Thursday, January 30, 2020

When is the right time to sell?

How do you know when is the right time to sell? That is a question that we get often in the auction business, but it really applies to any method of sale.

Obviously a seller wants to be able to maximize on the peak of a market. The problem is, we do not always know when that peak is.  In the collector world, I believe that all markets are cyclical.  Of course some cycles are longer than others, and the growth curves are not necessarily equal.  But..... they are cycles nonetheless.  My general advice is always sell when something is hot.  Is there a buzz about your particular item?  Are folks talking about it?  Are people paying higher prices than you have seen recently?  If you have considered selling, this is the time!   Our society has a saying, "It will only go up in value."  That just isn't true in 95% of cases.  Everything is cyclical.  If you don't have any emotional investment, and you were considering selling anyway, pull the trigger when the asset class is hot.  Otherwise, you will miss an opportunity.  (I'm looking at you Beanie Babies and telephone insulators...)

The second thing to note is that that sometimes an asset can become a liability.  (or at the least a big loss.)  This is particularly true with business assets.  Unfortunately, I have seen this too many times.  I really feel bad for sellers who end up in this situation.  If a particular asset is costing you money or causing you duress, it's likely a liability.  For business assets, age can contribute rapidly to something becoming a liability.  Generally, the longer you sit on a business asset, the less value it will have.  This phenomenon is NOT exclusive to that class, however.  The same can be true of collectibles and personal items as well.  I'll give you some examples:

  • Restaurant equipment might be one of the clearest examples that I see on a regular basis.  Equipment that has been sitting in a building, unused, for a long period of time loses value at a rapid pace.  Refrigeration, in particular, ages very poorly when not used.  If in place from a failed business, critters will invariably make their way into the kitchen.  This is not good...  I recently had to give some bad news to a restaurant owner who let a commercial kitchen sit unused for over a year.  What could have been $50,000 worth of good useable equipment was now worth less than $10,000, because most of it was worth nothing more than scrap.....and it had to be moved....another expense.  An asset had become a liability because of in-action.
  • Assets that are occupying real estate can also become a liability, particularly if the real estate is highly desirable.  Unless a building is sold with the contents, it must be cleaned out.  A potential buyer will most times have no interest in the contents.  In this situation, the real estate is the asset while the contents are a liability.
  • Perhaps nothing ages worse, or loses value quicker, than an automobile.  Of course, there are some exceptions in the collector car world. However, they must be maintained or at least protected. Do not expect your family's heirloom car to increase in value if it is stored under an oak tree.  Neglected collector cars that require extensive repairs and can very quickly become a money pit rather than an asset.  (as a car guy at heart, I'm begging you..... don't let them waste away!)
  • Sports memorabilia is only as valuable as the last season of the player depicted.  The time to sell is when the player is hot.  There are certainly exceptions for Hall of Fame superstars of the past. Many of these items can actually increase in value.  But again, those markets are cyclical. Do you have a particular baseball card and you just saw the same one sell for a record price?  Now is the time to sell.  Never confuse your hobby with your retirement plan.

None of these scenarios take into account sentimental value. If something is a family heirloom, or has particular value because of a memory, then the item could most certainly be considered an asset.  But the value you put on it is based on emotion, not markets.  Keep that item. Enjoy it for what it is rather than what it might be worth.

In summary, watch for cycles. Sell when the item is hot.  If it is costing you money or causing you duress, it's time to sell.  If you love the item and can afford it, keep it.

If you find yourself in any of these situations, ask for help! Get input from a reputable personal property appraiser, auctioneer, or trusted advisor.  Having a fresh set of eyes with no emotional attachment will be good for a rational analysis.


More blogs to come this spring.  Stay tuned!

Alex Grovenstein
912-657-1831
alex@southauctiongroup.com
GA Auctioneer License #4105
SC Auctioneer License #4534
GA Real Estate License #366186
#AuctionAlex

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

Friday, January 10, 2020

Think Before You Donate

As we roll into a new year, it's common for people to declutter their homes and lives.  We see the fresh start as a way to rid ourselves of things that we don't use, don't need, or no longer want to look at.  The result is largely the same. We load up the car with all of the things that we gather and we seek out the nearest non-profit organization thrift store on which to dump the things we don't want.  Personally, I think this is a healthy practice, but you should proceed carefully and thoughtfully for two reasons.

1.  Be cautious that you may donate something that could be valuable.  It's not that you would intentionally put gold coins in the box, but rather that you may include something that you didn't know was valuable.  Some homework is necessary for items on which you are unsure.  Contact a reputable personal property appraiser, auctioneer or trusted advisor for their opinion.  Perhaps you find something valuable and still wish to donate it.... the organization would love to have that information!


2. Sometimes the items that you donate can actually be a burden on the recipient organization.  Of course they're thankful, and kindly accept, but at the end of the day, if you didn't throw away the trash, they have to throw it away.  That can add both a labor and disposal expense to the organization.  If it isn't useable or in fairly decent condition, go ahead and throw it away.  It saves you and the organization time.


More blogs to come this spring.  Stay tuned!


Alex Grovenstein
912-657-1831
alex@southauctiongroup.com
GA Auctioneer License #4105
SC Auctioneer License #4534
GA Real Estate License #366186
#AuctionAlex

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

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Crabb Estate and C&T Wholesale auction is one to watch

What happens when you inherit a farm equipment and parts business, but your life isn't exactly suited for that line of work?  Our current auction featuring the inventory of C&T Wholesale and parts of the Crabb Estate is a great case study.  Over 70 tractor implements, parts, trailers and even a Model A and Model T Ford will all be sold to the highest bidder.

Heirs often have much different lives than their benefactors. We see it fairly regularly.  After the passing of a loved one, an heir is faced with a decision.  Do I continue to operate a business, sell it, or liquidate it?   If taking over the business is not an option, auction is the answer.  I dove deeper on that subject in a earlier post here.  The heir can return to their normal life while the auction professional handles the details, the marketing, the work, the pickup process and the payment collection.  They simply receive a check at the end of the process.

For buyers, this auction will be a great opportunity as well.  Bid your price on harrows, mowers, landscape rakes, planters, box blades and much more.  There will be opportunities to buy parts in bulk, or even drive off in a sweet Model A Ford.  Bidding ends September 25th.  See this auction and the rest of our PACKED fall lineup at www.southauction.com 

Alex Grovenstein
912-657-1831
alex@southauctiongroup.com
GA Auctioneer License #4105
SC Auctioneer License #4534
GA Real Estate License #366186
#AuctionAlex

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

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Why do men like old stuff?

Why is it that men have a strange affinity for old things?  Many guys are enamored by arrowheads, rusty wall-hangers and even old tools.  An anvil from the 1800s, pocket watches from the 1940s, shoebox Chevy from the 1950s, football cards from the 1970s, Fender Stratocaster from the 1980s and bar mirrors from the 1990s.  These are just a few of the items that are included in our February Collector's Auction in Statesboro, GA.  Bidding is open now and will run through February 13th at 7 PM.

Much to the chagrin of wives and girlfriends everywhere, this phenomenon doesn't seem to be coming to an end anytime soon.  Despite the fact that they don't really need it, men everywhere are still seeking classic cars, vintage American made tools and knives, signs and baseball cards of their childhood heroes.

I contend that the reason for this phenomenon is simply nostalgia.  Perhaps it's a reminder of a more simple time.  A reminder of a father or grandfather.  Perhaps it's the hope that similar relics will yield a similar life that a respected man enjoyed.  Or maybe the stuff is just cool!

All this talk of men........ The same emotions and rationalizations are evident with ladies too.  Most of the time with just different items, but many times exactly the same!  I think it's part of human nature.

What interesting old treasures do you cherish?

Alex Grovenstein
912-657-1831
alex@southauctiongroup.com
GA Auctioneer License #4105
SC Auctioneer License #4534
GA Real Estate License #366186
#AuctionAlex

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

Thursday, April 19, 2018

An unlikely auction buyer, 40 years later



Richlands, NC resident Chris Peacock never imagined that he would have the opportunity to buy a bedroom suite from his childhood home.  However, after seeing an online auction based in GA that became a reality.

When Chris's parents sold the home years ago, they sold the late 1800s oak bedroom suite with the house.  Chris remembered that if there was anything that he would like to have had from the home, that would have been it.  Chris was alerted that the current owners of the home were retiring to the beach and that they had chosen to sell the personal property contents at auction.  He knew that was his chance.  Being an online auction, he was able to bid from his current home 370 miles away.  As the auction closed, Chris was the winning bidder on the three pieces that he longed for and made plans to drive down and pick them up.

But there were two more items that grabbed his attention as well.  Two street signs, Lewis and Church.  You see, in a moment of youthful indiscretion, (we'll just call it boys being boys) Chris and his two older brothers stole those street signs that sat on the corner where the house was located.  They stashed them in an old shed out back and that's where they stayed for 40+ years.  When preparing the auction, I dug them out thinking that selling them separately would make a few more dollars for my sellers.  You can imagine Chris's surprise when he saw them in the catalog.  He recognized them immediately and he bought them!

The happiness was evident when Chris came to pick up his items.  Check out the video below:


This is a great example of why I love my career.  No two days are the same.  The people and the stories are absolute treasures.  I had the chance to meet almost the entire Peacock family that day.  The memories they shared and the stories they told were special.  Now, they have a bedroom suit and some hot street signs to accompany the memories.

Alex Grovenstein
912-657-1831
alex@southauctiongroup.com
GA Auctioneer License #4105
SC Auctioneer License #4534
GA Real Estate License #366186
#AuctionAlex

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

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
912-657-1831
alex@southauctiongroup.com
GA Auctioneer License #4105
SC Auctioneer License #4534
GA Real Estate License #366186
#AuctionAlex

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
912-657-1831
alex@southauctiongroup.com
GA Auctioneer License #4105
SC Auctioneer License #4534
GA Real Estate License #366186
#AuctionAlex

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