Ever worked and worked and worked to get a great beach house / ski lodge / overseas trip donated, only to have two of them show up as donations in the same year?
When it rains, it pours.
Or maybe you’re challenged in that two donors have similar homes, and you’re not sure if it makes sense to sell both them in the live auction.
Here are some suggestions for determining which vacation home should be sold in the live auction.
A home within driving distance. All other things being relatively equal (e.g. similar quality of property, availability of choice weeks, popularity of destination, bedrooms), a trip that allows me to throw the kids in the car and drive will be a better live auction choice than one that requires a flight. For instance, here in Washington, D.C., Outer Banks beach homes are an easier sell than Florida.
Any home with no or few date restrictions. If the fabulous ski home isn’t available during ski season, the value typically diminishes. Homes located in year-round destinations can be sold, but if your donated property isn’t one of them, relegate it to silent. Opt to sell the home with the fewest date restrictions in the live.
Any home whose donor is attending the auction. If Joe donated his Beaver Creek cabin and plans on attending the auction … whereas Nancy donated her Colorado cabin but isn’t attending your gala … put Joe’s item in the live. All things being equal, I’d rather the donor be in the crowd so he can be moved by my complimentary description and stellar sale, and spontaneously authorize the sale of a second week, if he’s moved to do so.
Any home whose donor is well-liked. A few months ago, I sold a one-week stay in a Monaco apartment. The apartment was attractive and well-situated, but it wasn’t screaming Ritz-Carlton luxury. Nonetheless, it was incredibly popular, because the donor was incredibly popular.
Any home someone (a teenager?) would describe as “totally sick.” If you are in touch with today’s vernacular, “totally sick” refers to quality – not influenza. A home that has exceptional features (elevator, helicopter landing pad, personal staff, and the like) is a live auction item. This is in part because these unique characteristics may need to be verbally explained to the crowd.
Any home offering a full week. In the USA, we generally take one-week vacations. If Mom, Dad, and the kids are being packed up and transported somewhere, a week stay will be more attractive to them, in most cases. Of course a long weekend can also work, but the distance of the home must make it reasonable. An 8-hour flight to arrive at a home for a 4-night stay doesn’t sound as compelling as a week stay, especially when kids are involved. Keep the distance of the home in mind.
And what should you do if you must put both of your similar homes in the live auction?
Offer the better one (as determined by the criteria above) first. If the back-up bidder is chagrined that he didn’t win the trip but is still committed to the location, the second home might grab his fancy.
Silent auction or live auction can be a big decision, but this should help you keep it straight if your auctioneer isn’t offering advice.