Category Archives: Estate Sales Help & Tips

Looking for an estate sale company – do your research so no regrets

Estate Sales News tries to research to every extent possible the companies whose sales we feature as newsworthy.

As a perspective seller if you are reading this article you should also be using the internet to research for reviews or complaints on the estate sale liquidators you are considering hiring.

Google, Yellow Pages, Merchant Circle, BBB (Better Business Bureau) Yahoo, ripoffreport and more will usually show you reviews good or bad. Google use to let gmail account holders post a review, however, they did not allow a rebuttal, however, Google now allows for rebuttals, so a person or company can respond especially to a complaint. Like any business, not all complaints are the fault of the company. Some are because of misunderstandings, unrealistic expectations, or just because you cannot satisfy some people.

It is important, however, that if you find complaints with certain websites, especially like the BBB that you make a call and inquire about the rating given and why.

Most of the estate sale companies are reputable professionals making a living, however, like any other business their can be a few unscrupulous people that should not be in business. It is part of your obligation to conduct your do diligence on the Internet before you sign a contract with a company. Not a 100% guarantee, but most likely peace of mind and a successful sale and good relationship with the estate sale company you chose.

Estate sales news talks auctions

auction_logoAuctions are becoming more and more popular for off site venues for those that need an estate sale, but can’t have one in their premises or community so Estate Sales News will be starting a discussion on the auction process, the how, where, and working of the auction.

It should be noted that I acquired my auction license in Florida in 2006 after successful completion of auction school, however, I let the license expire when I sold my liquidation business.

Auctions can be held in many locations, on site, in a rented hall, in a building owned by the auctioneer, at a storage facility.

Estate sale sellers – should you be at the sale?

costomer loyalty crosswordThe question as to whether an estate sale seller should be present at their sale has been the recent topic of discussion at many estate sales I have been to and also at the Estate Sales Conference 2013 hosted by

Many estate sale companies simply will not conduct a sale if the seller is present. When asked why the answer is because many times the emotional connection to the goods being sold can be overwhelming and kill the sales attempting to be made. Sellers on the other hand tend to feel that this is an indication that the company might be up to something or untrustworthy.

Estate Sale Sellers and Buyers – What you should expect

Carol Madden, Editor, ESNEstate Sales News has been visiting sales across the country and speaking with different liquidators not only at sales we have visited, but conducting interviews by phone. We are constantly gathering information on the estate sales business.  I’m hearing the same refrain over and over concerning estate sale sellers and buyers so let’s do some bullet points to see if we can assist.



  • Decide before you hire an estate liquidator if you consider them to be knowledgeable.
  • Make sure you feel they will do a professional job.
  • Discuss with them the items of value you have and see if you are in agreement and what they feel are fair prices.
  • Once you have done these things and hired a company, remember you have hired professionals let them do their job, to price and sell your items. Liquidators have enough problems with today’s buyers and it is very unhelpful to have sellers wanting to raise prices. Remember you did your research, interviewed them and made a decision – you hired them to sell.


  • When you attend an estate sale, this is “not” an auction. The items are priced just like in a retail store. These items belong to a seller, not the estate sales company.
  • Don’t ask an estate sale company to cut their price as soon as the door opens. This is offensive.
  • If you don’t want to pay a price for an item ask if they will take a bid.
  • Remember estate sales companies have been hired by the sellers, are being paid by the sellers and are not working for you the buyer. Their job is to get the best possible price.
  • Negotiating is part of the process, but done in a courteous and fair manner.
  • Most estate sale companies have some kind of structured discount process based on the number of days the sale will be conducted. Ask if they do and what it is. is a FREE estate sale resource for information

Estate Sales NewsDuring my many flights reporting on various estate sales I have met some wonderful people and the most frequent question I’m asked it was do you do.

I respond that I am the editor of an online news/magazine about estate sales and the personal property liquidation business. It amazes me that almost every time that person will say I know someone that needs an estate sale or they have a friend downsizing. 

I explained to her that if they had questions was a website devoted to providing information on what to look for when choosing an estate liquidator. This website is a free public resource from the beginning of the process when you realize you need to start eliminating items to the conclusion of the sale where it is time for a clean out, charitable donations or a final buy out.

On a recent trip from Florida I met an accountant who lives on the east coast of Florida near a retirement community with a great many retired military people. Many of them are getting to the point in their lives where they need to downsize and transition into a simpler lifestyle. This accountant spoke of the need for many of these individuals to find reputable companies that will have their best interest and not attempt to cherry pick them. I gave her my card and suggested she review this news/magazine and pass it on to her clients and friends.

Estate Sales News does not conduct estate sales. We welcome your questions.

Don’t have enough for a full estate sale. What to do?

As more and more baby boomers come of age what to do with a life time of household, collections, etc. is becoming a challenge.

In many cases the children of boomers will want some of their parents belongings either for sentiment or value, however, may children today are minimalists and this leaves boomer parents with decisions when downsizing time comes.

If your children have taken a great many items and furniture you may be left with what is known in the estate sale trade as a partial. Many estate sales companies will simply not deal with low contents. It does not cover their costs for the sale. Some estate liquidators look at this with other possibilities. They can offer to add to the contents from other minimal sales or in some instances if they are antiques dealers they may offer to add some of their unsold merchandise to the sale (this practice is referred to as seeding the sale). Every estate liquidator works differently, but if you find one you like and your contents are minimal ask them if there is a way for them to work with you. They may even want to increase their commission or fee.

The other choices left to you are consignment (not all consignment shops accept everything) or donations to local charities.

When choosing an estate sale company be sure to let the liquidators you are talking to know upfront if it isn’t a full contents and ask them how they work. Saves time and frustration for everyone.

USA TODAY reports on businesses specializing in helping seniors

The Monday, April 29th issue of USA TODAY featured an article written by Janice Lloyd about another industry that is coming on strong – businesses that are packers, movers, decorators and counselors for helping seniors who are in transition either downsizing or no longer able to care for themselves. published an article written by Erin Kurimay of Certified Relocation and Transition Specialists (CRTS) on April 11th addressing this subject. Here is the link

The recent estate sale conducted in Winter Park, Florida that we reported on by Creating Divine Order is an example of this trend.

 Here is a link to the article in USA TODAY.

With so many baby boomers coming of age this is a growing industry.


What to do with items of great value are part of an estate

esate sales The number of estate sales has quintupled over the last few years. They are no longer just a means of disposing of a deceased persons’ estate. Today, people with very high end art, jewelry, art pottery, bronzes, antique furnishings, glass, and other very expensive items are looking to liquidate these items as well.

More and more estate sales companies, especially those where someone in the company is a certified appraiser or other highly trained, experienced and knowledgeable individual are acting as brokers to sell these high value items at the appropriate auction house. These items usually exceed $25,000 in value and require a broad (sometimes world wide) audience to achieve their top value. There are many auction houses with world wide reach and specialties to sell these items.

Even though the estate sale company may not sell the item themselves at the sale, they will still be paid a commission for placing the items at the appropriate auction.

Trending in estate sales – multiple estates & seeding a sale

trendsTracking sales across the country some new trends and some old are emerging.

In many states where the estate sale has very large collections that cannot be displayed properly for an effective sale in the residence (or in some cases the owner/heir does not wish to have their residence used for an on site sale) professional estate sales companies are relocating the collections to large open rooms (similar to what an auctioneer would use) to stage the quantity of items to be sold. If you have such a collection or collections, you should inquire on the interview if the estate sales company performs such a service and what it will cost you. It would be unusual for a professional liquidator to absorb the cost of the move. It is usually preferable to most estate sales companies to conduct the sale on site, however, not only can large collections present a challenge, but so can some gated communities where they will not allow an estate sale on site.

Another trend that for years has been little spoken about is what is referred to as seeding a sale. Sometimes when a sale does not have enough items to draw significant public attention some estate liquidators will bring in items from other small sales or if they also sell retail they may bring in merchandise of their own. If your contents are limited, be sure to ask during the interview whether the estate sale company will want to  seed the sale, where the items are from, and how they will be tagged  to differentiate their merchandise from your items. Accurate recording of items sold from others is needed to ensure all monies are distributed appropriately.

Estate Sale armed robbery in Seattle – Security is concern

Tracy Vedder of KOMO News in Seattle Washington recently wrote about a local armed robbery that took place in West Seattle at an estate sale in January of this year.

For potential amateur sellers this video clip from KOMO may help you decide why hiring a professional estate sale company can be so important to the safety of your sale and why you should choose your estate liquidator carefully. Not all estate sales companies are knowledgeable about security and take adequate measures.

I recently spoke with Linda Brannagan of New Jersey Estate and Moving Sales in northern New Jersey about security concerns she had for a large sale she just conducted for four days in Plainfield. This estate sale was filled with valuables and she expected the volume of people showing up would warrant hiring two security guards as well as being heavily staffed. She informed me that the sale had a line of people up to 2:00pm on the first day.

This article also discusses how even in retail outlets such as a consignment or antique shop security measures have been increased and how more and more estate sales companies are accepting charge cards to lower the amount of cash taken in and their vulnerability.