State Auction Association Conference Season Is In Full Force

February 1, 2014

Some would argue that the auction industry has seasons. Depending on the type of auctions an auctioneer or auction company conducts, the season will vary.

However, there is no doubt that most state auctioneer associations have a winter conference, and these winter conferences are usually in January and February. As a result, the state auction association conference season is in full swing.

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to be a guest speaker at The Virginia Auctioneers Association in Williamsburg Virginia. What an active and great group of auctioneers.

Last week was The Kansas Auctioneers Association Winter Convention. We had great presenters in attendance, including Hannes Combest the CEO of the National Auctioneers Association, Auctioneer J.J. Dower from Tennessee and Benefit Auctioneer Gala Gal Jenelle Taylor. The educational seminars were well received, and a special thanks goes to our education committee chair Aaron Traffas for organizing these great presenters.

In addition, we had a lively and fun auctioneers contest where we chose our top 10 finalists for the final round to be held in September at the state fair in Hutchison Kansas where we will crown our 2014-15 State Champion Auctioneer. This year we will actually have 11 semi finalists as a result of a tie for 10th and 11th place. The prelims were streamed via the internet for those who were unable to attend. We are hoping to do this at the fair this Fall as well.

I am grateful for the opportunity to begin the second year of my three year term on the board of directors for the KAA. It is a wonderful organization.

Today the Iowa Auctioneers Association started their winter conference, and because of technology, we were able to watch the auction contest via streaming video. I watched the contest while updating content on our website and intermittently goofing off with the kids. My wife thinks I am an auction addict, and she is correct.

So what’s next? This coming week I will be traveling to Arkansas to present at their winter conference and also help judge their auctioneer contest. I am looking forward to seeing some friends, meeting new friends and sharing what I can.

And then? The Missouri Professional Auctioneers Association will have its winter convention in a couple weeks at The Elms in Excelsior Springs Missouri. Soon enough it will be March and we will be thinking about green grass, warm weather and the NAA Conference and Show coming up in July.

I suppose their is an auction season, and this is the season to learn and fellowship with our auction friends and family.

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What Is Bid Sniping, and is eBay a Real Auction?

November 28, 2011

So what is bid sniping you might ask? For those who buy regularly on online websites such as eBay, you are probably familiar with this term. For those who are not, I will explain.

When the bidding for an item is scheduled to end at a specific time, many bidders will wait until the last few seconds before the time expires, and place their high bid in an attempt to be the winning bidder. This leaves the previous high bidder little or no time to increase their bid before the clock expires. The result is the new high bidder winning the item with less opportunity for competition. There are even programs available to facilitate this bidding strategy for the sniper.

Some would call this a race to see who can win the item for the least amount at the last second. In most cases we would argue that the seller has lost opportunity for true market value to be achieved as the clock determined the end of the transaction, and not true competitive bidding.

So to answer the question, does it work? I would say it works well for savvy buyers. I am not sure the sellers would agree that it works for them. It also doesn’t work well for buyers who are unfamiliar with the process and lose out on an item they would have been willing to pay more for, but were caught off guard due to this practice.

This is one reason you could argue that eBay is not a true auction. In contrast, online auctions conducted by professional auction companies will utilize an extended bidding feature that minimizes this bidding strategy.

Extended bidding works by allowing the auction company to set a predetermined time the bidding will extend on an item if someone places a bid in the last minutes or seconds of that item closing. The increment will vary from company to company, but it is not uncommon to see anywhere from 5 to 15 minute bidding extensions.

How it works: If the extended bidding feature is set at 5 minutes, then when a bidder places a bid anytime in the last 5 minutes of the item ending, the bidding will be extended another 5 minutes. This allows time for the bidder who was outbid, to then place another bid if they choose. If they do place a bid, then that item will now extend 5 minutes from that bid as well. This can go on indefinitely, as long as two or more bidders continue to bid.

When extended bidding is used, bidders are not able to take advantage of the bid sniping strategy. In addition, competitive bidding is utilized in a manner that better serves the seller, as well as buyers who want to know that they had every opportunity to bid and purchase the item at their price.

Do you buy items via online auctions that allow extended bidding? Does this affect your bidding strategy or have any impact on when you place your bid? Please share your thoughts on this topic.


My First Auction and What I Learned

November 14, 2011

The other day I was reminiscing about what I learned from the first live auction I had ever conducted just over 10 years ago.

Having graduated from World Wide College of Auctioneering two months prior to the event, I had put together a very modest consignment auction from about 5 or 6 sellers.

My inventory was impressive for a variety of reasons and included 2 large electric organs, a piano, a water bed, some pots and pans, older tools, glassware and a variety of items of which were less than memorable.

The inventory was impressive because most of it had little value and I was impressed for a lifetime on what an auctioneer should work hard to avoid selling.

In addition to learning the value of two consigned electric organs weighing over 200 pounds, and moved 3 times with an end result of a no sale, I also learned of the value of kindness and generosity.

The first act of kindness came from Mr. Dunn, who owns Dunn’s Cider Mill near my home. I had been keeping a few bee hives on his property, and he was generous to offer the use of his parking lot for our maiden voyage in the auction industry. I will forever hold a place in mt heart for the Dunn family and the memories that were created there that day.

The next lesson came from an effort to save money on buying tables. I had constructed the saw horse variety using sheets of quarter-inch plywood to display our merchandise. Fifteen minutes before the scheduled start time my wife Aileen noticed an item that needed to be tagged with a seller/lot number. When she placed the items back on the make shift table, the quarter-inch plywood broke in half and like dominoes, all of the tables came crashing to the ground. Did I mention it was 15 minutes before the auction was scheduled to start.

The second act of kindness came from a bidder who I had never met who looked at me and looked at the mess, and simply stated, “well, lets pick it all up.” With that directive, our team and all of the bidders pitched in to set the auction back up. As the Scottish proverb states, Many Hands make light Work. Because it is but little to every one, and because of those many hands we were actually able to start the auction on time.

There were numerous other life lessons  learned that day, including another act of kindness from my good friend Dick Ellis who came to the auction to support me. I know for a fact that he bought a lamp that never made it home, but allowed me to say sold.

It would be an understatement to say that we have come a long way in 10 years.

Life is good, and I am grateful for the acts of kindness and generosity of friends and family, as well as the blessings from My Father in Heaven who guided me to the auction profession.


10 Myths of Real Estate Auctions – Myth 9

October 3, 2011

Myth 9 – All auction companies are the same, and all auctions are run the same.

Make sure you read the terms and conditions for each auction and that you call the auction company to ensure that you understand their use of specific terminology.

There are many variables that should not be assumed to be the same for every company. One example is that some companies utilize a percentage of the high bid while others utilize a flat amount for the deposit on auction day.

Other considerations are licensure and continuing education within the real estate and auction industry. It is important to work with auctioneers who are committed to their industry. Several questions to ask a prospective auctioneer or auction company are:

Are you actively involved in the National Auctioneers Association? Do you have additional certifications of industry related education such as Certified Auctioneers Institute, Accredited Auctioneer of Real Estate, Auction Technology Specialist, etc?

It is my opinion that we should never stop learning, and never stop striving to be the best that we can be. This is the only way that we can ensure that we are always on the cutting edge, and suited to help our clients in their time of need.

There are a lot of great auctioneers and auction companies out there to choose from. Understanding the differences between them can help you find a provider who is a good fit for you and your specific needs.


10 Myths Of Real Estate Auctions – Myth 8

August 23, 2011

Myth 8 – If I sell my property at auction I will have to give it away.

This is a very common myth and leads to some great discussion regarding market value as well as the different types of real estate auctions.

First let’s talk about market value. There are many ways to talk about the value of something. We have book value, appraised value, replacement value, etc.

My definition of market value is, “Something is worth what someone is willing to pay for it on a given day.”

As a professional auctioneer, it’s my job to market property and bring all potential buyers to the auction event on that given day. In the end, the competitive bidding process will ensure that the buyer who was willing to pay the most is given the opportunity to do so.

If we line up 10 people and ask them the value of the stapler sitting on the desk in front of you, we are going to get ten different answers. At the end of the day, the value of that stapler is whatever buyer number 9 made buyer number 10 bid in order to secure the purchase.

Now let’s talk about the different ways to sell. There are many variations, but the 3 basic ways to sell are;

Absolute: The property sells regardless of price.

Minimum Published Bid: The property sells at or above a published minimum amount.

Undisclosed Reserve: The property sells subject to owner confirmation and the reserve is not known.

There is a lot more we can talk about here, but it is safe to say that when you sell your property at auction, you are not giving it away.


10 Myths of Real Estate Auctions – Myth 7

August 1, 2011

Myth 7 – I Won’t Know If I am The Winning Bidder on Auction Day.

Typically the results of an auction are known on the day of the auction. In some cases there might need to be confirmation from the seller who is not available at the time of the auction. In this case a professional auction company will disclose to the bidders that notification of acceptance will be given within a specific time period.

If the property is being sold at absolute auction then the high bidder will know that they are the winning bidder immediately.

An absolute auction is an auction where property is sold to the highest bidder regardless price. With an absolute auction there is no minimum or reserve price, so there is no need for the seller to confirm the winning bid. Not all real estate auctions are absolute, so it is important to understand the terms and conditions of the auction.


10 Myths of Real Estate Auctions – Myth 6

July 4, 2011

Myth 6 – An Auctioneer needs to be a licensed real estate agent to sell real estate at auction.

This is one myth that is quite an eye opener. In the State of Kansas, a real estate license is required to conduct a real estate auction. In the State of Missouri, all you need is $52 and a pulse to be a licensed auctioneer and be able to offer real estate at auction.

Other State laws vary, and in fact some States have very strict laws and guidelines, while others do not. It is important to know this if you are interviewing a real estate auction company.

Following are a few questions that you should ask in regards to licensing and professional standards when speaking with a real estate auction company.

1. Are you a licensed broker or agent? If you are an agent, who holds your license?
2. Are you a member of the local real estate board?
3. Are you a member of the local MLS?
4. Do you post your auctions on the MLS?
5. Are you required to attend continuing education courses in real estate to keep your license active?

A professional real estate auctioneer will be able to answer all of these questions properly.

It is important to know who you are doing business with.



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