How To Choose An Estate Sale Company – Part 2

retro telephoneChoosing an estate sale company is a process. In part 1 we discussed where to look for a company, what you should be looking for in an estate liquidator, and how many estate sale companies you might consider. Now we start part 2.

  1. The telephone interview.
  2. The face to face interview.

1) You have hopefully decided on calling at least three estate sale companies and now it’s time to speak with them. It is best to write out a list of questions to ask them and use the same list for each liquidator your call. Be sure you are seated where you can jot down notes as you call each liquidator. We do not recommend you call an estate sale company on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. These are usually their sale days. Monday thru Thursday is probably the best time and usually between 8am – 8pm. Remember they have lives and families too. Some companies may post their hours on their websites and for others anytime will do. One thing an estate liquidator doesn’t do is leave their home without their phone.

a) Hopefully you will reach the estate sale liquidator on the first attempt. If you go to voice mail be sure to clearly leave your name, phone number, time, date , and reason for your call. Lack of cell phone service, speaking to another client, and other clients could keep them from answering, however, if you do not receive a call back within 24 hours from someone at the estate sale company, hopefully you have a fourth choice to call. It is time to move on.

b) Now is the time to ask such questions as how long have they been working and conducting estate sales, how did they get started in the liquidation business, ask to speak to other sellers they have worked for, and what openings they have on their current calendar for an estate sale. Also ask them if they have any professional affiliations or designations.

We recommend you do not set any definite appointments until after speaking with all the estate liquidators you are considering and speaking to their former clients. This is why making notes is important. Keep it simple, but let them know you are giving them serious consideration.

2) Now that you have spoken to the liquidators you decided might best serve your needs it is time for the face to face interview.

Whether you are impressed with two or three call them back and set up the interview at your property. Do not schedule them close together. A morning interview, afternoon interview, and if it works for both parties an evening interview or the following day. It is not a wise practice to have them passing each other as they come to your door.

Again have a list of questions prepared after you have shown them through the property, explained your goals, told them what you’re selling and have listened with an open mind to their presentation.

Be sure when you walk them through the property that you point out any items that will not be included in the sale (sellers, it is critical that you have made your final decisions of what’s to be sold before inviting any estate sale company to your home). Estate sale liquidators base their decisions (yes they can turn down  your sale and that’s ok if you don’t have enough to make the sale profitable for them).

When you sit down to listen to their presentation that is the time to ask them what they charge (but it is not the most important item of discussion and basing a decision solely on commission can be a costly mistake). Some of your questions if not included in their presentation should include how do they handle crowd control (what method do they utilize for entrance into your sale),  how will they promote your estate sale (print media, internet sites, social media, (do you have to pay for any advertising) ask about the experience and number of staff they use, how long will it take to stage your home, what kind of security do they use, do they provide any extra lighting if needed and wrapping and bags or boxes for buyers. Also ask them how they will research any items that they may need more information about and also how they price items. Sellers please keep in mind that you are interviewing professional liquidators and they should be knowledgeable about what the current estate sale market will allow in prices. Each area of the country is different and prices can vary by location.

* The estate sale companies should review their contract paragraph by paragraph. Be sure if you have any questions or concerns you ask them at this time.

We will discuss the estate sale contract and what to look for in part 3.

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