Category Archives: Estate Sales Help & Tips

Looking For Estate Sale Companies? Estate Sales News Your Online Resource

When looking for estate sale companies there are several things to consider.

  • When looking on estate sale listing site see what the site can offer in assistance to you.
  • Choose several companies in your area if possible to research.
  • Do they have any poor reviews or open issues with the Better Business Bureau?
  • Once you have completed your review on the internet start by calling some estate liquidators.
  • If you do not get a response from an estate sale company within a reasonable time perhaps you should choose to speak with another company. Estate sale companies are almost always busy, but they should be able to respond to new business (perspective sellers) and buyers (some companies do not accept phone calls from buyers only emails, but that should be noted on their website) during the course of a day. 

Estate Sales News will be offering information on many areas of the estate sales process during the course of the autumn when once again the estate liquidations are in greater numbers.

We suggest you start by looking at estate sale listing sites. EstateSales.Net is the largest and oldest and with their new release coming out shortly this should make this an even better and friendlier experience. Other sites you can review are estatesales.org and estatesale.com.

EstateSales.Net – Interview with Katie Britt, Operations Manager

estatesalesnetEstate Sales News spent a day with EstateSales.Net at their headquarters in Jackson, MO. We interviewed several people and today we are publishing our interview with Katie Britt, their Operations Manager, who oversees customer support at EstateSales.Net. Here is that interview – ESN is Estate Sales News.

ESN – Who calls more at EstateSales.Net? Estate sale companies or visitors to your site?

Katie – It’s about 60/40 – more companies. They usually call about how to use the site or what packages we offer as well as any technical issues they many encounter. The other 40% are probably private sellers and subscribers and users of the site who just want to obtain information.

ESN – How many customer service people do you have answering calls and emails?

Katie – We have a staff of seven some of whom are full time and some are part-time, but we generally try to have two people on a shift from 8am – 10pm central standard time.

ESN – What tips can you provide so that companies get the most out of listing on EstateSales.Net?

Katie – To be very thorough with the sale description as well as pictures. It is very important to provide clear pictures that showcase the items that you have for sale as well as a very good detailed description, not just listing furniture or a bedroom set, but what kind of furniture is it. Is it a complete set, is it antique, vintage, or new, does it have a name, what color is it. Provide very specific details so that people searching on the site for particular items or using our Treasure Tracker will find those items.

Pictures is a big, big one to get uploaded to their sale.

ESN – When someone calls the toll free 888 number do they reach you or who do they reach?

Katie – Typically they will reach one of the seven staff members out there. Probably BJ, Matt or Brittany. It’s not until it gets so busy up front that the calls rollover to either myself or Micky and then Dot or Dan.

Estate Sale Companies – Keeping up with trends, news, and competition

Estate Sales News has written in the past about keeping websites fresh, but there is more to be considered.

Keeping up on what’s happening in the estate liquidation business is important too. New websites appear on the Internet every day with new competitors. An estate sale company needs to stay current not just on prices, and trends, but what their competition is doing. The reason is because every time another estate sale company emerges it cuts into their share of the pie (customer base) and that can effect the amount of sales made at a liquidation and also the prices realized at the sale.

Watching how estate sales companies market their sales and where they advertise is also important. Do they use print media as well as the internet. There are several sites available to them to list their estate sales on, i.e. EstateSales.Net, EstateSales.org and EstateSale.com being the most well widely recognized estate sale listing sites. Do they post photos on the Internet other than on their own website.

It is important to note that if a website is not well or fully optimized for search engines, particularly Google, the website may not be seen and the choice to not list photos on major websites that are visible to search engines can impede the results of the sale.

When you are interviewing estate sale companies, ask to see their advertising and list where they post their sales. Ideally an estate liquidator should use all sources available to them to reach a maximum audience. It’s in the seller’s best interest as well as the estate sale company’s best interest to obtain the largest audience possible for the best financial result for all parties.

The Estate Sale Contract Review – questions to be asked & answered

questions and answers

 

This Monday we would like to review some of the important areas in an estate sale contract. It is one of the most requested pages in our news magazine.

 

 

  • Duplicate contracts – for the benefit of the seller and the estate sale company you should have two contracts with you so that when the contract is signed both parties have a completed contract exactly the same.
  • Dates of sale – both sellers and estate liquidators should make sure the dates chosen will work for both and that there isn’t anything going on in the community that could detract or impair the sale (such as a community festival, town wide garage sales, etc. unless it is necessary or you choose to proceed without concern).
  • Who is going to run the sale – if you are using a company that conducts more than one sale at a time you should ask the estate liquidator you are interviewing to introduce you to the person who will be in charge of the sale and put that person’s name on the contract as well. This should be done before you sign the contract or at the least at the signing of the contract. Signing up with liquidator X and an employee Y shows up to stage, price and run the sale without your prior knowledge or consent can be unsettling (no surprises and you can decide ahead if you feel comfortable with that individual and with that arrangement).

Selling some types of taxidermy at an estate sale could be a no no!

Recently Estate Sales News spoke with a Maryland estate sale company that held a sale in late June.  We reported on that sale in Bryans Road Maryland and posted video footage. A piece of the video is featured here to show some of the taxidermy. The estate sale included mounted ducks, pheasants, some vintage carved ivory and some vintage tortoise shell.

The DNR (Department of Natural Resources) from Maryland reviewed every photo that the estate liquidator had included in their estate sale listing. Even though the taxidermy foul were from decades ago as was the ivory and tortoise shell they were told they could not be sold and had to be returned to the estate heirs.

When I attended the 2013 Estate Sales Conference in St. Louis MO. held by EstateSales.net in March of this year they had a guest speaker on day two of the conference from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Selling old or vintage ivory, tortoise shell and many kinds of taxidermied fish and wildlife is now not allowed or heavily scrutinized in many states. California is another state where taxidermy mounted items are being reviewed. Many other states are also becoming involved in the sale of what they consider endangered species. The fines for selling these type of items in Maryland is in the thousands and higher. This is a fairly recent development that Estate Sales News wanted to make sellers, buyers and estate sales companies aware of. Keeping you informed is our priority.

 

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 Estatesales.net.

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.

 

 SELLERS

  • 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.

BUYERS

  • 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.

 

EstateSalesNews.com 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 EstateSalesNews.com 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.