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THE AMERICAN EAGLE AUCTION & APPRAISAL COMPANY
STAFF

 

 


By: Kenny Lindsay, CPPA, CREA, PA
President/CEO
American Eagle Auction & Appraisal Company
Professional Michigan Auctioneers

Every one of us has something that is an avid collector.......an avid collector of dust that is. Years ago you really did have good intentions of bringing down that old Schwinn bicycle and getting into shape but procrastination got the best of you. Here's another one. How many times have you stumbled across those old Life and Field & Stream magazines in the basement and wonder to yourself if there's much value to them? What about grandpa's old fishing net or grandma's wicker baskets?

Okay, maybe you have found yourself in a situation where the decision is made to place a loved one in a nursing home. If that isn't a burden in itself, now you have to contend with figuring out what to do with a lifetime of possessions that were left behind. You play amateur appraiser for a weekend while you're sorting through dad's tool chest and mom's linen closet. You say to yourself "That old screwdriver isn't worth anything". So off into the garbage it goes along with mom's kitchen utensils, a stack of matchbooks, linen table cloths, hunting and fishing licenses and you say to yourself "why in the heck did they save this, It's all junk?". Well, at least YOU think it is.

Maybe you or someone you know is growing long and tired of the bitter cold Midwest winters and a little condo near the sunny beaches of Florida sounds better each day. So what exactly is holding up the venture to a smoother climate? "It's just too much work to make a move like that" is a typical response.

You've made the decision to get rid of a few things or an entire household of personal property. You're going to run an ad in the local newspaper to sell the Schwinn. You have decided that an antique shop is the best place to sell Grandma's wicker baskets along with grandpa's fishing net. A garage sale in the spring is the answer to liquidating much of the family's estate. Of course, the garbage can is your remedy to dispose what you declared "junk". However, there are four problems with such a scenario and each problem shares the same catch. We'll explain.

1. Newspaper Ad's - On average the typical classified newspaper ad will cost you somewhere around $30. One downfall is, you have limited your audience to a specific geographic region. Providing you're selling a desirable item you can expect your phone to ring off the hook for at least one week. Unfortunately, you'll always get that unwelcome call at the crack of dawn and one here and there late into the evenings. You'll have to stick by the telephone to field the telephone calls and expect to answer the same questions over and over again which includes the most common question; "What's the best you'll take on this?".

Providing that your item sells, remember that you'll receive numerous calls from interested people inquiring about the item. The typical caller will ask; "Hi, is the bike still available?" Your reply, "No it isn't. It sold last week." The response, "Oh okay, may I ask what you sold it for? What kind of bike was it? Was it in good condition?" etc. etc. Such questions after the sale are inevitable. If you have an answering machine, you may be able to escape from the post sale inquiries which include the nosey questions.

Overall, newspaper advertisements create major inconveniences.

2. Garage Sales - The negatives greatly outweigh the positives with such a sale.

First of all, preparing for such a sale is a tedious task in itself. Clearing out the garage, covering up garage contents that aren't for sale, making signs, sorting , pricing, displaying and hauling. When it's all over and done with, you'll always have a pile of miscellaneous items to haul out to the trash along with a big mess to clean up.

Garage sale customers do not bring their pocket books with them, they bring their piggy banks. To be more specific, garage sale shoppers are bargain hunters to the extreme and they'll start out by nickel and diming you to death. If you cannot meet their terms they will not hesitate to move on and walk off empty handed. Be assured that your stress level will climb when a buyer offer's you $10 for the rocking chair you priced at $35. It gets worse.

If you ever scroll through garage sale listings in the newspaper you'll commonly find the note "No Early Birds!" This is wordage seldom effective to deter the early bird shoppers. Regardless, you'll have a flock of people stopping by your home the night before attempting to get a 'sneak peek' of your merchandise before the actual sale. Despite the fact that you advertised your sale for 9:00 a.m. you should expect to find a few people loitering in your driveway at 5:00 in the morning the next day. These are relentless professional shoppers attempting to beat the so-called "crowd" and they'll be looking to snatch up items that you underestimated.

If you have a stack of baby clothes and clothing? Okay, that's certainly garage sale material but also keep in mind, you may sell approximately 5-10% of what you actually display. At the end of the day, you'll pocket a paltry amount of money. Fold those clothes up and donate them to a charitable organization and save yourself the headaches.

Again, with newspaper ads and garage sales, you're limiting the exposure to your merchandise to a specific region which attracts shoppers from your city and surrounding area's. Also keep in mind that garage sales are 'weather permitting.' If it rains, you're up the creek as this is certain doom for a successful sale.

3. Antique Shops - Simply put. Consider yourself warned as you've just walked into the hornets nest. An antique shop is where your items you previously declared as "junk" will ultimately turn up. As strange as it may seem, this is NOT the place you should seek to sell off your collectible items.

These are professional dealers who know how to buy and on average they will offer 20% to 50% for your item of value. They're in the business to profit and their goal is to pay as little as possible so they can capitalize on YOUR find. Antique shops are a place to buy NOT to sell. Know going in that you're selling yourself short.

4. Garbage Can - Garbage cans are a dealer's best friend. Every neighborhood has those weekly garbage pickers riding around in station wagons and pickup trucks and they're doing it for a reason. You think to yourself, "Theyre just a bunch of bums..." Don't kid yourself.

I cannot tell you how many times I've personally pulled out some 'bell ringers' from the trash. Just recently a woman contacted me about a rare garment bag (of all things!) she pulled from her daughter's garbage can. After inspecting the item, I promptly paid her $750.00 for the 'garbage pick'. By all means, NEVER throw anything away until a professional examines the items!

Here's a test for you. Would you make an exception to this rule if you found a few old strips of rusty barbed wire laying inside a work bench? More than likely you'd just throw this in the garbage. Right? Well, crazy as it may seem, vintage barbed wire is HIGHLY collectible and some have sold for nearly $1,000 for a 6" strip. Don't be the judge on what is garbage and what isn't because you just don't know until a professional you can trust steps in to evaluate the contents.

From running a newspaper ad, to selling at an antique shop or conducting your own garage sale - each one of these selling avenues carry common characteristics. More specifically called 'Negative Haggling'. Negative haggling is the expected negotiation process of lowering your asking price. Weather your price is fair or not, be assured that a buyer will instinctively offer LESS money than what your looking for. Secondly, you are limiting the exposure your item(s) receive by choosing ANY alternative selling method to auctions.

The bottom line is selling at auction is the optimal tool in maximizing total dollars for the seller. You as a seller benefit because ONLY at auction is the selling price negotiated HIGHER rather than being reduced. Auctions can attract your target market audience on a national basis which increases the demand for your item(s).

A live auction is unique as it creates an exciting, competitive atmosphere among highly interested buyers which helps you as the seller achieve true market value as opposed to a less negotiated price that you would find with alternative selling methods. If properly marketed, a professional live auction will expose your property to the greatest number of buyers which quickly turns your property into a quick, cash return on your assets.

You may find it interesting that the live auction process is MUCH more than the custom rhythmic chant of a good auctioneer. Although the auctioneer 'chant' is entertaining, creates excitement and allows the auction to move smoothly and quickly, it's actually the least important phase of the auction process.

The fact to the matter remains, that a true professional auctioning company are highly trained, experienced and skillful task management and marketing geniuses. Creative and aggressive marketing campaigns are essential to maximize the final price of your personal assets by attracting the attention of the ideal target market audience. Unfortunately, several auction companies do not place enough emphasis or know how to effectively generate prospective bidders to their auctions. Many auction companies solely market their upcoming auctions through their existing client mailing list. Although, it's important to notify previous auction attendees, this shall not be the primary focus of attracting bidders to an upcoming auction! Creative mass marketing is crucial for generating new and high quality prospective bidders to ensure to most successful auction possible.

For the auction company, the auction process is complex and sometimes complicated. However, for the seller, the process is quite simple. Once the decision is made to auction some personal property items, a meeting is scheduled with the auctioning company and yourself where the items are evaluated and formal discussions take place. You as the seller/consignor are able to set your own special terms and conditions of the sale during this consultation with the auctioning company. Providing that both the auctioning company yourself are agreeable with the terms, conditions and commissions (commissions to the auctioning company are typically 20% - 35%) an inventory is taken and the auction company takes possession of the merchandise to safeguard, photograph and catalog the to be auctioned items. At this time, a definite or tentative date, time and location of the sale is established.

From this point on, your items are in the hands of sales professionals and auction management team who immediately begin the exhausting preparation process of organizing, photographing, cataloging and formatting a rigorous and sophisticated marketing campaign to convert your goods and real estate into cash. As the consignor/seller all you need to do is cash in the results a couple days after the auction. Although you're not required to do so, but it's always a fun experience for you to be in attendance during the auction so you can witness the auction experience. Yes, it's that easy.

Think about it. How many professional athletes and Hollywood celebrities liquidate their collections through the auction method of selling? Virtually every time time a celebrity or athlete sells off part or all of their collection, they choose to do it through the Auction Method of Selling because it's proven and effective.

Make a wise selling decision and capitalize in the Auction Method of Selling. Let your items soar with the eagle through American Eagle Auction Company. We KNOW the business.


American Eagle Auction Company Copyright © 'Why Auction' article. May be used with permission from author Col. Ken Lindsay

 

 

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