Insider advice from Mark Mugliston, Residential Sales Manager, in his monthly column in the Diss Express.
Moving home always wins the gold medal as the best excuse for a clear out. We all hope that one day we’ll find that little gem hidden in the loft or long forgotten heirloom to top up the Ferrari fund!
It’s well worth getting a professional opinion on almost anything and I’m really lucky that Durrants has its very own auction rooms and valuers available for checking out items our vendors have that they might not want to find a new home for.
We also provide a really useful service in estimating the value of the contents of a house, which can be sold and offset against the cost of clearing the house itself. This ensures you don’t (literally) skip something of value, but it also takes away the hard work of clearing the home yourself.
TV shows have helped raise the popularity of auctions and we’re experienced in valuing anything from antiques and fine art, through medals, jewellery and toys to records and postcards. Remember, the auctioneer will help with a guide price and in setting a reserve if you wish – a minimum value that must be achieved for the item to sell.
Our Auctions Manager Mark Whistler has been offering me some tips on buying. He suggests looking online to get a feel for what is available and what prices items might sell for.
Once you’ve found something you’re interested in, go and have a look as things are often better in the flesh. If you can’t attend the viewing day, call the auctioneer to see if you can make an appointment to view.
When buying furniture, don’t forget to measure the available space in your home; you don’t want to get something home and find that it doesn’t fit the intended gap!
If you’re buying online make sure that you ask for a condition report and extra images to give you more information and the confidence to know that you really like the item before you leave a bid.
For major items, the history is extremely important. For instance, a pencil sketch we sold by LS Lowry earlier this year for a record-breaking £12,400 had impeccable provenance from the Halycon Gallery, therefore the buyer had the confidence to go the extra mile to acquire the picture.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The auctioneer and staff are there to help you negotiate the world of auctions.
At the auction, make sure you register as a buyer in plenty of time so that you don’t have to rush about on sale day. When bidding in the room, ensure that your bid is clear to the auctioneer and if you don’t think you have been seen, make yourself known. No auctioneer likes missing a bid and we won’t take offence if you give a quick shout!
If you can’t bid in person, most auction rooms offer a free telephone bidding service where you can bid live via the phone. You can bid live via the internet too, but make sure you’re aware of any extra charges.
Commission bids can also be left with the auctioneer and there is no charge for this. The auctioneer will not go to your maximum bid unless they have to in order to acquire the item for you.
Last, but not least, most auction rooms have a very quick turnaround for goods so will need you to collect your items as soon as possible once payment has been made.
If you haven’t been to an auction then I’d thoroughly recommend it as it’s a fascinating day out and buying at auction can be a great way to snap up a bargain!