FAQs about Online Auctions (Sales) and How To Bid
An Online Auction is a “virtual” sale where items are auctioned nationwide to bidders online, much like eBay. Our online auctions are hosted on an auction platform called estatesales.org. When you click on our current sales, you will be taken to that site where you will register to bid.
*It is extremely important to read the terms and conditions of each online auction prior to bidding as each sale is different. This includes preview days, pick up days, shipping policies and more.
How an Auction Works
Items for sale are sold to the highest bidder. Usually, items have a “starting bid” price where the bidding would start. For example, let’s say you are selling a couch and start the bidding at $10, then $10 would be the “starting bid” price. The bidding would then go up in set increments. For example, the next bidder would bid $15 if the bid increments were set at $5. When the auction ends for that lot, the person with the highest bid wins the lot.
Small items that are similar are “lotted” together and sold as one “lot”. This helps to be sure each lot is worth more than the starting bid price. Typically all items get at least one bid so very minimal is left at the end of the auction.
Online VS. Live Auction
In both types of auctions, the highest bidder wins the lot. The biggest difference is that the online auction is conducted on a website where people can bid from anywhere in the country and bidders for the live auction are those who show up to the auction in person or call in a bid by phone.
Getting Paid – Online Auction
At auction close, the winning bid is considered the “hammer price”. The winner will also pay a buyer’s premium of typically 15 to 25% of the hammer price to offset auction fees. Once the auction closes, the auction company will send an invoice to all winning bidders. They are required to pay for their items online within 24 hours. They will then be able to pick up the item they won from the estate or have it shipped to them if that is an option that is offered.
After the Online Auction
Typically all items will get at least one bid so there isn’t anything left at the end. Sometimes someone may bid on the items but neglect to pick it up. If the item isn’t picked up within the allotted time, then the person loses the ownership of it and all the monies that have been paid. The auction company will normally gain ownership of unsold items if they are required to empty the property by a certain date. This gives them the flexibility to dispose or donate the items as they see fit. Tax donations forms are typically given to the seller if anything is donated.