Category Archives: Estate Sales Help & Tips
When you choose your estate sale company along with a complete and thorough review of the estate sale contract, ask to see proof of liability insurance and do not be surprised when the estate liquidator asks to see a copy of a homeowner policy. In todays’ world it is important that both the liquidator and the property be covered by insured.
If the estate sale company belongs to any associations ask to see some type of ID (appraisers, education, etc.)
More and more liquidators are bringing professionally prepared brochures, but they should contain pertinent information about the company, name, address, phone number, email address, how long they have been in business, (license number if required by state or municipality) educational information (if any i.e. appraisal or fine art courses, estate liquidation courses), where they list their sales and advertise, and a list of their services showing fees or commission charges. It should also include if they have insurance or are bonded.
Following all this information, the estate liquidator should take photographs (if possible) to start the listing of the sale.
Access to the property should be arranged for pricing and staging and the dates and times of the sale.
If either party has any concerns about the sale this is the time to express these concerns. If the home is overflowing (commonly referred to by many as a hoarder) and you have an issue with this term discuss it with the estate liquidator. Television shows have promoted the use of this term and many times this can help encourage buyers to attend the sale. The term is not intended to be disrespectful.
As a seller when the estate sale company is ready to leave the property you should have trust and confidence and if not this is the time to settle any further concerns. You have hired a professional to sell the personal property and they need to do their job. Keep in mind most estate liquidators conduct sale after sale and they want your estate sale to succeed too so eliminating concerns and reducing your stress is good for you, the seller and the estate sale company.
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When you are interviewing either as a perspective seller or as an estate sale company this is a business venture and as with all businesses a contract must be in place to set out in writing the terms, responsibilities, and consequences of the estate sale.
This is protection for both parties. It is not just about a date, address, or commission/fee. It is about who is responsible for utilities (seller), who prices and stages the contents being sold (the estate sale company), who advertises and pays for the ads (usually the estate sale company), which party will get the permit if needed, how will the sale be paid out (daily, at the end of the last day, within a precise time period after the sale), will the seller be paid by cash or cheque, and the list of what must be in the contract goes on. Please use our search feature to read other articles about the estate sale contract.
Each estate liquidator has their own contract that should delineate all terms including the consequences of removing items from a sale that were to be included (it is common practice for a seller to be charged the commission/fee for items removed once the contract is signed and was not excluded), but this is up to each liquidator. Sellers should make sure they know who is responsible for the clean out of the property after the sale, how it will be done, will there be additional costs or fees for that service and when it will be done.
It is the responsibility of the estate sale company to review the entire contract with the seller before signage. It is the obligation of the seller to ask the estate sale company any questions they may have and understand all the terms and responsibilities. If you aren’t sure, ask for a night to review it, seek legal advice, but once the decision is made and the contract is signed, remember this is business, especially for the estate sale company. They pay mortgages, utilities, staff, etc.
Estate sale companies work hard to achieve the best results possible. It is in the interest of both parties. The better the financial results, the better payout for seller and the better commission for the estate liquidator. They cannot guarantee results or control weather or economic conditions. Understanding what cannot be controlled is also key to a successful working business relationship.
A friend posted an article on Facebook that appeared in the Washington Post on March 27th written by Jura Koncius in the Home and Garden section. The article was titled Stuff it: Millennials nix their parents’ treasures. Here is the link to the complete article
Today as ThrowBack Thursday it seemed appropriate to discuss what is taking place with baby boomers downsizing and moving across the country and this article and my friends’ comments about her own family and dilemna along with the 930 comments that were on the internet WAPO.ST is a testament to what the baby boomer generation faces.
The boomer generation is the largest group of individuals to date. The amount of “stuff” that we have collected is larger than any other generation. Many of us inherited our parents and grandparents possessions and with the monetary success that many baby boomers have enjoyed they used their money to purchase and fill their homes with furniture, art, household items, collectibles and just about anything you could think of. The job of downsizing has become a burden. Especially when the younger generations have purchased their own belongings, want different styles and are unaware of the value of many of your possessions in your home. The minimalist movement has also had an effect.
With millennials lack of interest in their parents possessions this is the time to find and hire an estate sale company or estate liquidator. They understand the plight of baby boomers and understand the task of preparing and selling their personal property. Estate sale companies are aware of the thousands of estate sales that are required and taking place weekly to assist this on the move generation.
What is important is finding an estate sale company that can accomplish the task in a professional manner with honesty and integrity. Knowing what to ask and expect from an estate liquidator is vital and no one source can guarantee you that the choice you make will be the right one. Following on Judy Martin’s article about “Why Bother To Research” the same principle applies to making a knowledgeable decision that requires you to do your own due diligence (research) as well as using the resources of others to choose an estate sale company to place your trust and confidence in to sell your personal property.
My eyes are blurry from looking at china pattern after china pattern. I am in the midst of pricing items for sale. My clients have entrusted me with their treasures and my job is to price them correctly. However, first I have to identify each item and then give them a value. But, that is my job and that is why I was hired.
The days of guessing are over. With the vast amount of resources available there is no excuse for guessing. Some things I know off the top of my head because I have sold them a few hundred if not thousands of times. But the market moves very quickly and what was a valid selling price six months ago might not be relevant today. Especially when working with metals; Their market moves week by week.
I have a huge library of resource books. The most common books I use are pattern and mark identification books. I know there are great mark identification websites. There is also a wealth of pattern websites, be it porcelain, silver, ceramic, or glass. However, I find it easier to sit with my books while I am standing over the items. Going back and forth on the internet has a tendency to drive me to distraction which is quite easy on some days. So, I take each category that I am working with and diligently look up each item both for identification, age, and condition and then I set my price.
I charge a good amount of money to my client for the work I do, I won’t apologize for that because I know I am worth every penny and then some. What I do is a profession, not a part-time gig, but a profession . I study and work at what I do everyday. Actually I probably don’t charge enough for some jobs due to the amount of time it takes to research the items involved. But I do figure for every unusual item I am researching I am also learning something that I can put in my brain database for another day.
Not only am I researching the items for sale from the vantage point of receiving the most appropriate amount of money, I am researching the item for sale so that I can sell it to the public. I always say “you can’t sell what you don’t know”. Many times I have to educate the buyer as to what thy are buying. It is important that I speak from authority about the items I sell.
All of these issues go to the bottom line – I have sold the items correctly, my client is happy, my customer is happy, and I am compensated fairly. Happy Researching!