“Do’s” and “Don’ts” of an Estate Sale

 Posted by Caring Transitions on November 3, 2014 at 6:24 PM

“Do’s” and “Don’ts” of an Estate Sale

One of the challenges consumers face when moving to a smaller space is trying to determine what to do with their downsized possessions.  Today there are more options than ever, including charitable donations, live auctions, online auction sites, tag sales, traditional garage sales and Estate Sales.

For people who have a fair amount of valuable inventory but not a lot of time, an Estate Sale can be a very positive experience.  Estate Sales are run by professionals, who, for an administrative fee and/or a percent of total sales, manage everything for you, including decluttering, home inventory, heavy lifting, pricing, advertising, marketing, and set up. After the sale, qualified experts such as Caring Transitions can also help with move management or help organize clean up, donations, transport or shipping and reconciliation of sales receipts.

DO follow these guidelines

  • Ask for references from any company you employ. You may even want to attend another sale they are holding and see how smoothly it runs. Always use a professional company who is in the business of running Estate Sales.
  • Ask if the company carries liability insurance for business operations and the merchandise they sell, as well as personal injury liability coverage and importantly, workers compensation for employees.
  • Hire the specialist you feel you can trust and discuss payment methods before the contract is signed. Some specialists charge an administrative fee or “minimum” to prepare the sale and others include those same fees in their commissions.
  • Understand that choosing a lower commission percentage does not necessarily mean you will make more money. A skilled professional, with a list of buyers, may make you more money even while charging a higher percentage.
  • Understand it can take days or even a couple weeks to prepare for a sale. Preparation includes, sorting, cleaning, pricing, tagging, merchandising the sale, advertising, arranging for labor and security and selling.
  • Be sure you receive an itemized list of the items in the sale and items sold, after the sale.
  • Discuss the specialist’s process for turning over hidden valuables or personal items found during the sorting process.
  • Allow the specialist to clean the items. Some items are delicate and cleaning may result in damage to valuables.
  • Understand that age does not always equal value in an item. Authenticity is the true guide to value and the item also has to hold its value in today’s market. Your specialist has many resources to help them determine value of special items.
  • Be sure to reserve the items your family wishes to keep and make sure everyone has a list of those items so they are not included in the sale or sales contract.
  • DON’T allow inexperienced or unprofessional people run your sale. This rarely, if ever, produces optimal results and may cost more in the long run as they will have to purchase materials and displays, buy extra advertising, purchase signage and take the time to research prices. The result is usually something like a failed garage sale, leaving you with a lot of unsold items and very little to show for the items that did sell.
  • DON’T be discouraged if an Estate Sale isn’t right for you! Caring Transitions can offer many options to help liquidate, sell, and auction your belongings!

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