A few people have asked me how I find out about estate sales and auctions. Besides checking the papers my husband uses Auction Zip and Estate Sales NET. Both sites allow you to either use a map or put in your zip code to look for sales in your area. You can pick the radius out from you zip code that you are willing to travel! In my area you don’t see many true estate sales, instead you see estate auctions. Auctions can be a great way to score furniture, tools, accessories, collectibles, you name it! I’ve tried both online and brick and mortar auctions and I think they are both great BUT you definitely have to be willing to spend an entire morning or longer if you’re going to stick it out for an entire “live” auction. For that reason I absolutely love online auctions because you can track the prices on your own time, up until closing. Last week I bid in an online and in person auction and here’s what I scored!!
|Enamel Coffee Pot|
|Economy Round Silos Booklet (I bid on this piece to frame and hang in our bedroom!)|
|Set of Two Washington Colonial Plates|
|Period Picture Bowl|
|Period Picture Plate|
|Pair of Milk Glass Lamps|
I’m going to finish up today by giving you a few of my auction tips!!
1. If you are planning on selling a piece make sure that you leave room to mark it up and make a decent profit. You have to take into account that you are spending time either at an auction or online sifting through pieces and checking the bidding progress.
2. When going to a live auction wear comfortable shoes because you will most likely be standing the majority of the time.
3. Pack a snack or lunch in the car. Auctions can take quite a few hours. I heard an 11 or so year old boy lamenting about how long they actually are/seem this weekend!
4. Don’t be shy! If you want to bid speak up or you might miss out! This happened to me this weekend as I was trying to raise my number he closed the bidding. I should have just shouted out! Sometimes they can’t see your number even if you are raising it and might declare it sold. In which case, you are out of luck.
5. If you want something to keep for yourself keep bidding until you get it (within your budget). There are a LOT of resellers at auctions and they are not going to bid on something past the point of making a profit. If you happen to be bidding against someone else who “wants it for themselves” then you need to set a limit in your mind of what the item is worth to you and how much money you are willing to spend.
6. Look over items before bidding. Even if you already browsed earlier, you may have missed a defect or repair, or the item may have been damaged in the course of the auction!
7. Be prepared to spend money! While you may get the occasional practically free item (typically because no one bids or people pull out early) that is not very typical. Don’t get me wrong, almost everything sells for a “good deal” but you have to take into account the value of the item. An antiques dresser in good condition is most likely NOT going to sell for 15 bucks. Try more like $75-$200 depending on wood type, age, quality, condition, uniqueness, etc. This may still seem high, but not really when you take into account the market value of the item! Got it?
8. Know the terms of the auction. Some auction companies have a buyers premium. This means on top of tax they tack on a certain percentage as a direct cut for themselves. For a few bucks item this isn’t a big deal but if you buy something for $100 with a 10% buyers premium you will need to tack on an extra $10.00 to your bill. The more you spend- the more money you’ll have to fork over for the buyer’s premium. Also, some auction companies require cash, or cash and check only, so make sure you know what forms of payment the accept, and have it with you!
9. If at all possible don’t bring your kids. I’ve learned this from experience! They are miserable, you are miserable, it is impossible to focus, people get irritated with you, and if you happen to be saddled with carrying or holding one of them be prepared to need a heat pack for the next week! :0
Besides all that, have fun and bring home some treasures!
If you have any tips I missed, feel free to share!!