Career Paths are Leading to the Auction Block

October 1st, 2013 by Ori Klein

Ah, the excitement of auctions. Everyone has seen them or at the very least heard about them – from the auctioneer calling numbers to the addictive competitive bidding until that final drop of the gavel. They’re popular for everything from personal property to fine art to famed celebrity belongings. Currently, the most thriving item in this area is real estate. The auction field has many real estate professionals as well as traditional job seekers strongly considering a career in this tantalizing arena.

The increase of real estate auctions hit an all-time high after the market crash in 2008, when scores of home and business owners needed to liquidate assets in a limited amount of time while still getting some return on their original investment. Since then, the auction method of sale has quickly caught on and is now seen as a viable option for property owners, buyers and investors. In the process, this burgeoning area of real estate has become a desirable career field with endless potential for those already in real estate and many in search of their ideal job.

Entrepreneur highlights this profession as a lucrative one, advising, “The main requirement for starting a real estate auction service is that you, a partner, or employee must be a licensed auctioneer. The business can focus on real estate in general, or be more specific and specialize in one particular type of real estate such as vacation properties or commercial buildings. The business creates revenue by way of a commission percentage that is based on the total selling price of the property be auctioned, and the commission rate charged often varies between 3 and 10 percent.”

Some are being attracted to this field despite already holding a position in a steady job where they have years of experience. Laura Mancinelli, Florida Auctioneer at Prosperity Auctions, is a prime example. “I was in Human Resources for over 20 years and one of the companies I did HR for was an auto auction company,” Mancinelli recalls. “We sold approximately 2000 cars every week. I got to know the auctioneers over the years and just loved the energy of the auction and asked them how you learned to do what they did. They told me you had to go to auction school and get a license and take a state exam. I decided right there and then that when I moved to Florida that was exactly what I was going to do and I did it!”

As Mancinelli says, to enter this field you must obtain your Auctioneering license. There are several reputable Auctioneering schools and academies, and some colleges are also approved for auction license education by state licensing agencies. Most schools provide various networking leads and opportunities for students, which is a key component to success in the industry. Beth Rose, owner of Rose Auction Group and third-generation auctioneer, says that industry professionals are extremely approachable and willing to advise. “Auctioneers are some of the hardest working yet most giving people I have ever seen in any industry,” Rose comments. “They will share with you their accomplishments and how to get started.”

Networking is key in this industry as in any business. Auctioneers starting out can make numerous contacts by joining professional organizations like the National Auctioneers Association (NAA) as well as their state-specific auctioneers association. Not only does this provide members with the opportunity to form invaluable connections, but it also adds credibility to their background and reputation. Other beneficial contacts for beginning auctioneers can be created from real estate brokers, lawyers and development companies.

Let’s not forget the most important (and obvious) requirement when entering this field: the ability to sell. “Sell the property for as much as possible, as this will earn the business a higher commission fee,” Entrepreneur recommends. “This will make your client very happy, which in turn helps to build a good reputation in the industry and guarantees future real estate auction clients.” Simple yet spot-on advice.

Linda Terry, a highly regarded and seasoned Auctioneer/Broker/Partner at Tranzon Fox in Virginia, sums it up best. “If you are a natural at selling, and are convinced that auctions are an effective way to sell, and you are patient and persistent in working your chosen path, you will be able to make a good living,” Terry says. “Attend to as many auctions as you can, decide what you like to sell, find a mentor to learn from, attend CAI (Certified Auctioneers Institute), appraisal classes, and specialty sessions in your chosen field and never stop educating yourself.”

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