What is an Auction and how does it work?

An Auction is where property is sold at a specific time and place to the highest bidder.  Most auctions require a person to get a bidder number or other identifying item prior to bidding.  When an item you want goes up for bid it will usually start low and the auctioneer will raise the bid amount every time someone bids until there are no more bids on that item at which time they will sell the item for the highest bid.

There are many types of auctions.  Some of the most common are Charity, Estate, Liquidation, Consignment, Auto mobile, Antiques, Coins, Storage units, Foreclosures, real estate, and many more.

Why choose an auction over other sales?  There are many reasons but if you look at many of the high record setting prices that people get for property is done at auction, not at an estate tag sale.

A good marketing plan for an auction brings people who are looking for the item being sold and the more people you have at an auction then better chances of getting good prices. When you have two or more people competing for the same item the price usually goes up.

Many Auction companies will sell items live or online. In North Carolina, there are exceptions to the general auction law that you should be aware of. In any of these cases – if you fall in one of these exemptions, then those laws do not apply:

  • Sales at auction conducted by the owner of all of the goods or real estate being offered, or an attorney representing the owner, unless the owner’s regular course of business includes engaging in the sale of goods or real estate by means of auction or unless the owner originally acquired the goods for the purposes of resale at auction;
  • Sales at auction conducted by or under the direction of any public authority;
  • Sales conducted by a receiver, trustee, guardian, administrator or executor or any similarly appointed person under order of any court or any person conducting a sale pursuant to an order of a United States Bankruptcy Court or the agent or attorney of such person, receiver, trustee, guardian, administrator or executor;
  • Any sale required by law to be at auction;
  • Sale of livestock at a public livestock market authorized and regulated by the Commissioner of Agriculture;
  • Leaf tobacco sales conducted in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 106 of the General Statutes;
  • Sale at auction of automobiles conducted under the provisions of G.S. 20-77 , or sale at auction of motor vehicles by a motor vehicle dealer licensed under Article 12, Chapter 20 of the General Statutes;
  • Sale at auction of a particular breed of livestock conducted by an auctioneer who specializes in the sale of that breed when such sale is conducted under the auspices of a livestock trade association;  provided that the sale is regulated by the Packers and Stockyards Act and the auctioneer is required to be bonded by the United States Department of Agriculture;
  • Sales conducted by and on behalf of any charitable or religious organization;
  • Sales conducted by and on behalf of a civic club, not exceeding one sale per year;
  • Sales conducted by a trustee pursuant to a power of sale contained in a deed of trust on real property;
  • Sales of collateral, sales conducted to enforce carriers’ or warehousemen’s liens, sales of goods by a presenting bank following dishonor of a documentary draft, resales of rightfully rejected goods, resales of goods by an aggrieved seller, or other resales conducted pursuant to authority in Articles 2, 4, 7, and 9 of Chapter 25 of the General Statutes (the Uniform Commercial Code).

Auction Marketing and Advertising

  • While there is not a definite timeline as to when an auction needs to be advertised, there is specific requirements for advertising that is required to be used. Such as including a Time and Date as to when it will be sold, who the auctioneer is and their license number.
  • Price Auctions & Estates markets properties to specific buyers of property. Such as: Estate Property is marketed to the general public, Tractors and Vehicles are marketed to specific dealers, Furniture and the like is marketed to new home buyers or furniture companies that re-sell, or perhaps a new family starting out looking for good quality at a reasonable price.
  • Marketing depents on the asset being sold. You would not spend $5,000 of your marketing budget on a 1980’s dining room table, but you may spend that on a 1974 Chevy Corvette Stingray in Mint Condition with the original paint.

What about a National Audience and Newspaper?

  • National Audiences have shown that performing a blast across the nation is cost prohibitive. It can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on where you are attempting to sell.
  • Newspapers are DEAD DEAD DEAD DEAD DEAD! 99% of all of our buyers visit our website here, or GotoAuction.com, where we post our auctions on a regular basis.
  • We market only in our general area – because – shipping a kitchen table that is bought for $25 to Indiana at a price of $500 is not having our buyers best interest in mind.
  • Unless…. It is a one of a kind antique that the buyer requests a million dollars insurance…. You get the idea.
  • We don’t force ads on anyone, but we do have an email list that gets that in your hand on a regular basis.
  • “I didn’t know you were having an auction!” is pretty much the same as saying “I didn’t know you had a yard sale!” while not even bothering to see the signage on the road or checking the Craigslist ads. By the way, Craigslist take down auction listings – so we don’t advertise there, either

Isn’t selling at auction a gamble?

There is always a risk of not getting the price you want or think you should.  But when doing auctions there are a couple of things to remember.

  • Many people have an over inflated view of value. Most often than not, they hit eBay and see the listing for a widget for $1,500 but don’t check the Sold Items side and see that the widget sold for only $2.50.
  • Typically there is not sentimental value at auctions as the people who are there buying usually don’t know whose property is being sold.  Grandma’s pie plate is worth a mint to you, but to some one else it’s worth a buck.
  • They are buying the item because they collect, need or the item for sale is a good deal. Plain and simple, we don’t sell sentiment, and we don’t sell opinion.
  • If we bid on something we bid to what we are willing to pay – not a dime over. If we win – we are expected to pay. PERIOD. No running up the bids.
  • The auctioneer nor anyone else can compel people to bid – federal law prohibits shill bidding, which is a $250,000 fine or 20 years in prison for financial fraud. So if you’re brother is going to get online to bid up the price because he thinks it’s too low – just remember – auctions are always watched.
  • Many items sell very high at auction and others don’t but in the long run the items balance out.
  • When you sell an item at auction if it in good working order, clean, and overall a good quality item you will get a better price. Documentation on items is always a good thing and Antiques with documented history is great but not always necessary.
  • Most Auctioneers have a good idea what most items are worth and you need not be afraid to ask their opinion. Understand, what he or she estimates at the time changes with the market. That changes daily!! What you consider over estimation today is under estimated tomorrow. Estimates are just a ballpark – to be sure, then they need a full appraisal, which in some cases cost $65 to $500 on an item. But do not be surprised when they don’t guarantee the price you want.

Absentee Bids

What if I see an item I am interested in but live a long ways away?

  • This is not uncommon as we live in a technology world and computers make it possible to locate hard to find items. Call the auctioneer and ask him about the item. 
  • For online auctions, we will photograph the items and tell you everything we can about the item.  
  • Most auctioneers will take a good absentee bid or on line bid.  Does this mean you put in a $20.00 dollar bid on a good item?  No, put an honest respectable bid on the item. Our policy is that we will start the bidding at 50% of the absentee bid, and work our way up to your maximum bid. We will not cross that maimum bid line.

How do I choose an Auctioneer?

Ask lots of questions and interview the auctioneer to determine if their answers give you a feeling of confidence or not.  Here are some of the items you should look for:

  • We are licensed in the State of North Carolina, and have a stellar record.
  • We are members of the National Auctioneers Association, the Auctioneers Association of North Carolina. In 2018 the owner of Price Auctions & Estates was the President of the Auctioneers Association of North Carolina.
  • If there are any guns to be sold, we contact a Federal Firearms Dealer to come in and handle the transaction. We call the bid, they handle the background history and transfer.
  • We love “Business Bureaus” – NOT. They are not government agencies and are pay to play scams for an A+. We would rather you look at Angies List.
  • We have an extensive list of companies and individuals we have done work for – Including the Triangle Beagle Rescue, The American Legion, Boy Scouts, as well as multiple Estates in the Area.
  • Auction season starts in March and never ends. We have doll sales, liquidations, you name it. We are out looking at potential auctions 2-3 times a week. Some work out, some we refer our folks to alternate methods to sell the property.

How do I pay for items?

  • We take credit cards, cash and bankable checks, however if the items being purchased are large dollar amount items we require proof of funds from your banking institution.

What is the difference between the various types of auctions?

  • An Estate Auction is where someone has passed away and their items, possessions and property is being sold.
  • A Liquidation Auction is usually where a business is going out of business because of various reasons and they need to sell off their inventory.  Many times these are court ordered because bankruptcy. Some are because Property Managers want to move the equipment out so they can get a new leasee in.
  • Consignment Auction:  Multiple sellers who have large amounts of items to sell but not enough for a single auction.  So the seller consigns the items with the auctioneer for a designated auction date along with other sellers who are also consigning items.
  • Absolute Auction: Where all items will be sold regardless of price to the highest bidder.
  • Reserve Auction: Where items will or will not be sold if and only if it matches the reasonable minumum placed on the item. At Price Auctions and Estates, it has been our experience that no items sell at a Reserve auction – and the sellers are still on the hook for the costs.

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