Category Archives: Professional Liquidators

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.

Estate Sales, Spring Is Coming and Now Is The Time To Find Your Estate Sale Company

how-to-chooseAlthough parts of the northeast are buried under feet of snow, spring is coming and estate sale companies are booking estate liquidations quickly.

If you are planning on having an estate sale, right now is the time to start looking for the estate liquidator to work for you.

Lets review some basics and then you can use our printable list to assist you helping you with all the steps in the process. Look for the link on the top of our Front Page How to Choose an Estate Sale Company for more details and also a host of information including estate sale contracts.

  • Ask your family, friends, neighbors, Realtor or attorney if they know a liquidator they would recommend and be sure to ask why.
  • Look at the estate sale listing websites, EstateSales.Net EstateSales.org, Estatesale.com and Estatesale.company. These four companies feature the most estate sale companies that are listed on the internet across the country. They also feature their current or upcoming estate sales (you may want to attend some estate sales).
  • After reviewing estate liquidators on these websites and looking at their sales listed take time to look for internet reviews.
  • Call at least three companies to conduct an initial phone interview. Decide if you would be interested in pursuing these liquidators and inviting them to your property where the estate sale would take place. Once you have at least two or three companies, set up appointments well spaced apart to walk them through the property and discuss their services afterwards.
  • When you sit down with the estate sale company to discuss work, fees or commissions, availability dates for a sale, length of sale, set-up etc., be sure they completely review their contract with you. Ask questions, and do not hesitate to seek legal advice if you are unsure of the contract.
  • Once you have decided on a liquidator and have done your due diligence remember you have based your choice on the best information possible, that they are professional in what they do and ask them what if anything you can do to assist.
  • Now it is time to let them get to work and do their job. Don’t micromanage and only step in with a genuine concern.

These are the very basics for your search for an estate sale company. Never a 100% guarantee, but with so many thousands of reputable, experienced, knowledgeable estate sale companies out there you have done your best. Now let your estate sale company do their best for you.

New Advertising Ideas For Estate Sales In 2015 – Facebook

facebook-logo2015 has begun with many places experiencing stormy weather and the addition of many new companies.

Now is a great time to start implementing new or different advertising.

We have talked about social media, however, in 2015 getting your message out to a large audience is vital and Facebook may well be the newest and best way to advertise without breaking your budget. If you don’t have a Facebook business page you should and be posting about your upcoming estate sales and company. Consider boosting your Facebook page posts. You can boost your post for as little as $5.00/day and keep your promote your website with or without a targeted audience for $10.00/day or more. Affordable with a wide audience.

Craig Robinson of Guerrilla Marketing wrote an article back in September of 2012 “Facebook vs Google”.

To quote Mr. Robinson from his article “With Google, you’re attempting to drive people to a destination. That destination isn’t on “Google” per se; it’s just your site. On Facebook, you’re driving within the network and can drive outside of it. Thus you can narrow the focus tremendously. Your fan page or business page can pick up a head of stream through likes and sharing and unique content within the social context of the Facebook framework. You have many different filters that can be applied to help you keep this focus as narrow or as broad as you wish. It’s much easier to reach the right audience, and the word-of-mouth factor is exponentially increased on a social network when compared to the Internet at large.”

In a January 15th, 2014 article in the New York Times by Eilene Zimmerman wrote about Facebook revamping their ads to compete with Google click here for link to article .

Putting it simply Facebook likes can do more for your estate sales attendance and website than Google and your audience is broad and can grow.

Twitter also offers advertising although some question it’s effectiveness, however, keeping your Twitter audience connected to Facebook with #(hashtags) and mentions can be of great assistance.

With the growing number of estate sale companies, keeping a step ahead of your competition is not only important to you, but to your sellers.

When interviewing and conducting your presentations with perspective sellers either with the use of tablets, laptops, or print media showcase your Facebook business page. Let the world know you are there and what your selling.

Kick Off 2015 Estate Sale Companies And Be Seen And Heard

2015 begins with 7,000 plus estate sale companies, and there is a lot of competition to get the attention of perspective sellers and buyers. Financial success is determined by the number of sellers and buyers you reach.

Sellers are using search engines to find estate sale companies in their areas and buyers are using them to find estate sales. They are searching “estate sales” and what usually shows up in their search are the estate sale listing websites; EstateSales.Net., EstateSales.org, Estatesale.com, Estatesale.company, Tagsellit.com are among the most well known.

These companies utilize several ways to attract the attention of sellers and buyers, but one of the most important is search engine optimization (SEO). Wikipedia offers the simplest description of this “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results.”

SEO considers what people search for when using Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc typing in what are called key words. Some examples would be estate sales, estate sale companies, estate sale commission, etc. Without getting to complicated a good example would be to type into a search engine what you are specifically looking for and observe what responses you receive on the first page. Many estate sale companies (as well as other types of companies) are unaware that the more often a company appears on page one of a search engine such as Google as the result of a search and the more frequently it is clicked on the more often it will appear on page one and it’s position on the page can move from the bottom upward toward the top. Google remembers and tracks everything. That is a good reason to have some type of analytics for your website (a topic for another day).

It is important when having a website created that whoever is developing the website seeks out what terms (key words) are being typed into the search engine. Either you or them should check out your competition by searching. These words should be incorporated into your website both on the visible page and in an area that is known as meta tags or head space and these are put within the code of your website not visible to the public. These are crawled (reviewed) by search engines. Keeping you on page one and as close to the top as possible is important. There are many companies both here in the United States and abroad that offer SEO so you don’t have to be a computer geek to do this. It may be some of the best money you will spend and you can also let your sellers know that you are keeping technology proficient for their benefit.

One consideration is the pay per click or ad space that is usually at the top of the search engine page after typing in and receiving the results of your search. This can be costly, so if you or someone you pay can optimize your site it can save you many dollars. The paid advertisers will always have the space or spaces at the top of the page.

Kick off 2015 by getting your website noticed and your estate sales seen. A great New Year resolution.