Aside from estate sales, buyouts, and consignments, auctions are yet another option.
Auctions tend to take longer than estate sales and, when done right, can be more tedious. Everything has to be photographed (preferably with multiple views) and logged into a database before bidding can begin. You’ll want to find out just how long this can take, so that you’re not waiting weeks or months to see results.
Local auctions will almost always require your tangible goods be tangible to the public. Bidders expect to see (and maybe handle) the goods before bidding. If you’re avoiding estate sales to avoid having strangers in your home, this might not be the best option for you. If, however, time is NOT of the essence and you don’t mind letting the bidders stop through to see what you’re auctioning, it can be a viable solution to liquidating your estate.
Some auction companies can afford to accept lower commissions because they have less overhead, but don’t be fooled when you see a 25% fee with an auction company versus a 40% fee with an estate sale company. With estate sales, you can mark higher, more desirable items FIRM so that they don’t sell under a specific amount. With auctions, you might be able to determine a starting bid on some of the items some of the time, but you won’t be able to control the bids on everything. If you negotiate a contract where you receive 75% of gross sales, remember that 75% of a winning bid $8.00 is only $6.00.
Again, with any commission, whether it’s an estate sale, consignment store, or auction, make sure your contract specifies which taxes and expenses are paid by the company and which, if any (hopefully none!) are deducted from your share.