Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Looking Back

February 28, 2014 was the day that I set up a tent on the Coosa River and started an adventure that changed my (and my family's) life forever.  #AuctionAlex had not been born yet, but the seeds were planted that day.  The day before, I had cleaned out my office at Georgia Southern University and auction school was on the horizon.  (I blogged the adventure HERE)  To say that I have learned a lot over the last four years is an understatement.  Four things in particular immediately come to mind.

Competition is not a bad thing.
I think that competition, particularly in business, is something that most folks naturally fear.  I was that way when I began.  How will I be viewed by other auctioneers in my area?  How will they treat me?  What will they say about me?  What I came to learn is that competition raises the bar for all of us.  It keeps everyone honest and hard-working.  In reality, there is enough work for all of us.  There are sometimes that we overlap, but generally everyone has a niche.  There are even opportunities to work together.  We refer to each other.  We bid with each other.  We help each other identify things.  When we pitch for business we sometimes go against each other without even knowing it.  That's okay.  It makes us all better.  I appreciate those folks and I believe that they appreciate me too.

Trade time for money or money for time.
It's a mantra for those who are self employed or have strange hours.  If you need money, you trade time to stack cash.  If you need time, you sacrifice money.  This has probably been the hardest transition for me.  I got well accustomed to that paycheck being deposited in my account at the end of each month!  I do have amazing flexibility now though.  If I want to plan a camping trip with my boys and their Scout groups, I can now schedule auctions around the trip instead of scheduling trips around work.  However..... I've sometimes had to do the opposite because the opportunity was too good.  The biggest difference is that now I have the option.  That's priceless.  Profitably managing that paradox is one of the things that I'll be working on in 2018.

Auctions Work!
I've written extensively about the merits of the auction method.  You can see that HERE.  In my part of the country the auction method is still sometimes viewed as the method of last resort.  But....... that's changing.  With every land auction that exceeds expectations, every estate auction that pops stellar results and every business liquidation that sometimes yields near retail prices, people are noticing.  When done properly by an honest auction professional, it works.  Every time.

People are generally good.
Despite what we see daily on TV and online, most folks are good people just trying to do the same things.  They work, earn money, take care of their families and enjoy their communities.  That doesn't make the news.  I've encountered legions of people in every part of my career, but in the auction business most everyone seems happy.  Sellers, but almost always bidders.  People like to bid!  It's fun!  Benefit auctions are many times my favorite events.  People like to give.  I believe God wired us that way.  The excitement when a generous bidder "overpays" for an item at a charity auction is exhilarating for both the audience, bidder and the bid caller alike.  Don't believe me?  Try it sometime.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the sellers and bidders who have done business with me over the last four years.  It's also owed to the "teachers" who educated me about the business and life in general.  I know nearly every one by name.  They are ultimately the people who helped me succeed in the auction business.  They allowed me to feed my family, buy new baseball cleats and pay for scouting events.

I'm excited to see what the next four years hold.  If they're anything like the first four, I'm in for an amazing ride!

Alex Grovenstein
GA Auctioneer License #4105
SC Auctioneer License #4534
GA Real Estate License #366186

Serving Statesboro, Savannah, and all areas of southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina with open, honest and efficient auction solutions.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Macon Georgia Mega Estate

Property rights are still generally respected, especially in the south.  You don't just walk up on someone's place and start plundering. Because of that, amazing collections still exist, often tucked away and relatively undiscovered.  That's what we have in our current auction, The Coulter Estate in Macon, GA.

Mr. Jack Coulter built a collection that is nothing short of amazing.  Spread between a hand-built cabin, an old chicken barn and an old gas station, the antiques and artifacts packed in were an amount that I had never seen in an estate situation.  Most of the time we come across estates that are 70% less desirable items.  Mr. Coulter, however, had a great eye with the majority of his items being things for which bidders will have great interest.  We closed out the first half of the auction last month with excited buyers and very good results.  I expect that round two will be equally as exciting.

An estate situation, I am working for Mr. Coulter's heirs with this auction.  The volume was intimidating to them.  I was happy to step in with a solution.  That's of course how I feed my family, but it has also been a privilege to honor his memory.  The placement of certain items and the manner by which things were displayed showed me quickly the things that were special to him.  Those things were not always the most valuable, but it was a neat experience to look at something and wonder about the history of it and think about the stories that he may have told his friends.

From copious amounts of points (arrowheads) and quality signs to furniture, knives and other antiques, this auction has been a joy to prepare.  The work was tremendous, but when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.  I believe Mr. Coulter enjoyed collecting just as much as I enjoy selling at auction.

If you like antiques, advertising, or just generally cool items, check out The Coulter Estate in Macon and share the catalog with others.  Its one that you won't soon forget, I assure you!

Alex Grovenstein
GA Auctioneer License #4105
SC Auctioneer License #4534
GA Real Estate License #366186

Serving Statesboro, Savannah, and all areas of southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina with open, honest and efficient auction solutions.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Statesboro Auction

Our current auction was built and will be staged out of Statesboro, GA.  It includes a variety of items from furniture and coins to sports memorabilia and a Lexus.  Check it out HERE and place a few bids!  This auction is a great example of what we do on a regular basis.

Any auction in Statesboro is special to me, but to be honest this one probably isn't really all that special to anyone else.  Bulloch County is home for me and I relish the opportunity to serve a seller at home.  This particular auction is a hodgepodge.  (I'll pause while you Google that...)  It includes items from the estate of a lifelong Bulloch County resident, items from a family moving to Greenville, items from an older couple downsizing and moving to Statesboro, and several other items from regular sellers who know first-hand about the quality results that we get at auction.  All have local ties.

I've written before that we are basically problem solvers.  I also wrote on the merits of the auction method.  This particular auction provides an opportunity to serve in both capacities and to do it locally!

I look forward to the next industrial liquidation in Savannah, regional real estate auctions that are on the books, and I'm excited about an upcoming opportunity to liquidate restaurant equipment in Augusta.  Those auctions are important and I enjoy those challenges, but there's something about helping local people with local values that screams Americana.

Alex Grovenstein
GA Auctioneer License #4105
SC Auctioneer License #4534
GA Real Estate License #366186


Serving Statesboro, Savannah, and all areas of southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina with open, honest and efficient auction solutions.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Estate Auctions - What you need to know as a seller

Estate auctions happen daily.  Most people are familiar with them and many have purchased from them.  However, when you are on the selling side rather than the buying side, it is a much much different experience.  It's an emotionally taxing task for those in charge.  As I have written before, auctioneers are basically problem solvers.  Estates are an area in which the auction method can really benefit executors and heirs alike.

First and foremost, you should demand an auctioneer who will serve the needs of the estate with dignity, respect and humility.  While there is great benefit in having someone come in with no emotional attachment, respecting the consignor(s) grief process is VERY important.

An estate auction, properly promoted by a professional auctioneer, will yield clear benefits to heirs.  Let's examine several that I think are important:
  • Estate auctions are honest, efficient and transparent.
    • Anyone can openly bid, the price works upward and everything is done in a generally short period of time.  Records are kept with reports provided to the estate so that everyone understands what sold and for what amount.
  • Estate auctions take a burden off of the executor and heirs
    • During an already mentally exhausting time, an auction can relieve a major burden from executors and heirs.  Choosing a trustworthy auctioneer who can handle things for the executor can be a genuine relief.  In fact, most auctioneers can provide a complete solution.  Read on for more related to that.....
  • Estate auctions maximize price realized for the heirs
  • Estate auctions can liquidate everything if the executor/heirs wish
    • Not only will an estate auction take away burden and maximize the price on desirable items, it can also divest heirs of the less desirable assets as well.  This is a major difference as compared to estate sale events which could leave heirs figuring out what to do with unsold items.  In an auction setting, the less desirable assets may be grouped until someone "bites" ......again, setting the market price for that asset.  This is key if the estate needs to empty a property to create marketable real estate.  Speaking of which.....
  • Estate auctions can include real estate in addition to personal property
    • Perhaps the estate includes personal property and real estate.  Most auctioneers who offer real estate sell at auction and in traditional listing environments as well.  All situations and property are different, so either method could be appropriate.  This is another example in which an estate auction could be complete and turn-key for an executor.
  • Estate auctions can give executors and heirs a method to efficiently divide assets
    • Finally, an estate auction can actually provide executors and heirs with a method to equitably divide an estate.  At auction heirs compete and bid for items that they want.  The money that they spend would then, in turn, make its way back to them in their portion of the estate settlement.  Disagreements among heirs are unfortunate and sometimes nefarious.  As I mentioned in point one an auction is an honest, efficient and transparent solution and it could prevent that kind of situation.
Finally, it is important to note that many times estates are sold by the owner while he/she is alive and well!  I contend that the same information applies.  Simply replace the word heir with owner.  If you have any questions about estate auctions, or the auction method in general, feel free to contact me.  I'd be very happy to help you better understand the process.  Thanks for reading!

Alex Grovenstein
GA Auctioneer License #4105
SC Auctioneer License #4534
GA Real Estate License #366186


Serving Statesboro, Savannah, and all areas of southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina with open, honest and efficient auction solutions.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Why Auction?

Why auction?  I get that question a lot.  First we must understand the objective.  Generally speaking, auctioneers are problem solvers.  What problem are we trying to solve and what are we trying to sell?

Sale of a common asset.  When dealing with common assets, the general goal is to divest the owner of the item(s) as quickly as possible.  Price for these types of assets can sometimes be lower than the seller expects, but when promoted properly by a professional auctioneer, they will achieve market value.  In fact, they have the potential to bring more than expected and sometimes do!  Things falling into this type category might be furniture, equipment, business assets, most mainstream collectibles and estate contents.  Common or distressed real estate also fits into this category.

Sale of a unique asset.  Unique assets benefit greatly from the auction format as interested bidders are very motivated to compete for something that they might not otherwise have access to.  There is a reason that Shelby Cobras and precious gemstones are commonly sold at auction.  They must still be promoted properly and professionally, but this scenario is the same as above.  Market value will be reached.  Things falling into this category might include rare coins, collector cars, highly desirable real estate, rare antiques or even intellectual property.

In either scenario, the process is honest, efficient and transparent.  Additionally, both situations benefit from competition between interested buyers.  One is about sheer liquidation, but both will yield market value.

The best example I ever read came from champion auctioneer, and all around auction rock star, Renee Jones as she recounted a phone call with a potential client.  It went something like this:

Caller: We are looking at your company and another group to handle our Mom's estate. What makes you different? 

Renee: Well, thanks for asking! While I can take up a tremendous amount of your time let me provide you with what I believe is most important for you to consider when making such an important decision. 

1. Public auctions allow for competitive bidding in real time. It is an equal playing field for all customers - not first come first serve and we sell EVERYTHING in a very short period of time. 
2. We are licensed and regulated by the state. 
3. We are insured and do not use temp labor for our auction events. 
4. We do not purchase assets at our auctions for personal use or to "flip" for profit. 
5. I can provide you with positive references from clients all over our region.
6. We charge a competitive commission, no up front costs, and handle all transactions - credit card, wire transfer, checks and accept the risk associated with them. 
7. We collect sales tax and follow the law to the letter. 
8. We have appraisers on staff and catalog writers who are experts in what they do. 
9. We have real estate agents in our firm who can handle the real property transactions as well. 
10. And above all else - We want your business and will provide you with professional service beyond reproach. Now, ask me anything you would like so I can help you make the best decision...

Caller: Renee, can you meet us in the morning to sign a contract? 

Renee: Absolutely.

I would be happy to talk with you further about how the auction method of marketing can yield results for you.  Whether you are an attorney, banker, trustee, executor, real estate agent, or just a regular guy like me, I likely have a solution for your situation.  Feel free to reach out any time!

Alex Grovenstein
GA Auctioneer License #4105
SC Auctioneer License #4534
GA Real Estate License #366186

Serving Statesboro, Savannah, and all areas of southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina with open, honest and efficient auction solutions.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Vintage tractors and 200 farm toys to be sold at auction April 13-23

A collection of five vintage tractors and over 200 farm toys, known as the Southeast Georgia Collection, will be sold at auction April 13-23.  The name for the auction arose because of the rarity of such a large collection of this type in the southeastern United States.

"It is quite a treat to find a farm toy collection of this size in Georgia," said auctioneer Alex Grovenstein.  "They are a little more common in the midwest and other parts of the country, but not really in Southeast Georgia."

The collection consists of nearly every brand imaginable from John Deere and Ford to Case, International and Massey Ferguson.  You will even find White, Gleaner and Co-op.  Most of the toys are 1/16 scale models by Ertl, but there are others including Spec Cast and Tru Scale.  The collection also includes several special edition tractors that were only available at toy shows.  Perhaps two of the most sought after items in the auction are two very large 1/8 scale tractors, a John Deere A and Ford 8N, autographed by Joseph Ertl.

Toys are not the only items in this collection.  The auction will also include five real vintage tractors as well.  Need a grader?  Bidders will have the chance to compete for a rare Allis Chalmers WC Speed Patrol.  Also included is what Grovenstein calls one of the finest original examples of a vintage tractor that he has ever seen.

"We are proud to offer a nearly all original John Deere 430.  It is such a wonderful tractor that screams 'agricultural heritage' because it's almost as it it came from a time capsule."

Bidding on the Southeast Georgia Collection will end beginning at 7:00 PM EST on Sunday, April 23.  Nationwide shipping is offered on all toys.  To view the entire catalog and register to bid, visit South Auction and Realty online.

#AuctionAlex  #NAAPro  #AuctionsWork

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Auctioneers Helping Auctioneers. AHA!

The peer support level among professional auctioneers is a relationship unrivaled in any other field.  It instantly creates a worldwide network that allows an opportunity to serve clients at a high level and also legitimizes the trade.  I've spent the past week on the campus of Indiana University interacting with fellow auctioneers during my second year of the three-year program, of the National Auctioneer's Association, known as the Certified Auctioneer's Institute.

We heard from some absolute giants in the auction industry.  I was also able to interact with and watch some other dynamos who just happened to be in my class.  An association president, a firefighter, successful ladies, and a legit war hero just to name a few.  It was both encouraging and humbling at the same time.  I learned something from each of them.  I learned things that challenged me and others that edified me.  I was reminded to take care of myself so that I can in turn take care of others.  Perhaps it's time for a checkup with a physician..... which would be my first visit since 1998...

The key moment for me was a presentation near the end of our time in Bloomington.  Our final speaker was clearly a man of God.  He mentioned it in passing, but his light was burning bright throughout his remarks.  He posed to us a question..... Why do we do what we do?  I enjoy helping people.  Whether that's schlepping tables at a PTO event or orchestrating an auction that solves a problem for a giant manufacturing company, I just like to help.  But why do I like to help?

I've come to learn over the last few years that God has called me to help.  After waiting for years for a supernatural tap on the shoulder with detailed plan, I finally figured out that God just wants me to help other people and do it for his glory.  Its that simple.  So I wrote it down:

"Bring glory and honor to God by helping other people"

How does that relate to business?  I help folks for free all the time, but I'm certain that God wants me to work and get paid.  As I thought about it in class and on the drive south, I came up with some ways that I can (and already do) help people through the auction business.

I help consignors by selling their property in an honest and efficient manner.
I help investors who make their livelihood by buying in hopes of appreciation.
I help re-sellers gain access to items that they sell again to make money for their family.
I help collectors fill gaps in the collections that they love.
I help the landlord of the properties I rent out of which I conduct auctions.
I help my coworkers as we build a successful business

.....and what do you know.  I make money doing that, which helps my family and then allows us to help our Cub Scout Pack, Kiwanis Club, Church and others.

I have a file full of other nuts and bolts to take home and implement, but this exercise will be the one that guides me.  Auctioneers Helping Auctioneers.  It wasn't the one I expected when I drove up to IU, but it was my AHA! moment nonetheless.

#AuctionAlex  #NAAPro  #CAI2