Common Questions

What is an auction?

In the simplest of terms, an auction is a way of selling goods through a bidding system, where bidders all have an equal chance to bid on an item but ultimately one person (the highest bidder), wins that item. Auctions are a great way to get fair market value for an item. Instead of somebody pricing an item and hoping someone agrees, auctions allow bidders (the market) to determine the value of the item. There are many types of auctions, but here at Certified we use the "English auction" the most common form of auction, where bidders openly bid on items until there is only one person left. Auctions have a long history, and the root of the word auction is "auctum", which is Latin for "I increase." Auctions have been around for a very long time, dating back to 500 BC. While we haven't been doing them quite that long, we at CES have been proud by our early success in auctions by getting the most possible for our clients, gaining a very loyal following, and being able to maintain our core service and continue with our promise of making moving on easier.

Online auctions vs. in person auctions. In person auctions are great, and I have fond memories of attending them. They allowed for a certain level of competition and socializing that we no longer get with online auctions. Prior to the Internet, and eBay in particular, in person auctions were very popular, but limiting. While in person auctions still exist, they almost always are in a hybrid model where people are still able to place bids online. Even before COVID, though, these forms of auctions were dying and the online auctions were growing like crazy. The amount of people who visit our auctions are shocking, and well exceed even the most popular in person auctions. Much like eBay, Certified Estate Sales has buyers everywhere and we ship winning items all over.

I love going to estate sales but haven't done online auctions. What should I know?

You should know that there's really no difference, except that instead of us setting the price, you get to! Instead of having to go to the house, you get to buy from the comfort of your own home. All of our auctions allow for proxy or max bids. This means you can put in the most you're willing to pay and you don't have to sit through the auction constantly checking on your item. Simply put in what you feel comfortable paying and check back to see if you won. However, some of the most fun with the online auctions is being on at the end and bidding. The vast, vast majority of action takes place towards the end of the auction.

I'm sold. How do I bid?

When the auction opens, click on the catalog and register to bid in that particular auction by agreeing to payment terms.

Place your bids on your desired lots. You can also “watch” lots that you are interested in.

During auction closing, watch your lots as the timer begins to run out. You may continue to bid until the timer is expired. The timer will continue to extend the time as long as the bidding continues.

You may also place a “max” bid, please note: this WILL NOT drive up the bid to that amount. This will simply secure the lot for you up to that particular amount. Just because you have a max bid of $100, you will not necessarily pay $100 for it, it will be sold at the highest amount.

Why do you require me to have a credit card on file?

We want our clients and customers to be confident when using our auction platform. Having a credit card on file confirms that you are a serious bidder with the intent of purchasing items. This ensures everyone is treated fairly and creates a professional bidding environment.

Why does the amount of time keep going up at the end?

Towards the end of the auction, generally within the last few minutes, we add a certain amount of time after each bid is placed. This is known as a "soft close". It is done intentionally to give bidders time to evaluate if they'd like to continue to bid. It can extend a lot by an indefinite amount of time but ultimately benefits both the bidder and the seller.

I won an item, what do I do now?

Pay and pickup your item. Pickup days are typically the day after the sale ends. Please refer to your invoice for the date, time and location of pickup. Pickup times are firm. If you anticipate having a problem picking up your item(s) at the specific time/location please contact us as quickly as possible.

I forgot my user name and/or password. What do I do?

From the login home screen, select "Forgot Password" and enter your username. Password reset instructions will be sent to the email address registered to your account.

Can you appraise my items?

This is a question we get asked a lot. Typically, yes, we can, but the point of the auction is that the free market decides on the value. If you're looking for an appraisal in order to set a minimum, this is a possibility but not typically how we operate. We haven't found that to be the most successful way to run an auction.

Why do you start at a dollar?

We have found that starting at a dollar is most beneficial to both the seller and the buyer. It allows for the market to dictate the value, not us. When auctions are set at a certain price it makes bidders think that's how much the item costs, and they don't want to go above that. Starting at a dollar garners interest and gains traction. While this occasionally allows the bidder to get an amazing deal, we believe it evens itself out over the course of the auction. It is, in our opinion, the best way to do it and works best for both the buyer and seller.

The auction is getting close to ending and the prices still seem low, should I be nervous?

As stated before, the vast, vast majority of bidding happens on the final day. Please see this example for a better idea. In this example, the auction begins on 07/26 with the starting bid at $1 and a scheduled end time of 08/07. We see a slow and steady increase in price as the auction advances towards the closing date. By 08/07, the evening of auction close, the price has increased to $421. In roughly an hour this price almost quadruples to the final bid of $1,432. This is just one example of many where the final day sees almost all the action. Check them out here.

How will I know if my bid was successful?

When you place your bid, a notification will pop up on the top right. If the box turns green, you're winning that lot, if the box is red, someone has outbid you. You can continue to bid until you're winning the item and you see your name after "Winning User:" for that particular lot.