Category Archives: Professional Liquidators

Yard Sale Or Estate Sale – What Will Work For You And Why?

Estate Sale signAs we enter the summer season the weekends are filled with signs posted everywhere about either a yard sale or estate sale.

When you are considering what you need take a look at what it is you want to sell, how much there is of it, why you are selling it (that affects price) etc.

If you don’t have that much, it’s just “stuff” or if it won’t sell for much do not call an estate liquidator. In today’s world most experienced liquidators are looking for contents that will be financially beneficial to you and to them. The cost of doing an estate sale for the liquidator has increased significantly over the past few years. See Judy Martin’s article published May 4th, 2015 here on Estate Sales News about the cost of an estate sale.

If you are in doubt contact an experienced professional liquidator and talk to them about what you have, your goal, and the size of your home and it’s contents. They will ask you questions that can help them determine what you should do and if they can be of service.

Yard sales are just that, but an estate sale is a professionally conducted sale of personal property, staged, advertised, researched and priced and involves staff as well as the liquidator.

It’s Wednesday and many estate sales begin tomorrow so get your estate sale kit and route ready and happy shopping.

What Makes The Best? – By Judy Martin, ISA, CAPP Estate Liquidator Knowledge

Judith Martin, ISA CAPPI have been thinking about the word, Best, lately. What makes a company the “Best”. What makes a sale the “Best”. What make a buyer the “Best”. It is an adjective defined as : of most excellent, effective or desirable type of quality. But how do we determine the “Best” when evaluating all of the items we evaluate week to week.

Is it the “Best” you have ever seen? But if you have only seen two of something, does that mean you know the difference. However, if you have seen hundreds of something and this particular one is the “Best” then does that interpret to a higher price? Maybe, maybe not. The real price indicator is will the collector who is buying the “Best” pay more for this item because it is the most excellent of it’s kind. All things being equal, the answer would be yes. So as a liquidator the price would be higher for the “Best”. One of the important parts of this discussion is that as the liquidator you need to know what the “Best” is in a particular group or property. A fair price cannot be made if the seller doesn’t know what the “Best” is. Everything that a liquidator deals with must be graded either by the seller or even perhaps sent away for an expert opinion.

So not only is the liquidator evaluating the items for sale he/she must be constantly educating themselves in the good, better, best in the world of personal property. It is a never ending process. But each time we see something new, learn something more, we become more secure in our knowledge which in turn helps to make each of us the BEST at what we do.

So Many Estate Sales, So Many Estate Sale Companies – Why?

For those that are avid fans or shoppers at estate sales the extraordinary numbers of estate liquidations has created a utopia.

This demand has been created by the millions of baby boomers moving, downsizing, and going into retirement. Estate sale companies have formed across the country, encouraged by the concept of being their own boss and what they perceive as the money to be made. This encouragement comes from a variety of sources, many of which profit from the creation of estate sale companies and liquidators. Where there were once four or five estate sale companies now there may be 100 to 200 in metropolitan areas.

Many shoppers at estate sales are looking for items to resell on such websites as eBay or Etsy. They may repurpose or redesign them (a good example would be what happens on the HGTV program Flea Market Flip).

The rare, unique, and highly collectible still sell, but then there is “the rest of the stuff”, general household, furnishings, lawn equipment, used cars etc. Selling these items isn’t as easy as it once was. Estate liquidators have to be savvy marketers and know where their buying base is. For many it comes from publicizing the sale on estate sale listing websites, Estatesale.com, EstateSales.Net, or EstateSales.org. However, with so many estate sale companies and sales, that may not be enough depending on their location. Facebook, Twitter, and email lists have become a great resource for reaching buyers.

Estate sales are great places to find everything from fine jewelry to laundry detergent. Save dollars, go green, and support your local economy.

What’s Selling At Estate Sales? California To New York 1000’s Of Sales

Many are starting today, but estate sales are everywhere. Let’s take a look at some of what’s out there. To see more of what’s in these estate sales click on the location and date. So many fascinating sales and interesting items. Truly something for everyone.

Staten Island, NY May 29

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Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA, May 28

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West Bloomfield, MI, May 28

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LakeBluff, IL, May 29

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What Is and Isn’t Important When Deciding On An Estate Sale Company

Even with thousands of estate sale companies, there are so many baby boomers on the move, many companies are already booked until August. Let’s do a brief review of what is truly important.

Be sure to ask about their experience. There is nothing wrong with new estate sale companies as long as they have previous experience working side by side with another experienced estate liquidator. An apprenticeship if you will. During the time that they work with someone with knowledge and experience they should learn about staging (or set-up) of the sale, recognizing what is being sold and pricing (general household) usually is priced by what prices are being reallized at other sales in your area, and of course knowing where to research unique, rare, unusual, or antique items. It is also important to have a certified appraiser that an estate sale company can use as well.

Ask about their education in the estate sale business, but it takes more than just reading and answering tests. Experience gained with a working estate liquidator is important.

It is beneficial to be able to speak with past clients. Written testimonials are helpful, but speaking with a client that they worked for within the last year is also a key component to deciding on whether or not you may want to hire them. Ask about their overall experience, but keep in mind financial results aren’t always the deciding factor. Were they on time, responsible, insured, and did they do what they agreed to. They may provide you with a brochure which is a great way to lay out their services. Keep that for future reference. Ask them if they have memberships with any associations or societies and if so what that means for you.

Do a complete review with them of their contract. If they don’t have a contract simply put – look at another company. If you are unsure of the contract ask to take it to your attorney so that all parties understand and begin the process with a good working relationship. Make certain that everyone understands what will and won’t be in the sale and if there is a penalty for removing something after the sale begins. If everyone is on the same page when the estate sale process starts it helps relieve stress and can forge a good working relationship between client and estate liquidator.

It is always important to look at any estate sales a company may be holding and if possible visit a company during a sale. Observation can be very informative.

Do not make the mistake of choosing an estate sale company by commission. That should be the “last” consideration.

This is just a quick review. For more information look at the orange tab on the top left side of our Front Page. How To Choose An Estate Sale Company.

No one can guarantee you that the estate sale company you choose will be perfect. All any company or group can do is remove them from the website and discontinue their membership. What matters is that you, the client, did your due diligence so that your final decision was yours. It is your financial bottom line and your responsibility. If you have questions contact us at carol@estatesalesnews.com We welcome your questions and comments. Please visit us on Facebook and Twitter and check out our Pinterest page.

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.

Estate Sale Photos – What’s Good And What Is Not!

digital cameraAs estate sales are now reaching a fever pitch for the spring and there are thousands of sales to look at, photographs become even more important.

With the major estate sale listing websites showcasing sales and delivering emails to your inbox with links to sales and photos, photography becomes very important to grab attention.

Digger sales (where there is just an over abundance of items and not enough display area) showing some of the massive amount that you might be digging through to find that treasure or item you desire can be of interest, it is also important to show in more formally staged photos some items of value and interest that have already been discovered by the liquidator. The use of back drops (black, white, or gray cloths depending on the item’s color) good lighting without glare, and close ups are crucial to encouraging people to come to the sale and be willing to search through boxes, bags, etc. It is also important that if you are attending a digger sale bring a flash light, magnifying glass, rubber or latex gloves, and be prepared for dust and even a little “dirtiness”. In other words, wear clothing that you won’t mind soiling.

When hiring an estate sale company ask to see photographs of some of their previous sales. Most companies now bring along a tablet or iPad so it shouldn’t be a problem to view. You may want to look through the various photos of several estate sale companies as a seller to see which ones promoted their estate sales well and which didn’t and as a buyer, to decide if it is really worth your time.

Using video for a sale is also a good way to attract potential sellers and buyers, but again look at the quality. Learning to take video takes a little time (we experienced that too).

Whatever is the case, be sure you take the time to look at the photos put up by estate liquidators. A photo can be worth a thousand words.

The “Cost” Of Conducting A House Or Estate Sale, By Judy Martin, ISA, CAPP

Judith Martin, ISA CAPPJudith Martin, ISA, CAPP.

Lately, I have been thinking about the “COST” of conducting a house sale. What does it take financially to conduct a sale in someone’s home.

Starting with payroll, in order to have a staff that can work fast and hard both in the set up and the selling of items the conductor needs to pay them a reasonable wage. If you begin at minimum wage – $10.00 per hour and the employee works for 2 days setting up at 6 hours per day as well as two days of the sale at 8 hour minimum, that makes each employee’s wage $200 for the sale. This of course is a sale that is easy to set and sell. If the sale is a large one then you have to figure the payroll just goes up and up. But for this example I am going to use a simple sale – 3 employees (not including the principles of the company) x $200 for the sales is $600 payroll.

Next you will need supplies – a set of 5 non carbon sales books cost $14 approx. You might need 10 total for sale. Plus you need pricing stickers – a pkg of white removable stickers cost $7. each. So for this purpose, a trip to the office supply store will cost you $80.

Then you have to consider the town you are working in – is there a permit needed. Did you cover in the contract that the client pays the permit? If not, that cost can be $60 per sale in a town that requires a permit, such as Oak Park, IL. There goes some more money out of your pocket.

If this is a new business for you, you will need table, cloths, display items, string tags, secured diplay boxes (so your shoppers cannot help themselves) – all costing you more and more money.

And what about after the sale – what does it cost you to get all the items out of the house? How many hours of labor does it take to wrap and take the items that are saleable. How much does it cost to have the refuse taken away? How much does it cost to have a person stay and sweep up after everything is removed? And who is removing the items? A moving company or you in your own vehicle. This all costs money!

Oh, and of course you have to consider the cost of advertising. If you belong to a website, there is a monthly fee for that. If you have a special sale then that cost just went up from maybe $100 a month to an additional $200 just for this one sale – all costs against your profit.

All of these fees and costs do not inlcude: databases you subscribe to, books you buy for research, t-shirts or uniforms you might use, phone service, credit card fees, bank fees, gas, tolls, and all sorts of items you have to take into account when figuring out what commission to charge so that you actually might make some money to put in your own pocket.

The estate sales business is not for the faint of heart. It is also not a charity, it is a business – you are intending to make a profit. When you consider what to charge as your fee, you must consider all of these things and more.

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.

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