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comicauctioneerYes, people in the United States can sell (by auction or otherwise) their own property themselves.

In other words, without the use of an auctioneer, real estate licensee, appraiser, surveyor, attorney … an owner can “do it himself.”

Regarding live auctions, even in states which require licensing, there is the exemption that an owner can auction their own property, so long as the property was not acquired for the purposes of resale and/or the person is not holding himself out as an auctioneer (engaging in the business.)

Regarding online auctions, online auction software makes it even easier for owners to sell their own property, and similarly no license is necessary here either. As such, the owner utilizes an online auction platform presumably for some nominal fee.

The issue of owners selling their own real or personal property at auction was really of little concern to auctioneers until about 1995. At that time, eBay created a way people could “auction” their own property online.

However, eBay actually made the traditional auction market even more robust, as it increased the demand for product for those selling on eBay, thus increasing hammer prices all over the world for sellers lacking the expertise or willingness to sell on eBay themselves.

Several years later, other companies started developing online auction software for auctioneers, allowing auctioneers to sell real and personal property to a world-wide audience.

Interestingly, some of these software platforms are so easy to use (and do not limit themselves to auctioneer clients,) that some owners are using these platforms themselves to sell their property, without the use of an traditional auctioneer.

Asking the question, “Can anyone auction their own property?” 30 years ago involved a technical issue — a legal issue. As we ask this question today, it’s clear in light of today’s technology, anyone can indeed auction their own property, and especially online.

Similarly, I was taking my 18-month-old granddaughter with me to the store, and asked her, “Do you want to drive?” knowing probably not. Ask her when she’s 16 years old with a license and I suspect she’ll be driving.

While very few people feel they have the confidence and skill to conduct a live auction as well as a professional auctioneer, online auction software makes it even easier for those same sellers to think about doing it themselves.

Case in point: We’re doing a live auction for a 501(c)(3) organization on Saturday night in Cincinnati, Ohio. Our contact told us, “We had looked at putting the items online ourselves for the members to bid, but decided they would enjoy a live auction much more.”

My conclusion? Not only can anyone auction their own property, but the Internet and associated software will increase the number of people considering it.

I would not be surprised in ten years that there are basically either live auctions where people hire auctioneers, or online auctions where owners auction their own property.

We previously wrote about how we saw the auction industry in 2050 here https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/the-auction-industry-in-2050/, and I remain convinced.

For those who say that online auction software companies will solely cater to auctioneers, it seems hard to imagine that these companies will not try to leverage the much larger audience of the general public and/or that other online auction software companies won’t emerge who will try to capture this larger market.

And for those who think, “We know the market, and know how to market …” Google already advertises to people who have been searching the web, and the public increasingly finds the auction (the property,) rather than the auction (the property) finding them.

Would it be so hard to imagine an online auction site in the future where everyone was a member? Once that database is populated, it would be academic to contact members about specific property, or for members to search for what they desired.

Okay, maybe not everyone is in the database, but does everyone need to be? Auction marketing doesn’t find everyone, no matter the saturation.

If I had asked my father, who was born in 1930, if he ever considered auctioning his own property himself (being his own auctioneer) — he would have answered, “Of course not …” citing that he lacked the skill and expertise.

I wonder in a few years how my granddaughter will answer that same question?

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.