Last updated on July 6th, 2023 at 10:04 pm

Are you looking to sell a lot of valuable items in a short amount of time? You might have done research and found that both an estate sale and an auction are good options, but it can be hard to tell which one is best for your specific situation.

Here, we will break down both estate sales and auctions so you can see which one will better fit your situation.

Estate Sale

estate sale

Once you hire an estate sale company, an appraiser will come to your home and assess your items. They will then photograph the items, tag them, advertise the sale, and help you hold the sale. On the day of the sale, there will be a line of people waiting outside your home to peruse through your goods, which will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.



Esate Sale Pros

  • Estate sales are the best way to sell your goods quickly and efficiently. They can be marketed and held within a week.
  • By the end of the sale, all or most of your items will usually be sold.
  • Since buyers are buying the goods straight from your property, you won’t incur any transportation costs for their purchases.

Esate Sale Cons

  • Prospective buyers will be walking through your property to attend the sale. While this can be seen as a breach of privacy, the attendees are expected to follow proper estate sale etiquette while on the property.
  • Due to the nature of the sale being held on-site, your customer base will be limited to buyers who live within the local area.
  • Items that aren’t sold during the first sale day(s) might be priced lower for the final day. However, this will depend on the specific sale and your own wishes.


estate sale

If you hire an auction company, they will appraise your goods and, if you choose to do an off-site auction, transport your items off-site. The items will be sold either online or at a venue outside of your home. On the day of the auction, prospective buyers will be able to bid on the goods, and the individual with the highest bid will buy the item.


  • Since buyers bid for goods and can get into the competitive spirit, high-demand items may be sold at prices higher than their value.
  • Auctions can be done outside of the home or online, so you don’t have to worry about people walking through your property if you’d rather avoid that.
  • If the auction is held online, the customer base potentially increases to worldwide. This can make it easier to sell items at the highest price possible.


  • It can take a few weeks to catalog items, do marketing, and host the auction.

Summary: Should You Have an Estate Sale or an Auction?

Both estate sales and auctions share a common purpose: to liquidate your property.

If you want to sell your items quickly and efficiently, it’s usually best to go with an estate sale. If you have more time and want your items to be sold at the highest price possible, an auction may be a better choice for you.

Whatever you choose, make sure you do your research. You want to be sure the company you’re hiring is accredited and has your best interests at heart.

Here at Fruitcocktail, we are an accredited estate sale and auction company with over 20 years of experience serving the Seattle area. If you are interested in our estate sale, appraisal, or auction services, don’t hesitate to contact us today.