Category Archives: Liability Insurance

ISA Conference In Chicago On Estate Sales

The discussion of estate sales at the Chicago conference of the International Society of Appraisers was engaging and brought forth many views.

We discussed how ISA appraisers can be beneficial to estate liquidations. The degree of commitment that is required by an ISA appraiser to conduct estate sales. Estate sales are a business not a hobby.

Is an estate sale the right choice for the client. It isn’t just quantity. The best market for some items may be at auction and an ISA appraiser can assist with brokering this. As part of their training they are educated in the larger auction houses across the country.

We discussed how ISA appraisers can work in tandem with estate sale companies in a beneficial manner for both.

Our discussion included how estate sales work. Learning about staging, security, advertising, crowd control were just a few of the topics we touched on. How many hats does an ISA appraiser want to wear.

We also discussed online auctions and franchises. These are two hot topics.

It should be mentioned that online auctions and franchises have found a place for estate liquidators as well as considerations for appraisers.

We were booked for a 1 hour and 15 minute discussion and we ran over our time a bit.

Much information was covered and more will be discussed in greater detail.

Many thanks to the International Society of Appraisers for inviting me and giving me this platform to discuss the wonderful world of estate sales.

 

Estate Sales Information And Topics

Estate sales have so many topics to cover and information to be discussed.

This Sunday in Chicago I will be speaking at the International Society of Appraisers (ISA) Conference about estate sales. So many topics to cover in a short time, but I hope this will be informative and lead to an educational exchange of ideas and information. Appraisers are important to estate sales and estate liquidators, but the same can be said for the importance of estate sale companies and appraisers.

The estate sale business has grown into such a large small business industry, that the number of topics and information needed to be successful requires continuous reading and education.

Since I retired from the estate liquidation business in 2011 much has changed.

Todays’ estate liquidator has to be concerned with the sale of ivory, liability insurance, disposal of hazardous materials, permits, mold, better security, greater use of social media advertising, where best to research items of value or the unknown, and how to do time management and the list continues and grows.

There are many sources for information on estate sales available on the internet. We feel you should not, however, pay for that information. Buyers and sellers should be able to obtain reliable, knowledgeable and useful information for free. If you are obtaining it from any source that also collects fees from estate sale companies question what you are learning if you too pay for this information.

EstateSalesNews.com celebrated our 4th anniversary this month. Although we have a small variety of diverse companies paying for advertising, this is to help defray our cost for our website out to enable a free resource for buyers, sellers, estate sale companies and the estate sale information and the topics we cover.

We encourage you to sign up for our newsletter, utilize our free RSS feed if you are an estate sale company and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We also have a Pinterest page and videos on YouTube.

 

Updated Checklist For Estate Sale Contracts

Here is an updated checklist for estate sale contracts for estate sale companies and sellers.

We are not an attorney, but these items should be included and understood in the estate sale contract.

The estate sale contract should lay out in clear language.

  • Name of the estate sales company
  • Name of owner/s, heirs, or attorney
  • Date of estate sale contract
  • Address where the sale is to take place
  • Dates the sale is to be held and time
  • Dates the estate sale company will be given access to setup and price
  • Any items excluded from sale on addendum when contract is signed
  • Utilities – electric, plumbing, heating and air conditioning should be working
  • Liability insurance for estate sale company
  • Homeowner must have active homeowner insurance policy
  • Ramifications of removal of items by sellers after contract is signed
  • Fee or commission that will be charged if items removed or sold ahead by seller
  • Cancellation clause of contract
  • Party responsible for advertising and costs
  • Who is responsible for obtaining and paying for any permits required
  • Cost of sale, commission, fee, any additional sale related costs
  • When seller will receive net proceeds and form of payment to be made
  • Will seller receive written account of sold items and what it will or won’t include
  • Who is responsible for the clean out when the estate sale is concluded
  • If estate sale company cleans out any costs associated with clean out
  • Any additional costs for appraisals or specific appraisals
  • **If needed winter expenses and responsibility, i.e. plowing, shoveling, sand etc.

Visit the top of our front page for Choosing An Estate Sale Company.

Estate Sales Costs Evolve Over Time

One of the largest generations in our history, the baby boomer generation, has helped to create a boom in the estate sale industry, changed the way estate sales work, and the costs associated with estate sales.

Ten years ago holding an estate sale you payed a commission to an estate liquidation company or a flat fee and possibly paying an outside source to provide a clean out after the sale. The commission or fee was set by the estate sale company and was the same for almost every sale they conducted.

Not so today. The majority of estate sale companies now carry liability insurance, important for them and sellers. Workman’s compensation is also an expense for hundreds of estate sale companies. Estate sale companies that hold more than one estate sale per week or handle large content sales have had to add staff to handle the volume of sales they are working, advertising has gone from placing an ad in the local paper and hand made signs to marketing with estate sale advertising websites such as EstateSale.com (including featuring large or unusual sales an extra cost. Each estate sale adverting website is different and has varying costs), Facebook (and boosting the post for the sale) professional signage, brochures, memberships in associations, email targeting lists, and clean out costs either by the liquidation company or a company that specializes in clean outs of property.

EstateSalesNews.com Celebrates 3 Years Providing Estate Sales Information

It’s been three years since we launched this estate sale website magazine. We want to take a look back at the variety of topics we have covered.

We are also flattered that other websites have been developed to try to provide estate sale information. The difference for you our audience, we were in the estate sale business for 20 plus years. We do not charge you for all the information you find on our website. Others have been websites have been launched that either charge for information or are used to assist another existing website that estate sale companies (that estate sale companies already pay advertising fees for).

We started by discussing what is an estate sale. The definition has changed greatly over the years. We use to call them tag sales, house sales, moving sales, etc. Now for the most part we group them under one banner “estate sales”

When we launched there were about 9,000 estate sale companies. Today the growth continues and we have passed the 16,000 mark.

Estate Sale Information Today

Estate sale information is increasing the knowledge for all parties. The estate sale industry is surging. The questions that accompany this growth are increasing.

One of the many benefits occurring from this expansion of the cottage industry of years ago is the communication between estate liquidators. Before the internet and social media like Facebook, liquidators rarely communicated with each other or shared ideas and information.

The ability for estate sale companies to liaise with each other has brought so much to this industry. Such as discussions about carrying liability insurance, using professional signs for directions, the use of websites, keeping current about the laws that affect the industry (such as the sale of ivory), how to remove stains and spots, determining the age of some items, sharing advertising tips, the use of social media, working conditions, to name just a few. These groups share and discuss a variety of topics to assist and improve the estate sale business as a whole and make it better for everyone.

In todays’ world of estate liquidations, estate sale information and providing it is key to furnishing knowledge to all parties, prospective estate sale sellers and buyers.

What Does It Take To Become An Estate Liquidator – A Basic Overview

businessconceptsDeciding whether to become a professional estate sale liquidator is a major decision and requires you to decide about the many factors involved in estate liquidation. It isn’t an as easy as it looks and requires dedication and usually much more than a 40 hour week.

You will require some working capital to get started and to sustain you until you develop a clientele.

It is helpful to have attended estate sales to see how different estate liquidators work. Each estate sale company works a little differently, however, most follow some basics such as sorting, cleaning, staging (or setting up) and pricing. In order to become a successful estate liquidator it is beneficial to apprentice or work for an estate sale company. Become familiar with the process. You will also need a true working knowledge of what you are selling (what the item is, age, and what its’ value is).

Most of the very successful estate sale companies have experience and knowledge either as antique dealers, consignment shop owners, collectors or from working for other estate sale companies. They may also have taken courses to assist them in knowing how the entire process works from the initial contact with a client to the clean out of the premises after the sale.

Speaking with estate liquidators is very beneficial as well. There is so much to consider.

Some of the basics needed will be a license (if required), tables and supplies for set-up, liability insurance, a staff that is knowledgeable and reliable, an estate sale contract and thorough understanding of what should be included, a working knowledge of national, state, and local laws, ordinances etc., (from inability to sell prohibited items to permits for the sale and signs) and more. You will need to decided what types of payment you will accept, the payout to the client and if you will offer additional services such as clean out.

To become an estate liquidator you will also need to know about marketing, (how to advertise and where your target audience is), what items may bring the most interest of buyers to your sale. Whether you will want a website and if you do what will work best for you. You should also know about the the benefits of social media marketing and how to use it to your advantage.

There is much more than the discussion above to becoming a successful professional estate liquidator, but understanding the basics is a start and can help with your decision.

Not All Estate Sales Are Created Equal And They Don’t Need To Be

Estate Sale signThousands of estate sales and thousands of estate sale companies, and everyone is different in some way.

Many estate sale companies do not want to handle the small sales (under $5,000, in some areas of the country that could be $10,000). Don’t feel insulted or hopeless. There are so many estate sale companies out there with some good researching you should be able to find a reputable company that can help you.

There are several reasons estate sale companies are carefully choosing which sales they will handle. Many estate sale companies have full time staff (a cost of $10/hour or more per employee), liability insurance, licensing (if required in your area) the cost of advertising (if the companies are listed on all three major estate sale listing websites – Estatesale.com, EstateSales.Net, and EstateSales.org), the monthly costs are significant. Many estate sale companies spend an average of $5,000/month just on maintaining advertising and visibility on the internet. This can also include Facebook boosts and Twitter.

There are estate sale companies that also handle online auctions as well, so you have to decide how you want your personal property disseminated. It is important to keep in mind that unless the items are rare, or unique, the value is similar to what happens at a used car lot. Once driven off the lot, the value decreases and for some, if they are moving or downsizing just eliminating their belongings is what really counts.

When you telephone estate liquidators ask them if they only take sales with minimum values. Don’t feel offended, remember this is business for them, and there is someone out there for you. It may require a little more investigation.

You may also want to look at the estate sale listing sites above to see what companies are showing for their current sales.

Where To Find Estate Sales?

Estate Sales News is “the” online source for estate sales information (contracts, staging, choosing an estate sale company, how to interview, what to expect, pay out, clean out, and more) news, help, tips and where to find estate sale companies and estate sale listings.

Click on the links below to find 1000’s of estate sales.

Estatesale.com

EstateSales.Net

EstateSales.org

What To Expect Before The Estate Sale Begins

EstateSales_lgWhen you choose your estate sale company along with a complete and thorough review of the estate sale contract, ask to see proof of liability insurance and do not be surprised when the estate liquidator asks to see a copy of a homeowner policy. In todays’ world it is important that both the liquidator and the property be covered by insured.

If the estate sale company belongs to any associations ask to see some type of ID (appraisers, education, etc.)

More and more liquidators are bringing professionally prepared brochures, but they should contain pertinent information about the company, name, address, phone number, email address, how long they have been in business, (license number if required by state or municipality) educational information (if any i.e. appraisal or fine art courses, estate liquidation courses), where they list their sales and advertise, and a list of their services showing fees or commission charges. It should also include if they have insurance or are bonded.

Following all this information, the estate liquidator should take photographs (if possible) to start the listing of the sale.

Access to the property should be arranged for pricing and staging and the dates and times of the sale.

If either party has any concerns about the sale this is the time to express these concerns. If the home is overflowing (commonly referred to by many as a hoarder) and you have an issue with this term discuss it with the estate liquidator. Television shows have promoted the use of this term and many times this can help encourage buyers to attend the sale. The term is not intended to be disrespectful.

As a seller when the estate sale company is ready to leave the property you should have trust and confidence and if not this is the time to settle any further concerns. You have hired a professional to sell the personal property and they need to do their job. Keep in mind most estate liquidators conduct sale after sale and they want your estate sale to succeed too so eliminating concerns and reducing your stress is good for you, the seller and the estate sale company.

Please subscribe to our magazine, it’s free, new articles are delivered directly to your in box and you can opt out at any time (no obligation) and the tab is in the upper left part of the website. We hope you will tell any estate sale companies you interview or work with you read and use EstateSalesNews.com as your resource for estate sales information and news.