How Do Online Estate Sales Work?

At its simplest, an estate auction is where the goods contained in a private home are sold off, either on the premises or online. This is usually done by hiring a York Auction Group.

Until the rise of the internet, this was often done in the home itself, which often meant many visitors to a private residence sometimes still occupied by the owners. This has made online estate sales much more appealing, for the sake of both privacy and convenience.

What Is an Online Estate Sale Auction?

The online estate auction has simply shifted this process to the internet. Instead of the auction being hosted over several days in a private home, the items are collected by the liquidator, photographed, evaluated and graded where applicable, tagged, and have an opening bid set.

Afterwards, the items are available to view and be bid on online. This can be done by the family themselves, who will use general online auction websites such as eBay to place items one at a time.

How to Win an Estate Sale Auction

Part of winning an auction is being lucky and having enough money to work with, but there are other key things to keep in mind as well:

  • Set a personal limit on an item: Don’t get dragged into a bidding war for something you can’t afford, or something you don’t want above a certain price. 
  • Know the rules: York Auction Group will have different rules for returns, refunds, shipping, arbitration of disputes, and so on per auction. Particularly important will be the rules for payments. Invoices are sent to you individually and are required to be paid within 24 hours. Don’t assume what applies to one seller applies to another.
  • Know what you’re bidding on: Only bid on items with multiple photographs, detailed information about quality and quantity, and with responsive sellers. We strive to and will often mention their conditions in the listings. If you have any questions, call or email us and we will get that information to you as soon as possible.
  • Alerts and Notifications: If you like something and want to be alerted, configure your browser and website to get those notifications by mail or by text message. The venues we use offer text alerts or push notifications to let you track auctions, which is a good way to monitor the progress of your bid.
  • Market value: If you intend to resell items, ensure you know the market value of the item, at the condition it’s claimed to be in, before you bid.
  • Be skeptical: We understand that there is a difference between seeing the item in person and online. Always ask questions of the items prior to bidding! If we have a inspection day, take the time to visit us during those days, and check the quality of the item before bidding.
  • Shipping & Pickup: With bulky items like furniture and art, you may need to hire a shipping service or pick it up yourself. This should be explained in the item’s listing; if you don’t see any options, inquire directly. Don’t assume there are any standard shipping prices. We do not offer free shipping, so it is important to know that a secondary invoice will come with shipping costs.
  • Shipping costs: Shipping costs are not included in the description of the items, because so may buy more than one item. There are too many variables that come into play, and it is best to understand that a $15 item can easily be $60 to ship. We try to keep an active blog to let you know what shipping companies are planning, but it ultimately is up to the buyer to determine if the value of the item and shipping is within the budget.