Category Archives: Estate sales information
Estate sales, online auctions and auctions are now in the national spotlight in print and on the internet.
Liquidations have become big business and which way you choose to sell your contents is now presenting sellers with decisions as to what will best work for their needs.
Many sellers with entire house contents choose an estate sale. The contents to be sold remain on site, with sorting, staging, pricing and selling all done within the home. Items have specific prices at the start of the sale and you have the ability to personally examine the items. The dates of the estate sale are fixed and hours set. Estate Sale companies advertise the estate sales with photos and the description on national estate sale advertising websites. The sale takes place within a two to four day time frame. It is usually impossible to live in the property once the set-up of the estate sale has started. As sales are made the articles are removed from the home. At the conclusion of the sale the commission or fee charged by the estate sale company will be deducted from the gross proceeds and you will receive the net amount from the sales within one to two weeks usually. Each estate sale company has their own payout time frame.
An online auction is conducted via the internet. They don’t usually contain the entire contents of a home. Most online auctions are suited for a limited number of items. They are removed from the property, photographed, posted online and the auction is run for a specific number of days. A decision is made by the seller and the company conducting the auction if any items will have a reserve (a minimum sale price) before the item is put up for sale on the internet. Most companies will charge a commission on the gross sales and pay you the net proceeds when all the contents have either sold or at a specified time (weekly, monthly, etc). They may also charge the buyer a commission or buyers premium. An online auction provides an internet audience and the major estate sale listing websites provide for online auction advertising for the items to be sold. The one major difference from an estate sale is you cannot handle the item. You see photographs and descriptions only.
Pricing estate sale contents is important and can be challenging for estate sale companies.
Whether you are selling contents in Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA., Summit, NJ, Orlando, FL, or Detroit, MI. your prices will reflect the geographics of your location.
For estate sale companies where and how to research is important and for estate liquidators that starts with experience and knowledge in the personal contents liquidation business.
Years ago estate liquidators bought books by the dozens for everything from art pottery to Victorian furniture, general items, antiques and collectibles. Each year estate liquidators would buy the most recently published books for research, however, geographic locations were not included in these books.
Now with the internet, research is available at your finger tips. This doesn’t just include eBay. Estate sale companies have the ability to look at what other estate liquidators in their area are selling on such websites as EstateSale.com and others. The can also look at the prices on AuctionZip, Worthpoint, and other auction and resale websites.
There are many websites where you can write or read a review on an estate sale company.
If you are writing a review, write the truth. If your happy with an estate sale company write a review. If you are unhappy with an estate sale company speak with the estate sale company owner before you write a review you cannot recant. Open, frank discussions and communications can often settle any questions or possible disputes.
Google, and YP (Yellow Pages) are good places for reviews. So is Merchant Circle.
YELP is a review website, however, it seems to showcase bad reviews more than good ones and it charges companies to be members. Many of the reviews on YELP are not true reviews, but angry, upset individuals who either couldn’t buy an item at “their” price (it is priced for the market for the benefit of the seller – not the buyer) or by sellers who do not understand that in today’s liquidation market there is a lot of competition, many types of items simply are not in vogue and therefore do not bring much (a liquidator can sell what the market will bear).
Writing disparaging reviews in anger is simply inappropriate and does not favor you buying at the next estate sale an estate company holds. They can if they chose refuse you entry.
An estate sale company is not required to accept your “offer”. If you want to make offers attend an auction. An estate sale or tag sale is quite different and as the buyer you either accept the item at the price it is marked or move on and return on another day to see if the estate sale company is doing any reductions. Keep in mind their fiduciary is with the seller.
We encourage you to read reviews and when appropriate write them, but with honesty and integrity.
A recent discussion of what estate liquidators find when preparing a home for an estate sale revealed not only dangerous items, but some items that most liquidators would not expect to encounter. As a former estate liquidator for 20 plus years, I was fortunate enough not to encounter anything like these.
Here is what one liquidator has encountered during his 30 years in the liquidation business. Estate liquidators wear many hats as you will see here.
A Civil War land mine with the plunger up. It was taken to the state police bomb squad.
Grenades required a call to the police captain.
This liquidator found Browning machine guns. The liquidator called an FFL with the proper paper work because the can sell or dispose of these items.
He also found an Electric Shock Machine which was donated to a local hospital museum.
WWII vets brought many items home as souvenirs of their conquests or battles.
There are several sources that offer to provide you with verified or successful estate sale companies. Unfortunately, most of these sources have never conducted an estate sale so recommending an estate sale company is merely utilizing information that they can readily acquire through the internet including BBB ratings (not a true indication of performance), feed back from sellers (written, not an actual conversation with them), the time you have been in business, verification of insurance (this is important), and the number of sales conducted within a period of time (numbers don’t add up to knowledge or success).
These are not what determines a successful liquidation company.
We put the question to hundreds of estate sale companies what they feel is important. Here are the answers we received.