Category Archives: Professional Liquidators

Senior Transitions: It Takes A Team – Guest Article by Dayne DuVall. LMT,CAEd, CRTS

CRTS- logoA guest article written by CRTS – Certified Relocation Transition Specialist.

Many people who hire estate sales companies are elders or their families who are downsizing and relocating. Whether it’s making home modifications, moving across town to an independent living community or across the country to an assisted living facility to be close to family, the stress level is usually intense. Enter the Senior Move Specialist. These experts in the Senior Move, Relocation and Transition Industry are equipped with the expertise and contacts in a variety of fields that facilitate this transition with ease.

Consider these decisions (whether you or a family member makes them): do we make home modifications to allow for aging in place in the current home; do we downsize to an apartment in an independent living community; do we choose a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community); do we move into Assisted Living; when is it time to consider skilled nursing; who will help advise us on living and care alternatives; what legal/financial/medical documents are needed; what do we do with all the accumulated possessions; how do we sell the house; how do we coordinate the move. These and other life-altering decisions must be managed during what is considered by many to be one of the most stressful times in life – late life relocation.

This important life transition is completed through a team approach. Consider this partial list of professionals needed to complete a senior move: real estate agent, estate sale/liquidation company, appraiser, Elder Law attorney, Geriatric Care Manager, Senior housing administrator/move-in coordinator, architect, interior designer, home stager, contractor, professional organizer, physicians and medical support professionals, healthcare facilities and agencies, (short-term care/rehab centers; nursing homes; adult day care; hospice; home care agencies), packers, shippers, and movers. The entire process needs someone to coordinate all of these important services. The Senior Move Specialist or company handles all this with expert advice and experience.

Since the industry is unregulated, it is important to choose the most qualified person or company to provide services and/or refer to other qualified professionals. CRTS – Certified Relocation and Transition Specialist is a select group of professionals that meet national professional standdards and have passed an assessment exam demonstrating their knowledge of core competencies in senior move management, relocation and transition services.

Since 2004, the mission of CRTS is “to establish industry standards for late life home transitions and to further those standards through examination and evaluation of core competencies”. There have been over 1,000 individuals certified since the inception of the CRTS designation.

The franchises of Caring Transitions and Grasons.Co. require their owners to be CRTS. There are many estate sale companies that have CRTS trained staff.

When facing the decisions that accompany senior relocation, it is important to realize that it takes a team.

You can find out more about CRTS by visiting crtscertification.com

Why Have An Estate Sale Contract? To Protect Sellers & Estate Sale Companies

Estate Sales NewsThousands of estate sales are taking place each week and now that winter is over and spring has arrived the number of sales will continue to increase.

When you are interviewing either as a perspective seller or as an estate sale company this is a business venture and as with all businesses a contract must be in place to set out in writing the terms, responsibilities, and consequences of the estate sale.

This is protection for both parties. It is not just about a date, address, or commission/fee. It is about who is responsible for utilities (seller), who prices and stages the contents being sold (the estate sale company), who advertises and pays for the ads (usually the estate sale company), which party will get the permit if needed, how will the sale be paid out (daily, at the end of the last day, within a precise time period after the sale), will the seller be paid by cash or cheque, and the list of what must be in the contract goes on. Please use our search feature to read other articles about the estate sale contract.

Each estate liquidator has their own contract that should delineate all terms including the consequences of removing items from a sale that were to be included (it is common practice for a seller to be charged the commission/fee for items removed once the contract is signed and was not excluded), but this is up to each liquidator. Sellers should make sure they know who is responsible for the clean out of the property after the sale, how it will be done, will there be additional costs or fees for that service and when it will be done.

It is the responsibility of the estate sale company to review the entire contract with the seller before signage. It is the obligation of the seller to ask the estate sale company any questions they may have and understand all the terms and responsibilities. If you aren’t sure, ask for a night to review it, seek legal advice, but once the decision is made and the contract is signed, remember this is business, especially for the estate sale company. They pay mortgages, utilities, staff, etc.

Estate sale companies work hard to achieve the best results possible. It is in the interest of both parties. The better the financial results, the better payout for seller and the better commission for the estate liquidator. They cannot guarantee results or control weather or economic conditions. Understanding what cannot be controlled is also key to a successful working business relationship.

Baby Boomers Need Estate Sale Companies On ThrowBack Thursday

Slide1A friend posted an article on Facebook that appeared in the Washington Post on March 27th written by Jura Koncius in the Home and Garden section. The article was titled Stuff it: Millennials nix their parents’ treasures. Here is the link to the complete article

Today as ThrowBack Thursday it seemed appropriate to discuss what is taking place with baby boomers downsizing and moving across the country and this article and my friends’ comments about her own family and dilemna along with the 930 comments that were on the internet WAPO.ST  is a testament to what the baby boomer generation faces.

The boomer generation is the largest group of individuals to date. The amount of “stuff” that we have collected is larger than any other generation. Many of us inherited our parents and grandparents possessions and with the monetary success that many baby boomers have enjoyed they used their money to purchase and fill their homes with furniture, art, household items, collectibles and just about anything you could think of.  The job of downsizing has become a burden. Especially when the younger generations have purchased their own belongings, want different styles and are unaware of the value of many of your possessions in your home. The minimalist movement has also had an effect.

With millennials lack of interest in their parents possessions this is the time to find and hire an estate sale company or estate liquidator. They understand the plight of baby boomers and understand the task of preparing and selling their personal property. Estate sale companies are aware of the thousands of estate sales that are required and taking place weekly to assist this on the move generation.

What is important is finding an estate sale company that can accomplish the task in a professional manner with honesty and integrity. Knowing what to ask and expect from an estate liquidator is vital and no one source can guarantee you that the choice you make will be the right one.  Following on Judy Martin’s article about “Why Bother To Research” the same principle applies to making a knowledgeable decision that requires you to do your own due diligence (research) as well as using the resources of others to choose an estate sale company to place your trust and confidence in to sell your personal property.

Estate Sale Franchises, The Keno Brothers, Judy Martin Article Research & Why

Estate Sales NewsMonday, April 6th and some of what is happening in the world of liquidation.

Franchises – Franchising is described by Wikipedia “as the practice of the right to use a firms successful business model and brand for a prescribed period of time”.

Estate sale franchises started with a firm called Caring Transitions in 2006 and now includes Grasons Co., California,  Blue Hill Estate Sales, North Carolina,  and Key Estate Sales, Inc. Illinois selling estate liquidation franchises. These companies each have their own brand and we will discuss more in the weeks to come about estate sale franchises.

The Keno Brothers through the Fox Network in 2011 started a program called Buried Treasure. Unlike American Pickers where they go to estates to buy and eventually resell, Leigh and Leslie Keno are twin brothers and became well known to the American public as appraisers on Antiques Road Show and they are brought into estates to determine value and decide what may be better sold through the auction process. Leslie is a Senior Vice President and director of American furniture and decorative art at Sotheby’s and Leigh Keno who was an appraiser at Christies and owned his own antique business owns Keno Auctions, a full service auction house. They have an older brother Mitchell Keno who is also an appraiser. A few years ago I was asked to look at the estate of an affluent and knowledgeable collector and after a brief walk through the property I recommended Leigh and Leslie Keno to the heirs of the estate. Appraisers and their services can be invaluable to the estate liquidator. Knowing when to seek out their assistance is very important.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 7th we will publish the first article from nationally known appraiser and speaker on antiques, estate liquidator, and owner of the shop The Perfect Thing, Judy Martin, ISA (International Society of Appraisers), CAPP (Certified Appraiser of Personal Property).  She is Certified in Antiques and Residential contents. She was on the national television series What The Sell and a guest appraiser on the PAX network Treasures in Your Home. Judy along with her daughter Kate are both ISA Appraisers as was her mother Gloria Moroni, three generations of appraisers with the ISA.  Her article is entitled “Why Bother With Research”.  An important read for sellers, estate sale companies, and buyers.

Before Closets We Had Armoires – Find Them At Estate Sales ThrowBack Thursday

Europe still uses armoires, but in the United States we replaced armoires in homes built in the mid-20th century and today with closets, however, you can still find the antique armoires at estate sales or buy a new one (please note the quality probably won’t be the same). The great news is that most of the antique armoires are made to come apart making them portable.

Many bed and breakfast establishments still use them, especially if they are in a home that was not built with closets (Victorian era particularly).

Our ThrowBack Thursday here on EstateSalesNews.com is the armoire.

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Downsizing or Moving? Estate Sale or Garage Sale – What’s The Difference?

Estate Sale signGarage Sale

Baby boomers are moving in record numbers and many are downsizing as retirement time has arrived. Knowing what the best answer is for you to liquidate your unwanted or no longer needed items depends on your understanding the difference between an estate sale and garage (yard) sale.

An estate sale sells the greater part of the contents of your home. Usually it involves selling the items within the home. Most estate (or sometimes called a tag) sales are conducted by professional personal property liquidators – an estate sale company. They sort, organize (or stage) the contents within the home, price, advertise, and conduct a sale lasting two, three, or four days. Many also offer clean out services as well for an additional fee. Estate liquidators are experienced with selling household items as well as antiques, art, etc., however, when in doubt they research and may call in an appraiser to assist them with the proper description and pricing.

A garage sale involves selling miscellaneous household and garden items, usually takes place in the garage, on the driveway, or on the yard and are held for one or two days. The sale is usually run by the owners and they set up the items, price, and sell them. The items being sold are generally low in value.

One key difference to mention is where they are advertised. Estate Sales are advertised on estate sale listing websites, estate liquidator websites, social media, and print media. Garage/yard sales are usually advertised by hand writing on poster board tacked up on poles, (where permitted), in a local newspaper, and on occasion on websites specifically for yard or garage sales.

Another difference that is often overlooked in articles and discussions is negotiating. Estate sales usually will not negotiate the first day of the sale and most have a policy for discounting while garage sales usually have people making offers from the time the sale starts. Estate liquidator also have policies in place for entering the estate sale (numbers, list, etc.) while folks waiting for a garage sale usually just walk up and start looking across tables of items and may even poke through items not yet unpacked.

If you aren’t sure which type of liquidation will meet your needs speak with a few estate liquidators and explain what you are doing and what you have to sell. Most will welcome your call and the result could generate financial gains more significant at an estate sale than you would have received had you chosen to go with a do it yourself garage sale.

Estate Sales Information – Know What You’re Selling And What You’re Buying

Slide1In a January article on manta (we included that in part 1 of increasing your audience on February 23rd) they discussed the important topic of knowing what you are selling and being informed about value.

This is important to estate sale companies. When describing your estate sale you want to make sure that you have adequately researched the items you have questions about to be able to present accurate information and price accordingly.

Many buyers today are very educated on what they see at estate sales. If you want to get your seller the best possible price at the sale, make certain you have done your due diligence and don’t just use Ebay. There are many resources available for information on the internet to assist you. Don’t hesitate to contact a local appraiser (well worth their fee) to be a knowledgeable estate sale liquidator. Estate sale companies are experienced and knowledgeable, but like anything else, you can’t always know it all and being resourceful is good business and showcases your many estate sale liquidation qualifications.  ISA (International Association of Appraisers) , ASA (American Society of Appraisers), and CAGA (Certified Appraisers Guild of America) trained appraisers are available across the country. Look on their websites to find one in your area. We have provided a link to each appraiser group, just click on the link. Both Judy Martin and Julie Hall are appraisers and have written articles in the past for Estate Sales News.

Buyers, if you are attending an estate sale you too should be informed. Attempting to purchase an item (without knowing what it is or is worth) and making inappropriate offers is a good way to alienate an estate sale company and perhaps have them prevent you from attending any of their future sales. Remember they represent a seller, have a fiduciary, and it is not their personal property to give away.

Generating A Bigger Audience For Estate Sales – Advertising Is Crucial Part 2

instagramIconPinterest logoMonday, February 23rd, we discussed five websites where you could include your estate sale company and website information. Today we will continue with more ways to grow the audience for estate sale buyers and sellers.

It is important to have print items as well.

Having a brochure (it can be two sided or a tri-fold) that describes your company and the services you provide is an excellent way of displaying your company and professionalism. It should include enough information that will interest perspective sellers wanting to call you and inquire further. It should include a some of your history, a few photos, your company logo, website address, and your telephone number.

You may want to consider (if your state or community permits) having magnetic signs made with your company name, logo, and phone number to go on the driver door and passenger front door of your vehicle. Some estate sale companies have gone to the extent of having their vehicle wrapped with advertising information.

Always have a stack of business cards at every sale. They are important for buyers and future sellers.

Having a small tripod that can be placed on a table near a cashier or staff member with notices of future sales is also important. It generates future interest. Just make sure it does not distract your cashier.

A guest book or email list near the check out is an excellent way to grow your email contacts.

Write your customers a newsletter. You can do this through various estate sale listing websites or Constant Contact. Keep them informed about sales and any news about your business. If you recently sold an unusual or difficult item let them know this. Also remind them what type of payments you accept and the terms of your sales. If you use one of several methods for orderly entry (sign-up list, numbers, etc) that should be included in every newsletter. Let them know about any new websites your company can be viewed on. You can even mention parking conditions at various sales. Keeping buyers (and future sellers if they would like to be included) informed is a vital way to get your message out to the public. Be sure to ask them to share your newsletter with friends or family as well.

If you have local newspapers that have readership you may want to advertise your company with them.

We also want to focus today on an important website that is often overlooked by estate sale companies. Pinterest. Estate Sales News uses this website to showcase estate sales and estate sale items. This is an excellent area to feature your sale photos and videos. We currently have 40 boards. If you are a member of Pinterest please visit us at this link.

Another new and popular website is Instagram. This site allows you to share social networking with photos and videos. It is another way to showcase your estate sale items, staging, and videos of your sales and testimonials.

We will continue providing information on audience generation and advertising next Monday.

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When A Loved One Dies Unexpectedly What To Do?

Your editor recently lost a close friend at an early age to cancer. Reading the news on MSN we have seen this happen with a New York Times Reporter, singer Lesley Gore, and many more.

At this very vulnerable time for you emotionally the decision of what to do is paramount?

It is very important that you have a relative(s) or friend(s) that you have confidence and trust in to be there not just for much needed emotional support, but to keep you from acting to quickly on the disposition of personal affects. Often times we want to “wrap” things up thinking this may ease the pain, but in most cases this will not help and you could be disposing of items of value emotionally and financially. That old saying “two heads are better than one” is most appropriate at this time.

After allowing yourself some time to mourn it is a good time to start looking for an estate liquidator. When you start (you can learn about the estate liquidation process and how to choose an estate sale company right here on EstateSalesNews.com) do not throw anything away and be sure to have a family member or friend with you as you begin the process.

It is vital for your well being to proceed step by step and when you have chosen your estate sale company feel confident and comfortable with your choice. Honesty and integrity are important for your emotional needs and the success of your estate liquidation.

Showcasing Estate Sales With Videos – For Buyers, Sellers, & Estate Sale Companies

We are already starting week three of February 2015 and estate sale companies are busier than ever.

With the competition for buyers and sellers increasing daily hundreds of estate sale companies are now using videos to attract the attention of buyers and sellers. This is truly a great form of advertising. It is important, however, to keep them within two to five minutes, showcase interesting items at the sale, and include either commentary or music that complements what will be available for purchase.

Let’s take a look at some recent videos from estate sale companies using this form of advertising. Here we show three videos from various estate sale companies showcasing their sales, a video testimonial from a seller, and a video from an estate sale company explaining to buyers how to attend their estate sales.

This video was from an estate sale conducted Four Sales Ltd., Daniel Sanders, Alexandria, VA.

Here is another video from McNeil Liquidations for a sale in early February in Mustang, OK

From Xcntric Estate Sales in Chicago here is another video for a late January, 2015 estate sale.

Here is a good way to showcase the work you do for sellers. A video from Crown City Estate Sales in southern California.

From Blue Moon Estate Sales in the Triad of North Carolina a video for buyers (less than 2 minutes) how to attend one of their estate sales.