In this article, we will cover some of the things to be aware of when selling at auction.
We have many auctions here in the Atlanta area, ranging from small weekly auctions selling everything from yard sale quality merchandise up to large formal auctions selling items up to $100,000 plus.
If you have items you would like to sell at auction, be aware of the following:
- The auction house will charge you a percentage of the selling price, called the “commission”. It can range from 10% to as high as 25%.
- Most auction houses will allow you to place a “reserve” on your items. This is the price below which the auction house will not sell your item. Be aware that some auction houses will charge you a commission on items which do not meet the reserve. Be sure to discuss this with the auction house in advance.
- If you have a number of low value items, the auction house may put several related, and sometimes unrelated, items together in what is referred to as a lot (or box lot). This is done when the items would not sell on their own or for so little that it would not be beneficial to do so.
- The auction must provide you with a consignment form showing the items you have consigned for sell.
- After the auction, you should receive payment from the auction house with a settlement sheet showing items sold. The time it takes to receive your payment may vary from the same night to up to a few weeks. Discuss this with the auction house before consigning your items to them.
- When you think you have decided which auction house to use, attend a few of their auctions to see the prices they get for similar items. You can ask them what they think you would get for your items, but it is an auction and there are no guarantees.
- If you consign your items to an auction house that advertises their auction as an “absolute” auction, be aware you cannot set a reserve prices. “Absolute auction” means there cannot be a reserve, a seller cannot bid on their own merchandise, and the item must sell for whatever price it brings, regardless how much or how little.
- The auctioneer’s first loyalty is to you, their customer, not to the seller. A good auctioneer will work hard to get you (and them) the most money for your items.
I will be covering some of the tricks pulled by less honest auctions in the next article. It is unfortunate, but they occur far too often and I will give you some things to look out for so you don’t get taken, whether you are buying or selling.
You can see all the auctions in the area at auctionzip.com. Contact them for their selling terms. .