Auctions: A Plus or a Minus?

Are Auctions a Plus or a Minus?

EstateAuction-MovingForwardIncTo auction or not to auction, that is the question…

You or your loved one is downsizing or maybe just plain moving. There are a lot of things left in the home that you are not taking, but you are sure they are worth some money.  The best way to liquidate the items left in a house is through an estate sale, where you can expect to receive between 35% and 70% of market value.   But an estate sale might not be possible if there isn’t enough time.

Taking your items to an auction house is another option to consider, especially if the items are fairly easy to transport.  Art, antiques, silver, dishware, fine and costume jewelry are all items that typically sell well via auctions.

But auctions have risk.

A Deco bedroom set might be worth a sizable sum, but it could sell for less if the right collectors aren’t present at that auction.  In general, you can expect to receive between 5% and 35% of market value for items you sell at auction.

ItemsforAuction-MovingForwardIncIt is even possible to lose money.  Let’s consider an example where a dining room set sells for $350.  If the auction house keeps 50% for their fee, they would pay you $175.  But if it cost you $200 to move the furniture to the auctioneer’s warehouse, you would lose $25 overall.

Seattle Auction Houses…

In the Seattle area, most auction houses will send a representative to your house for free to look over what you have to sell.  They will tell you whether it is worth sending it to auction or whether it would be better to just donate it and take the tax write off.

Have you had an experiences with an auction?  How did that go?

***originally published 10/3/2010


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