Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Why do items sometimes sell cheap?

The sentiment comes in a variety of forms, but it is always rooted in the same curiosity.

"She got a heck of a deal on that!"
"That sold cheap!"
"He stole that one!"
"Why did that item sell so cheap?"

To answer that question in relation to personal property auctions, we have to examine several factors.  Demand, promotion and competition all play large roles in how an item will perform at auction.

Demand
What is the demand of a particular item?  Some items are more sought after than others.  This is constantly affected by styles, trends and social commentary.  Demand can also be very different in different parts of the country and even within a city.  In my area chalk-painted furniture is in high demand.  A nice original mahogany desk will not generate the same demand as it would if the same desk were painted light green, blue or white.  A decade ago the opposite was true.  In a world of ever changing tastes, understanding demand is important to understanding if something sold "cheap."  Keep in mind too the demand curve.  Pretty much anything will have demand at a certain price.  A worn out dump truck might not be in demand at $10,000, but to someone, it might be at $1,000.

Promotion
Even if you had a warehouse full of gold bars, fine art and vintage Cadillacs, they would still need to be properly and professionally promoted to realize a market price.  If people aren't aware that things are available, they don't know to bid.  Putting a flyer on a telephone pole is not going to yield the exposure needed to fully reach prospective bidders.  If assets are not well promoted, they might sell "cheap."  Good promotion tactics are very advanced and targeted through a variety of channels.

Competition
If items are in demand and properly promoted, bidders will compete to buy them and prices will move upward.  This only happens in the auction format.  It is an inherent advantage over other forms of sale.  Interested parties will bid against each other until only one still perceives value.  Competition arises for a variety of reasons too.  Perhaps a retail business is competing with someone who has sentimental attachment to an asset.  Both will have different points of value for different reasons.  This point also brings up the debate of live versus online auctions.  Well promoted online auctions generally expose items to more potential bidders, theoretically increasing competition.  Without any competition, an item could certainly sell "cheap."  The psychology of competition at auction is actually a great idea for a future blog.  I'll have to revisit that!

If all three are aligned, auction magic happens.  An in-demand item that has been properly promoted to competing bidders will always fetch market prices.  The biggest disconnect in this equation is usually our perception of value.  Our opinion of value might be quite different than someone else..... the other bidder.  Are there variables?  Sure!  Sentimental value, associated expense (if the item must transported modified or repaired) and the risk tolerance of the bidder all can affect hammer prices.

Generally speaking, I contend that items can sell"cheap" at auction if the auctioneer does not promote them and assist in generating competition.  However, when orchestrated properly and professionally auctions show us the market.  Auctions are the market.

I'd love to hear your opinion.

#AuctionAlex  #AuctionsWork  #NAAPro

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Live or Online Auction?


Other than some charity events, it has been a year since I have done a live auction.  That changes this weekend as we will host the 6th Auction at the Fairgrounds in Statesboro, GA - INFO HERE.  Online auctions have been paying the bills and have been very successful.  However, I've missed the interaction with the crowd and I'm very much looking forward to Saturday's auction!

You may wonder....... How does a modern auctioneer decide whether to do an auction live or online?  There are a lot of factors, but it is generally decided based on which method would best suit the needs of the consignor.  Which will yield the seller the most money?  Is there a specific time frame that needs to be met?  Is anonymity needed?  Does the seller have a preference?

Both methods have their laurels and drawbacks.  Online auctions can expand the bidder pool and remove bidder inhibitions.  Live auctions can create moments of excitement and allow the bidder to physically touch the items while bidding.

If I had to choose one, I would comfortably advise that online auctions are the prefered method right now, but that statement is not absolute.  Every auction is different and every seller has different needs.  The modern auctioneer has a responsibility to make sure that his client's needs are met in the most efficient and beneficial way.

Do you need to sell?  I'd be happy to present a proposal addressing your needs.

#AuctionAlex  #AuctionsWork  #NAAPro

Friday, June 10, 2016

Own a Piece of Savannah History

June 13th will be the first day of an online auction where bidders will have the opportunity to own a piece of Savannah history as the fixtures, equipment, decor and memorabilia from Johnny Harris Restaurant will be offered at auction.
VIEW THE AUCTION HERE.

The stories read like that of a vintage southern novel.  The autographed menus hanging on the wall act as a kind of inventory mechanism, denoting the famous patrons from over the years.  The booths still have that private feeling just as they did when the curtains were pulled so that patrons could indulge privately just after the end of prohibition.  The doors of the kitchen show the age associated with wood that has been bumped into by what has to be thousands of different servers, cooks and bus boys.  With all the history, two specific things stuck out to me as I prepared the property for auction.

Did you know that Johnny Harris has a cellar?  Most people do not.  Originally used to store ice, the cellar was once used to store wine as well.  The cellar door spoke to me during auction prep.  It was old, but had been wonderfully preserved down below.  It even has the original hardware on it.  I knew that I had to harvest it and offer it at auction.  I did exactly that, item number 309.  As interesting as the cellar door is, its story pales in comparison to the story behind the murals that surround the top of the main dining room.

According to Johnny Harris President Norman Heidt, the story goes that after spending some time in his new building, Johnny Harris decided that he didn't like the way that the ceiling looked.  One day in the late 1930s a gentleman fresh out of prison came by looking for work.  When he told Mr. Harris that he could paint, a deal was struck.  The gentleman was given food and a place to stay for as long as it took to paint the 3 1/2'x12' murals.  A stunning example of depression era folk art, these murals will also be offered at auction, item numbers 113-126.


What an honor it is to conduct this auction!  Johnny Harris has been a part of my career from the beginning.  I hosted lunch meetings there as a development officer at Memorial Health.  I fed the GACA all-star Basketball teams there when I worked with the Greater Savannah Sports Council.  I hosted alumni luncheons there when I worked with Georgia Southern University.  Now, as an auctioneer, I have the opportunity to help close the book on this gem of Savannah history. It's absolutely an honor and a privilege.

Alex

#AuctionAlex  #NAAPro   #AuctionsWork

Monday, May 23, 2016

Who is Auction Alex?

I always had an interest in becoming an auctioneer.  However, auctioneer school wasn't something that high school guidance counselors typically touted as an option in the late 1990s.  Everyone was to go to college, earn a degree and enter the white-collar workforce.  Of course, I did that.  After a 12+ year career in non-profit development and communications, I decided it was time to finally pursue a lifelong interest and earn my auctioneer's license.  In fact, I wrote a blog about that experience too.  In 2014, I was licensed GAL #4105 by the state of Georgia.  I am also licensed as an auctioneer in South Carolina, #4534 and a licensed Georgia real estate agent, #366186.  I am proud to be helping South Auction and Realty expand into the Statesboro and Savannah, GA markets.

My mission as an auctioneer is simple:
Help people convert assets to cash in an honest and efficient manner.

What do I sell?  I offer, at auction, real estate, personal property, business liquidations, farms, equipment..... almost anything.  At this time, I sell everything except wholesale cars and firearms (though I do have contacts with which I can partner to sell those too!)  I also sell real estate via traditional listing methods as well.

Non-profit experience?  That's right.  I had a great career in non-profit development.  I know what it takes to make your charity auction successful.  Whether you need help from the early planning stages, or just a bid-caller the night of your event, I can help!

What about ethics?  I feel VERY strongly about doing the right thing, especially in the auction business.  Call it a pet peeve; call it common courtesy.  I adhere strictly to the NAA Code of Ethics.

How can I help you?

#AuctionAlex  #NAAPro  #AuctionsWork