload that comes from all that research and investigation.

And remember how at an estate sale the prices only go down? Well, at an estate auction they only go up! That’s what competitive bidding does! So, in terms of the final sale price you can get from selling your loved one’s possessions, the results are barely even comparable.

With an auction company, you can even market and sell your loved one’s possessions through an online estate auction where buyers don’t have to show up on a given day at a specific time to buy what they are interested in.

Buyers can bid and buy from the convenience of their home, office, or mobile device, anytime during the auction period. That means more buyers and stronger competition for your items.

What that means for you…?

More competition for every item means higher prices for each of the items being sold in the estate. More money… less time!

And when you hire a professional estate auction company, all of the marketing (and all of the time that goes into it) is taken care of for you. No more need for posting Craigslist ads or Facebook Marketplace.

Instead, the auction and items are marketed to retail buyers who are not looking for estate sales, but rather are looking for specific items being sold in the estate. Having the right buyers ensures there is strong competition for the items being sold.

And remember… strong competition means better results for you!

So, while estate sales can have a few perks, they generally waste a lot of your time and produce significantly less results. An estate auction on the other hand, is far more efficient, far less work, and generates much better results for you and your family.

If you have the unfortunate and overwhelming responsibility of settling a loved one’s estate and would benefit from guidance through the difficult process in a step-by-step manner, let us help make this difficult task easier by calling us today at 816.361.2600.


Other Types Of Auctions And Services

To learn more about selling business assets, please check out our Business Liquidation Page. If you need help selling real estate, please check out our Real Estate Auction Page. If you would like to learn more about how an online auction works, visit our Online Auction FAQ Page.