How it Works

1: Consultation

What happens when you place that first call? An auctioneer on our staff will set up a free no obligation consultation with you. This consists of a visit to the property, whether personal property or real estate.

Our services are reimbursed with a commission of your auction proceeds. These rates vary depending on the option you choose and the property to be sold. On the initial visit we will discuss your different options and the advantages and disadvantages to all of them. We will also go over the available dates to find a day that is agreeable to both parties for the event.

2: Decide Venue

We offer two different types of auctions:

Onsite Auction
An onsite auction is the most traditional auction package we offer. This type of auction is what most of us remember from our childhood years. We would get up early on a Saturday morning and ride down to Mr. Gunn’s farm where all of our friends and neighbors had gathered. The auctioneer was selling items and telling jokes while we ate hotdogs and ham sandwiches.

We have been able to streamline and modernize this type of auction, but the core of the event remains the same. The Fred Wilson Auction Service (FWAS) crew will sort through all the items in your home or the estate and carefully prepare all the items for auction. A few days before the event, we will set up large tents to protect your items and the buyers from the weather elements. The day of the auction we will sell all the auction items to the crowd that attends. If there is any remaining trash, we can clean everything up for you and give you an empty and broom swept home.

Advantages:  Offers a “country auction” atmosphere for buyers. Most buyers prefer this setting for an estate auction.

Online Auctions
Online auctions are the newest and most popular option for our clients. The Internet has become a very powerful tool in the auction industry. All of auctions (Options A, B) are advertised and pictured through many different websites. An online auction is unique in that all of the bidding is done online.

FWAS will come to your home or estate and catalog and take detailed photographs of everything you have to sell. All this information is then placed into an online auction. The format is somewhat the same as an eBay style auction but there are a few very distinct advantages with FWAS Auctions.


  • With options A the typically participation is between 50 and 150 people. With an online auction the participation is almost always over 1,000 buyers. Some online auctions have 10,000+ buyers that participate. The staggering number of participating buyers could never be reproduced with a local live auction offering the same products.
  • Bidders can bid 24/7 on your items. At a live auction they only have a short window to place a bid on the item(s) they want. We can process an absentee bid for them at a live auction, but they are not emotionally involved in the bidding process if they do not bid on their own. An online auction allows them to active bid at 1 A.M. if they wish.
  • The items can be sold on-site with no parking concerns. The only people that will be stopping at the home are the willing bidders. These buyers will come at different times and you will avoid a large crowd on your property at any given time.
  • Weather will have no impact on your event. If there is a torrential downpour during your live auction, many buyers will stay home. An online auction will continue unaffected by weather.
  • Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In, can take your buyers directly to the auction and allow them to bid at their desk during working hours. The vast majority of our population simply does not have time to go to an auction and stand around all day. This allows them to have fun and participate with very little time invested.
  • All of the online auctions have an auto-extend feature. On eBay a person can swoop in at the last second and “snipe” a bid. If item on the FWAS Auctions site receives a bid in the last 2 minutes that it is online, it automatically extends for an additional 3 minutes. In theory, an item could go on forever if the bidders continued to place bids on the item.

3: Contract

The next step in the process is a contract. Our contract is a two page document spelling out the services we agree to provide for you as our client.

This contract is required by Virginia. If you have hired an auctioneer that does not have a contract he may be in violation of this requirement. Our contract will have the details of the auction such as the dates and commission rates. This contract protects you as a seller against default from an auction company. The representing auctioneer and seller will both receive a signed original copy of this contract.

4: Advertising

Then it is on to the “elbow grease” work. Our staff will take an inventory of the items to be auctioned. They will take pictures of many of the items or real estate. This inventory list and pictures will be used in the advertisements for your auction.

The ads for your auction will be placed on various web sites, used in color brochures, mailing lists, newspaper ads, and other media. The success of your auction hangs on the hinges of the exposure for your auction. It has been proven over and over that the more competitors (buyers) you have at your auction, the better your items will sell.

5: Sorting

So now we have a date picked out, a signed contract, and the ads are in place and grabbing attention. Our staff will now go through every single box, bag, closet, attic, hole, crawl space, etc. on your property.

Each item we find that is marketable through auction will be prepared for the auction. The personal items (i.e. family pictures, personal documents, hidden cash, ECT…) are set aside for your inspection. We will never dispose of or sell items of such nature without consulting you. If you live out of the area these items will be packed and shipped to you. The garbage will also be set aside until after the auction. The end of this phase will have all the items prepared for auction and separated from the personal effects.

6: Set Up

The auction venue will determine how we set it up.

On Site
This set up will include large tents, fans, tables, food concessions, and a mobile office. These items will be used as space allows and weather dictates. The day before your auction we will set up the entire auction as it will be sold. From the moment the first item is moved from the home, FWAS will provide someone to remain on site with the items until after the auction. A guard will stay overnight to provide you with security of mind that your items are in great hands.

There may be a day that our staff will conduct an open house to allow the prospect buyers to browse through and inspect the items they are hoping to win. The FWAS staff will handle the entire event so you don’t have to worry about playing the role of host.

7: Auction Time!

Finally, the day is here. The auction will start promptly on the advertised time and the day will be a blur from there.

Customers will start to line up to register with our cutting edge computer system. 

People from all over the country come to our auctions. Think of all these people gathering their own treasures and getting ready to spend a lifetime enjoying them. It is amazing to watch the excitement and social buzz only an auction can provide.

The last item has been sold and the final customers are paying for their purchases. Many times if the weather permits we can remove all of our equipment the day of the auction. If there are no complications, you will receive payment within 30 days after the auction.

Time’s up! For the online auction sellers the intensity heightens as the closing times approach.

All over the country people are intently watching their computer screens. With sweaty palms and racing hearts they watch the count-down. A few frantic last minute bids secure their treasure. A sigh of relief signifies they see their bid number displayed as the winner. A few minutes later they will receive an email stating that the payment has been deducted from their credit card and the item will be shipped the next day. In the event the buyer is located near the auction, they can stop in pick up the items at a pre-determined time. FWAS staff will be there to protect your interest as a seller and ensure everything goes smoothly. As a seller, you will not have to ship any items. FWAS will handle all the shipping hassles.

8: Clean Up

The last step in the process is the trash removal. All the items that were left from the auction and the garbage from the house will be taken away and your floors will be swept. So you have gone from a mountain of responsibility to a clean swept home and money in hand for the items which have been sold.

What our clients say!

I have been in the gallery business for 45 + years along with being the Managing Director of Fine Art for a major auction house. I have acquired paintings from every major auction house in the US, Europe and Canada. Having never purchased anything through Fred Wilson Auction Service until recently, I can honestly say that the experience was over the top from the Fred Wilson Auction Service App to Fred Wilson’s honesty and service. To give you an example, I left a High Bid on an item in his recent high end sale and bought the work at 1/3rd of my secret bid. After purchasing the painting, I received confirmation of the purchase and an invoice. “Trust” is the key word for my experience with Fred Wilson Auction Service.


Although I can’t promise that everyone will receive the exact shipping service that I did, I can say that Fred personally made sure that I received my acquisition in a timely manner. From experience, I can assure you that the most difficult task from most auction houses is to arrange delivery. What makes the difference when working with Fred Wilson Auction Service, is Fred answers the phone. 

Brian R.   Dallas, Texas

— Prompt Service

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