Posts by Harry Ball

Avoid buyer’s remorse at auction – If you don’t want it, don’t bid

We all know the premise of an auction. Items are up for sale, if you want them you bid, if you don’t want them you don’t bid and when the hammer falls the item is sold. But, in the last year we have seen an increase in people who won’t honour this, especially on our online platforms, and they find themselves experiencing what we describe in the industry as buyer’s remorse.   At one of our previous auctions, we sold a fishing boat and the buyer wanted it delivered to London, which is not something we offer, and she claimed she could not come and collect it. As a compromise, we offered to deliver it to her holiday home in Cornwall, but the buyer pulled out and refused to honour the deal. The same problem arose with another buyer, who to our surprise, turned out to be a fellow auctioneer and should be well aware of how the process works. He bought an item at one of our auctions, but after researching it, he decided he had bid too much and refused to pay. These situations are not only frustrating for the seller, but they’re also extremely time consuming to deal with for our business. A year ago this would happen every one or two months, but over the last ten months, we’re dealing with this problem five or six times every auction. We have a few options on our end if something like this happens. If instructed by the client, we will pursue the buyer for the money, this involves persuading them that they are morally obligated to pay, which in our minds is true. And then we can place the item back in our next auction with the buyer as the client, so that they can recoup their losses. In a few cases we have had to go as far as blocking buyers from all online auctions. If they try to go to another auctioneer the software will show that they have a block on them and the auctioneer can choose not to approve them to bid. We don’t want to have to do any of this and we try our best not to. Mistakes happen and...

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Guide on how to sell at auction

Selling at auction might sound easy enough. Choose an item, take it to an auction house, listen to an auctioneer talk really fast and shout out loads of numbers. Sold! But, there a few things it’s worthwhile knowing before you sell at auction to make the most of the experience. There are two different types of people who sell at auction. Private individuals, which will be most of you reading this, selling an item you might have bought, found, collected or already own. Or, there are those of you who have had a family member or loved one pass away and you’ve been left with a house full of stuff and you might want to sell some or all of it at auction. Here at Windsor Auctions, we cater for anyone and everyone. If you’re in the category of vendor looking to sell a handful or even just one item, we’ll take it all. Unlike many auction houses, we have no minimum price for an item. We sell everything all the way from £55,000 vases and £10,000 table dividers, both of which were sales we made recently, all the way down to a spoon for a tenner, we’re not fussy and would rather it comes to us than ends up in a landfill. And, if you have a whole house that needs clearing, we’ll come over and sort that for you, our own staff, our own lorries and our own teams, unlike most auction houses who will outsource all of this. Once we’ve got to the house, we’ll appraise every item and we’ll provide you with a stock list including all the individual items with descriptions, guide prices and estimates, before you decide what you want to sell and what you want to keep. When you’ve chosen what you want to sell, we’ll decide where to put the reserves on the items, which is the lowest price you’re happy to sell for, to make sure they’re protected. After that you’ll sign what you want to sell over to our care and do not fear, everything is insured, as we decide which of our auctions would be most suitable to place your item and then we’ll put it in front...

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Auction TV shows are great, but come and experience the real thing!

Auction TV shows are great, but come and experience the real thing!

There are countless shows on TV nowadays that give an insight into the world of auctions, from Antiques Roadshow to Antiques Road Trip and Bargain Hunt, among others.   But, none of them can compete with the experience of coming down to a real auction house.   I’m partial to an auction TV show myself, I think the personalities and presenters are great and I’ve even had the pleasure of speaking with many of them, from David Harper to Michael Baggot, on my podcast, The Gavel and The Gabble.   I enjoy the competitive format and varied nature of the shows, they’re fun and it makes for easy viewing on a Sunday evening.   This seems to be an opinion held by a number of households throughout the country, as the viewing figures for these auction TV shows are off the charts.   It’s understandable, because people love the idea of discovering hidden treasure that could just as easily exist in their own homes and seeing how much it might be worth.   And yet, for whatever reason, this does not seem to translate to the number of people who attend auctions in real life.   On any given day as an auctioneer, I’ll see as many interesting and valuable items as are featured on these TV shows, if not more, come through my auction house.   And in terms of entertainment value, it’s far more exciting to go to an auction house for an hour than it is to sit and watch it on TV.   There’s lots of noise, people moving around, plenty of chatter, loads of banter. It’s just an exciting and dynamic place to be.   You don’t even have to come down for the whole day, it could just be for an hour to see the lots you’re interested in and then you can shoot off afterwards.   Watching on TV or bidding online is one thing, but why not come and be a part of the beating heart of the process?   So, I would encourage anyone who likes watching auction TV shows from The Bidding Room to Cash in the Attic or whatever else, to come down and be a part of...

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How does our house clearance service work?

At Windsor Auctions, we’re unique in that we’re not only an auction house, but we also provide a comprehensive house clearance service. This extends to full property clearances and partial clearances and to kick off the process, all you have to do is give us a call or drop us an email and we’ll schedule a consultation with our seasoned auctioneer, Harry Ballin. He will visit the house you want cleared, identify items that are suitable for auction and provide a full run through of how the house clearance service works. Our priority is to reduce waste, so anything that doesn’t fit the auction bill will be given to charity,in some cases we may have to take items down to the local recycling centre, every effort is to made to keep landfill to a minimum. With items that are auctioned off and successfully sold, the proceeds will be returned to the client therefore  offsetting the cost of the house clearance. In the past, there have been occasions where we’ve found unexpected treasures in people’s homes, for example, Chinese hardwood screens that sold for £11,000 or a decorative Buddha statue that went for £10,200, so it’s worth letting us come and take a look as your stuff might be worth more than you think. As for items that aren’t sold, they will be placed in another auction at a reduced price and if they don’t sell once again then the client has the option to either take back the item or we will donate it to charity on their behalf. Our pricing model is adaptable. If the items sold at auction are not enough to cover the house clearance costs then the price depends on how many people are needed to clear the house and how long it takes. We also understand the complexities of waiting for probate money and so we work with solicitors to ensure a smooth process for our clients. Clearances are scheduled within weeks of when clients first contact us, as we aim for a quick turnaround. Our efficient team work Monday to Friday, starting at 9am and they’ll usually be out of the house by 3pm each day, with most clearances taking one or two...

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Guide on how to buy at auction

Everyone likes buying things. Whether it’s clothes, furniture, sports equipment, jewellery or whatever it may be, everyone likes buying things. At an auction there is something for everyone and if you go about it the right way, there are some real bargains on offer, which makes the whole process quite exciting. I know the stereotypes around auctions are that they’re boring, stuffy and old-fashioned, but that is not the case here at Windsor auctions. We pride ourselves on creating a relaxed but professional environment for those in attendance, there’s chatter in the room, a few jokes thrown in and it’s not just someone barking numbers at you. And even if you can’t attend in person, we work with a number of online services including The Saleroom and Easy Live auction, who accommodate hundreds of our oversees buyers. Now that you’ve been convinced that buying at auction is a great idea, I’ll give you a piece of free advice, which also happens to be the most important thing to remember. Always do your research. Ask as many questions and find out as much information about an item as you possibly can before bidding on it. If you ask your auctioneer for a condition report, they have to provide it and then you’ll know whether there’s any chips, what kind of condition the item is in, is there a hairline crack, does it have any dents, is there a bit missing etc. And if anything in the condition report is incorrect and you end up buying the item then you will get a full refund. Even better than asking for a condition report is if you attend the auction in person, it’s worth handling the items. Nothing will give you a better idea for the condition of an item than picking it up in the flesh, looking at it under an eyeglass, or if it’s a piece of furniture, testing it out, and just getting a really good feel for the item, otherwise you will never truly learn. But, if you don’t do your research, don’t find out about the item and have no idea what condition it is in then to put it bluntly, that’s entirely your problem, and it...

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