Estate Sales, Online Auctions, Auctions, What Works For You!

Estate sales, online auctions and auctions are now in the national spotlight in print and on the internet.

Liquidations have become big business and which way you choose to sell your contents is now presenting sellers with decisions as to what will best work for their needs.

Many sellers with entire house contents choose an estate sale. The contents to be sold remain on site, with sorting, staging, pricing and selling all done within the home. Items have specific prices at the start of the sale and you have the ability to personally examine the items. The dates of the estate sale are fixed and hours set. Estate Sale companies advertise the estate sales with photos and the description on national estate sale advertising websites. The sale takes place within a two to four day time frame. It is usually impossible to live in the property once the set-up of the estate sale has started. As sales are made the articles are removed from the home. At the conclusion of the sale the commission or fee charged by the estate sale company will be deducted from the gross proceeds and you will receive the net amount from the sales within one to two weeks usually. Each estate sale company has their own payout time frame.


An online auction is conducted via the internet. They don’t usually contain the entire contents of a home. Most online auctions are suited for a limited number of items. They are removed from the property, photographed, posted online and the auction is run for a specific number of days. A decision is made by the seller and the company conducting the auction if any items will have a reserve (a minimum sale price) before the item is put up for sale on the internet. Most companies will charge a commission on the gross sales and pay you the net proceeds when all the contents have either sold or at a specified time (weekly, monthly, etc). They may also charge the buyer a commission or buyers premium. An online auction provides an internet audience and the major estate sale listing websites provide for online auction advertising for the items to be sold. The one major difference from an estate sale is you cannot handle the item. You see photographs and descriptions only.

An auction in most states is conducted by a licensed auctioneer of that state. The contents or items are usually removed from the property to an off site location, although there are still some onsite home contents auctions. Depending on the number of items the auction may be for your contents or the auction may include other sellers contents. Coding and/or numbering the items so they can be tracked during the live auction is crucial. Most auctions today charge a commission from the seller and the buyer. An auction whether on site or off site affords buyers the opportunity to personally inspect the items to be auctioned off. Once again the seller and auctioneer may have some items with reserves.

** It should be noted that a reserve price can be place on items whether they are in an estate sale, online auction, or auction.

The choice is yours for what works for you when it is time to liquidate.