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How to Run An Auction From Home

Updated on August 29, 2014

Selling Your Stuff At An Auction

Garage sales are a great way to get rid of your things and make some extra money in the process. The problem is that you don't often get the price that you expect for some of the items that you are selling and in the end regret selling them at such a low price.

Taking your things to a public auction can be far more lucrative but there is a downside to that too, when your things are sold at a public auction, there is a commission to be paid to the auctioneer which can be as high as 20% of the sale price.

The other downside of public auctions is that the buyer also has to pay any tax which is added to the final price of the bid.

Holding an auction of your own though cuts out the middleman for both buyer and seller and no one needs to pay a commission to anyone.

Garage Sale

Turn your garage sale into an auction and make even more money for your stuff.
Turn your garage sale into an auction and make even more money for your stuff. | Source

Running Your Own Auction

There is a little more work involved in setting up a Garage sale/auction but because you are going to get nearer or even over the price that you wanted for your more valuable items it is well worth the effort.

  • Catalogue your lots, make a list of everything that you are putting up for auction
  • Label your lots, the best way to label your lots is to buy a book of raffle tickets and put one on each lot remembering to list each item with the corresponding ticket number..
  • Job Lots are a great way to get rid of lots of stuff in one go, group things like boys clothes or cheap toys into job lots of 5 or 6 items and sell them as one lot.
  • Estimate the price that you would like to get for each item, use the Internet to find out what things are selling for online.
  • Advertise your Garage sale auction as you would any other garage sale. Remember to mention the time that your auction will begin at.
  • Put a fixed reserve price on items that you do not want to sell too cheaply (The minimum price that you would accept)
  • Print up a simple catalogue for bidders, an A4 sheet of paper with a list of Items for sale and an estimated selling price.
  • List the rules of your auction so that the bidders know what they are doing.

You do not have to auction off all of your items, just the ones that you feel you would get the best price for by doing so, any other items can be sold in the same way that you would do if you were having a normal garage sale.

Sample Auction Catalogue

A simple catalogue of items for sale and rules for your auction, you can make the rules to suit your sale of goods.
A simple catalogue of items for sale and rules for your auction, you can make the rules to suit your sale of goods. | Source

Sell Your Stuff at an Auction

When the hammer falls, no more bids will be accepted.
When the hammer falls, no more bids will be accepted. | Source

Being The Auctioneer

The most difficult part of running your own auction is being the auctioneer, if you are not confident speaking in public then maybe you should enlist a family member who is more outgoing and confident.

The most common mistake that amateur auctioneers make is that they think it is a race, take your time speak clearly and get someone to help you scan the crowd for bidders in-case that you miss a bid.

Start the bidding off at the low estimate price, if you don't receive any bids at that then reduce it by $5 until someone makes a bid. If the price does not reach your lowest estimate then use your discretion, are you willing to sell the item for $5 less than you wanted?

When the winning bid has been decided, give the winning bidder the corresponding raffle ticket out of the book and direct them to the point of sale.


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    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      I have been to a few auction house auction and to many garage sales in the places I have lived in the USA but never to a combination garage sale and auction such as you described. I wonder why. It sounds like a good idea.

      Another approach would be a silent auction.

    • suziecat7 profile image


      6 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Great idea and fun too. You offer practical tips for success. Voted up!

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 

      6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Yup, this is a winner! So much better to get organized to get rid of your stuff this way than through an auction (I went through an auction once, sold a whole house worth of stuff and they gave me a check for $200!)

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi Jimmy,

      Fantastic idea! You nailed all the downsides and came up with a winner. I especially like the idea of cataloging items. Thank you so much:)


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