Category Archives: Estate Sales Help & Tips
Estate Sales News traveled to the Morgan Park section of Chicago on Tuesday to meet and speak with nationally Judy Martin, a certified appraiser ISA, CAPP, long time estate liquidator and owner of The Perfect Thing, a high end consignment shop in Wheaton, Il. She is a Director of the ISA (International Society of Appraisers) past president 2009-2011, she was a lead instructor for them as well.
Next week she will be conducting an estate sale in Morgan Park for the estate of Jack and Marjorie Simmerling. Jack Simmerling was a well known Chicago artist and he and his wife had many interesting collections. Here is part one of our interview.
Yesterday when I went to the hair salon I was waiting for a shampoo and a lady sitting next to me over heard my conversation about today’s trip to Chicago to cover an estate sale.
The woman asked me what I did and how I was involved. When I explained to her that I was the editor of Estate Sales News, an online source to learn about estate sales, what they are, the process, how to find and hire an estate sale company, etc. she said do you have a business card?
She proceeded to tell me about two different friends. Different circumstances and locations, but both of them had homes filled with personal items and they needed to sell the contents off. One had just gotten divorced and the contents were part of her settlement, the other needed to drastically downsize.
Estate Sales News is not a site listing for estate sale companies or estate sales, but we do provide you with the information about what an estate sale is, where to look for estate sale companies, what to look for in an estate sale company, interviewing, the estate sale process, how they price, security, and many more facets of the estate sale industry. EstateSales.Net, the largest and oldest estate sale listing site has us as a resource for estate sale companies listed on their site.
Recently we have had estate sale companies contacting us about how to find insurance, the clean out process, marketing, and a host of other topics of benefit to them.
If you are looking for information about estate sales, news about the estate sale industry and of course news worthy estate sales we hope you’ll find it here or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Back from Chicago later today.
Estate Sales News learned recently of an estate liquidator whose alert staff may have prevented a possible theft. We spoke with this liquidator for permission to write this article on condition of anonymity.
Several weeks ago an estate sale company was conducting a sale in a multi-story home. With a cashier at the front door for check out and staff on the first and second floor the owner of the company had gone down to the basement to check out the progress of the sale there.
The was no one waiting at the check out and so the cashier peered out the front doorway of the home for a look at the weather. What she saw was shocking. When she looked up to see the sky she saw a customer tossing out a comforter from a second story bedroom window. She immediately called to her boss in a non-panicked voice and the estate sale owner went outside to find a man waiting in a vehicle. The customer still in the home was putting some other items together on a shelf. The man in the vehicle assured the estate sale owner he had the cash to pay, however, that was unacceptable to the liquidator and he took the item back into the home. He then located the other customer and informed her that she was to leave the sale immediately and he escorted her from the home to the waiting vehicle. The two individuals protested, however, the estate sale liquidator informed them to leave immediately and not show up at any of their sales again.
This is a very general description of what took place. The important scenario here is that an alert crew, and a professional knowledgeable liquidator dealt with what could have become a very difficult and costly problem.
If you are looking for an estate liquidator be prudent and ask them how they handle security and what they do if there is a problem. It should be noted that without unquestionable proof of theft this was the best solution to the problem. This liquidator did get side photos of the individuals involved and a license plate photo and shared this with his local fellow liquidators.
A professional, experienced estate sale company will do everything possible to protect your personal property.
In today’s hustle and bustle world the stresses of moving or downsizing can be overlooked.
The estate sale company may have estate liquidations booked week after week, but it is important that they focus on each client and sale as they occur. Speaking with your chosen estate sale professional about any concerns you have early in the process can help eliminate your stress as the seller and any tensions that could arise later.
Sellers whether they are moving, downsizing or going to an assisted living residence require patient understanding from the estate liquidator. If you have concerns about the removal of the items you may be keeping prior to the estate sale company beginning their work be sure to share your concerns with them. The professional estate liquidator can often offer suggestions based on experience. Although they may have a full schedule, listening to your concerns is helpful to them, but keep in mind they have other clients to listen to as well.
If you are new to the estate liquidation business taking courses through an organization like CRTS (Certified Relocation Transition Specialists) can help you better understand and work with the needs of your clients.
Estate sale companies also have their own stresses to deal with. If you are conducting weekly estate sales and responsible for the clean out after the sale, you will need to have a crew working on the staging of the upcoming sale and a cleanout crew. If you don’t have a separate cleanout crew then you will require a reliable cleanout service to leave the property broom cleaned.
Communication between clients and estate sale companies is paramount for success for both sides.
Running an estate sale company requires you to be proficient in many areas and wear many hats. Knowledge of personal property (antique to new) marketing (internet & print including the use of social media), enabling those who have suffered a loss to move through the liquidation process with empathy and understanding (social work of a kind) while trying to achieve successful results are just part of the estate liquidators jobs and one of the important areas we will discuss today is how to control the public before and during an estate sale.
As many in our audience are aware, EstateSalesNews.com was recently in Sierra Madre, CA visiting with Crown City Estate Sales for the sale of a gentleman who worked with Native Americans (at the time he was called an Indian Agent in the early 1920s) and a photographer for National Geographic.
His small home and property was filled beyond capacity (a hoarder house most would call it) with collections of valuable Native American artifacts that had been given to him by the tribes he worked with and a host of many other collections. To get a perspective of what Crown City Estate Sales faced please visit our Front Page from last Monday for the interview with Jackie Wise Fimbres and a brief video tour of the property. The sale has lasted four days, today being the conclusion.
I spoke with Jackie before the sale started last Thursday, July 17th and she informed me that at 1pm she already had 40 people waiting (this is a quiet residential area and street) and the sale wasn’t going to start until the following morning. She expressed to me that although she doesn’t always use numbers she recognized the growing crowd could become a problem without some type of order for admittance so she proceeded to hand out numbers to the gathering crowd. I received a message from her at the end of Friday stating that in that one day alone 1,234 people had attended her sale. Utilizing the number system (1,2,3….) she was able to control the flow not only in the small jammed house, but in the basement, garage, small out building and yard in the back.
It is very important for the safety of the public and estate sale staff, along with the protection of the property and security for the items for sale to control the flow of people entering and exiting an estate sale. Not every estate sale requires numbers. Some estate liquidators use a sign up list and others use a type of lottery system using playing cards, while some may not use any system at all. Rural locales unless they contain collections such as this property did probably do not require such systems. Each estate liquidator makes a judgement on what will best work for the estate sale, always keeping in mind that they are working for the seller(s).
When hiring an estate sale company ask how they handle the public. Remember, not every sale requires a number system or list, however, it is a good decision on your part to understand how the liquidator you are choosing thinks and works.
On Monday, June 14th we published a video of an interview and quick visual tour of the jammed pack house in Sierra Madre, CA where a four day estate sale will take place starting this Friday, July 18th by Crown City Estate Sales.
In the video the owner of Crown City talked about the preparation and work for this sale.
The heirs of this gentleman spent a year in this home prior to hiring Jackie removing the items that had sentiment and emotional attachment to them. Then they hired Crown City to come and conduct the sale.
This sale will take place in a small house, basement, one car garage and attached building used as an apartment along with a small patio/yard area.
Jackie and Frank spent the first week sorting out and eliminating the trash. The owners did just what we all keep telling them – don’t throw anything out! As the result 45 small dumpsters were required after carefully going through each and every box, closet and cabinet in the house. With such a small house space was premium and nothing that had value was discarded. With over 30 years in the business Jackie and Frank are very careful to not eliminate anything that would have monetary value. It is also a good policy to protect the public from searching through what could be hazardous or dangerous (broken glass, old medications etc.).
After removing unsellable items and trash, the work began in earnest sorting through all the contents left. Multiple collections of various items including arrow heads, butterflies, buttons, art pottery, sterling silver (an 8 foot table is required just for this and the sterling was spread out throughout the house). Careful room by room sorting was done. Jackie, Frank, and their staff had spent 18 days at this property up through last Friday, July 11th when Estate Sales News was there. From early morning until well into the evening they have been working with Jackie even taking home the button collection to bag after a long day in the home. This home does not have air conditioning and the windows do not open. The only source of air was the front and back doors open and portable fans provided by Crown City Estate Sales. Working in a dusty very warm cramped space takes patience and experience to get through the day.
The work continues this week with displaying as much as possible initially in a very small space as well as pricing. The heirs have done their part by giving Crown City unencumbered access to the property and letting them do the job they hired them to do. Trust between client and liquidator is very important.
Not every property requires such an immense amount of work, but preparing for an estate sale is not an easy task. It requires knowledge, experience, a strong back, and a great staff and very important trust between client and the estate sale company.
Estate Sales News included all these different terms for estate sales because they apply depending on your location in the United States.
If you are moving or downsizing and not taking most of your belongings with you there are some important steps to follow.
Decide what you want or will need where you are going. Pack those items and if possible arrange to store them in a storage facility, with a friend or in one room of the property that can be securely closed off.
Once your personal items are packed away it is time to find your estate sale company or estate liquidator. Following guidelines provided here on EstateSalesNews.com (for choosing your estate liquidator) when you show your chosen company through they will be seeing the items to be sold. Estate sale companies have to make decisions about excepting or passing on a sale based on the amount and type of items to be sold to see how that will affect there balance sheet. They have a variety of costs including monthly exposure (internet), advertising, staffing, etc. to consider.
A word of advice to sellers. Please don’t feel it’s personal if a an estate sale company turns you down. They are a business and make business decisions. These may be personal items to you, but for them it is whether they can make a profit to provide for their families and themselves.
A topic that has been an on going problem for many estate sale companies and sellers is when the seller(s)s decide after an estate sale company has gone through the property, prepped all the items to be sold and priced and the seller decides they want to take some of those item(s) with them. Sellers your job is to look carefully and thoroughly through everything ahead of asking a liquidator to come to your property and remove any possible items you may want. You can always change your mind and give them to the estate sale company to sell, but removing anything that was to be included in the sale and priced is not good business. Many estate sale companies have a paragraph in the contract allowing for the charging of a commission on items that were to be in the sale and removed. The commission is usually based on what the item would have sold for on the opening day of the sale.
When you are moving or downsizing take your time and go room to room and if necessary box to box in the attic or basement and choose what items you will be taking with you and leave the rest for the estate sale company. Don’t throw anything out. Let your chosen professional make that determination. If you have done your due diligence, made the best choice possible and have trust and confidence in your estate liquidator let the estate sale or event commence.