Category Archives: Estate Sales Help & Tips

Estate Sale Video Part 2 with Judy Martin – Chicago Historic Home

Here is part two of our interview from last week with Judy Martin, ISA, CAPP at the Simmerling estate in the Morgan Park area of Chicago. The sale beings Thursday, August 14 and concludes on the 16th.

In this video Judy will describe many of the collections for sale and what has happened to values of many items. When we visited Judy the staging of the estate sale was a work in progress.

Here is a link to Judy Martin’s website for more information on her, her company’s services and The Perfect Thing Shop in Wheaton, IL.

Estate Sales Friday – What You Can See And Learn

Estate Sale signEstate Sales News has received many comments on our part one interview with Judy Martin, ISA, CAPP. Our dialogue will continue with Judy on Monday where she takes us on a tour of the home in Morgan Park Chicago. It should be pointed out that this sale was in the process of staging, cleaning, and hadn’t been priced. It provides a good perspective about the work it takes to prepare for an estate sale.

When you walk into an estate sales today take the time to look around at how it’s been staged, whether the items have been cleaned, and if the electronics have been tested. Remember that the items sold at estate sales are usually sold as is and most estate sale companies have a no return no refund policy.

There are thousands of estate sales across the country starting today. If you’re looking for items, this is a great source. If you are interested in having an estate sale and finding a liquidator go check out your local sales to see how they are handled and who impressed you.

Judy Martin’s video on Monday.

If it’s Friday, it’s estate sales.

Video Interview Judith Martin, ISA, CAPP About Estate Sales

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.

Learn About Estate Sales – Estate Sales News Your Internet Source

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

Back from Chicago later today.


Professional Estate Sale Liquidator Keeping A Watchful Eye

Estate Sales NewsEstate 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.

What Are You Buying At Estate Sales? What You Should know

A writer from the Huffington Post earlier this year wrote an article about the five items you should buy at an estate sale and three items you shouldn’t.

The big items they said you shouldn’t buy are large appliances. Their explanation was because you can’t test them.

Many estate sale companies test electrical appliances before they are sold. Unlike buying a new appliance they rarely come with a warranty and are usually sold as is, however, most liquidators will let you test the appliance for that reason. They cannot control how you move the appliance or the way it is maneuvered into it’s new location.

One of the reasons it is important to have electricity at the estate sale property is to test appliances from toasters to washers and all in between.

We recommend that you decide in advance of attending an estate sale whether you want to purchase an appliance that will be sold “as is”. It could last 10 years or 10 hours. Most important is to understand that purchases at most estate sales are as is and final. The estate sale company does not have a history on most appliances so all they can do ask the seller and allow you to try it out.

Many a good buy is had at an estate sale so be a knowledgeable customer and know before your go.

Understanding The Stresses of Moving Or Downsizing In Estate Sales

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.

Check Out Time After Shopping At The Estate Sale

antique cash registerThis is always an interesting subject, because depending on what area of the country you are in everyone does it differently.

For example, in central Florida, many (not all) estate sale companies have you enter through the front door and exit through the garage where you will find the cashier(s) table set up usually under a tent with computer and cash register, along with credit card receptors of some sort. Again not all do this, but it seems to be the most favored way. It keeps the flow going through the property and prevents exiting with any unpaid for items.

On that topic we will switch gears for a moment and talk about what you can or cannot take into a sale. In many large metro areas (Orlando being one) most liquidators put out several signs in the front yard letting buyers know that they will not allow large purses or pocket books inside. You lock them in your car, take your keys, glasses (if needed) loop or magnifying glass and that is all. As you select the items you wish to purchase a staff member puts them aside and they will have you exit from the property to return with your bag and wallet. At that point you have finished your shopping. If you wish to return you again lock your purse in the car and start the process again. This is done to help eliminate theft problems. Not everyone uses or needs to use this method.  It is up to the estate sale company as they are responsible for protecting the items for sale. Buyers, please remember the estate liquidator is working for the seller, not for you and as professionals they are keeping their fiduciary with their client.

In other areas of the country, New Jersey, Maryland, Georgia to name a few you often enter and exit the same way, however the cashier is next to the entrance and you may expect to be asked to produce your receipt and have your bag or box checked. Again each estate sale company has their own procedure.

Keeping the flow of people going through the property orderly and protecting the items for sale is the concern of the estate sale company. If you don’t like their policy try another estate sale. They do not need to have your irritation or frustration to distract them from their assignment or cause other shoppers or the estate sale staff discomfort.

Sellers, when choosing your liquidator ask how they handle checkout and remember it depends on where you are located. There is no right or wrong way, it’s what works best for your benefit and theirs.

Estate Sale Companies Are More Than Just Liquidators

vintage hatsRunning 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, 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.

What’s Selling At Estate Sales This Week

Today is the last day before some estate sales begin across the country. Some have even started today.  Several estate liquidators start on Thursday. With that in mind we want to show you some of what you might find at an estate sale this week. These items are from different estate sales across the country.

















To find these items and thousands more check out EstateSales.NET,, or