Call Now 248-266-9817

Estate Sales vs Estate Auctions

Estate Sale Resources March 22, 2022

Estate Sales vs Estate Auctions, what’s the difference? Which option makes the most for your
situation? When dealing with a downsize, move, or death of a loved one, there a lot of things to
consider. It can be overwhelming, we know! The Estate Pros are here to help guide you through
this complex process while making it as easy and hassle free as possible.
If you’re considering either an estate sale or an estate auction, the Estate Pros suggest
understanding how both work in order to determine which would best accomplish your
objective. Know the pros and cons of each estate liquidation option so you can make the most
informed decision.


There are a variety of reasons you may find yourself needing an estate liquidation, some more
involved than others. Understanding your situation and knowing what your goals are will help in
choosing an estate sale or an estate auction. Let’s take a look:

The top six reasons to have an estate liquidation are:
1. Death
2. Moving
3. Downsizing
4. Divorce
5. Debt


When comparing estate sales vs estate auctions, the desired outcome is the same: estate
liquidation. However, each option uses varying means to reach that objective.

Estate Sale

Estate sales, often referred to as “estate sale auctions,” “tag sales,” or “moving sales,” are
multiple day events that usually occur on-site inside a residence over the course of a weekend.
Professional estate sale companies such as the Estate Pros organize these events, and they
generally occur just before or after the sale transaction of a home is closed.
In addition to hosting on-site estate sales, the Estate Pros also provide multi-day online estate
sale options. The Estate Pros offer professional photography, and video tours for your home
and items. From there, they are listed on our state-of-the-art listing platform which draws
interested buyers from all over the world. Upon completion of the online estate sale, estate
shoppers complete payment and make arrangements to pick up their items. The Estate Pros
make contact-free estate sale shopping easy! (Ask your Estate Pros expert for details)

Estate Auction

Now that we understand the basics of an estate sale, let’s look at estate auctions. Estate
auction companies may also host an estate liquidation inside a residence. Alternatively, the
estate auction may take place at the estate company’s location or auction house.
Once on-site, shoppers have an opportunity to review auction items and an auctioneer invites
bids for each item or lot of items. In addition, some estate auction houses may supplement
their live auction with online auction bids for the same items. Other estate auction companies
may accept online-only bids for certain items.


Estate Sales, sometimes referred to as “Tag Sales” are used as a means of selling personal
property, either your own, or on behalf of a family member, friend, etc. Estate sales usually
contain far more items than your typical garage sale or yard sale and often take place inside a
residence. They are designed to sell as many household contents as possible in a short period
of time, frequently 2-3 days. In most cases, completely emptying the home is the desired
outcome of an estate sale.
During an estate sale, the general public is invited into the home and provided the opportunity
to purchase items made available for sale by the homeowner / seller. Most of the time, a
professional estate sale company such as the Estate Pros organizes and conducts the event
on behalf of the homeowner.


Prior to beginning the estate sale, the Estate Pros expert team of appraisers and home stagers
will sort, price, merchandise and set up estate sale items to resemble a boutique retail store.
The Estate Pros create targeted sale advertising via our website;, Industry
websites & forums, along with social media & email marketing, etc. The Estate Pros also use
street signs to attract local shoppers.


Estate Sale day(s) will consist of the Estate Pros securely and safely assisting shoppers as they
navigate the home while browsing for items, ensuring everything runs smoothly. Our
professional team provides shoppers with customer assistance, sales assistance, and
checkout & moving services.


Once the estate sale concludes, the Estate Pros immediately begin tidying up the home and
assisting last minute shoppers remove their purchased items.
Afterwards, the Estate Pros will issue a settlement payment to the homeowner, provide a
detailed sales report of all items sold, schedule charity donation & trash removal of any unsold
items (if requested). A final broom and vacuum is then completed and the estate sale home is
left clean and empty, ready for the new residents. Our estate sale process is easy and hassle-free, that’s the Estate Pros difference!


That covers estate sales, so let’s move on to how estate auctions work. Much like an estate
sale, an estate auction liquidates the contents of a residence.
Unlike a multiple day estate sale, an estate auction usually occurs in a single day. Estate Sale
companies determine whether to hold the auction at the residence or at the estate company’s
auction house. Instead of buying items outright, attendees purchase items (or lots) by placing
the highest bids on them.


An estate auction company’s pre-auction tasks depend on where the auction will be
conducted. If the estate auction will be conducted at the residence, the company will asses
and organize the auction items on-site. If the estate auction will take place at the auction
house, the seller typically pays for transport of all items to the auction location.
Preparing an on-site estate auction can often take several weeks. Estate auction company
personnel sort and catalog all sale items. Shoppers are then allowed to preview the items. Many times specialty items like gold or jewelry will be advertised beforehand to drum up excitement.
Estate auction companies generally market the auction in local and national online platforms. In
addition to listing the auction on company sites, the event may also appear on national auction
locator sites as well.


Let the estate auction day excitement begin! On auction days, shoppers can review auction
items before the auctioneer begins. Buyers must first obtain a bidder’s number, which they use
to bid on estate auction items. If a bidder is successful, the auctioneer will call out their bidder
number. Additionally, absentee bidders can usually submit virtual bids for items they’ve
previewed online.

Once the auction commences, it typically proceeds quickly and lasts for a number of hours.
The estate auctioneer introduces each item or lot, and attendees bid by holding up their paddle
or bidder number. After attendees submit their successful bid(s), they head to the auction office
to pay for their purchase(s).


Once the estate auction closes, bidders pay for the items they’ve purchased. Shoppers also
pay a buyer’s premium, or surcharge, on each purchased item. Each premium represents a
percentage of the item’s “sold” price.

Shoppers must remove their paid-for items from the premises. Buyers who cannot remove very
large items same day may be allowed to pick them up by appointment on a later date.


The choice between an estate sale and an estate auction can difficult. If you’re unable to
decide between an estate sale or an estate auction, consider the pros and cons of each estate
liquidation method below.


Estate Sale Estate Auction
One Location: Moving of items not required Estate home is not open to the public (if conducted offsite at the estate auction location)
Longer sale time: More opportunity to sell Shoppers can preview items in person before the
sale begins
Individually priced items Online and absentee bidding equals more
More marketing & exposure time leading to increased sales volume Multiple bidders can lead to Higher
selling prices
Ability to negotiate & accept offers  
Sale settlement payment occurs quickly  


Estate Sale Estate Auction
Multiple parties negotiating for items One-day sale may limit number of shoppers
Pricing discounts may reduce profits Offsite auctions require costly moving of items
Potential liability of having shoppers onsite Prolonged time for sale set up and final payment
  Shopper must remove purchased items same day


Now that you’ve considered both the estate sale and estate auction options, it’s important that
you select the format that meets your needs. The Estate Pros always represent the best
interest of our client’s estates and will carefully evaluate your situation, what items you’re
considering liquidating, and the goals of the estate in order to determine which sales option
most closely aligns with your objectives.

If you are looking for help in running an Estate Sale feel free to contact us. We’d love to help!

Get Started


Sale Updates, Rewards & More! Sign Up Today!