A Guide for Choosing an Estate Sale Company
What you need to know, questions you need to ask when choosing an estate sale company or hiring an estate liquidator.
Estate sales have been around for centuries, and so have many estate sale liquidators, but in recent years, and due to the difficult economic hardships, many unemployed individuals have found the estate sale industry financially attractive and easy to bridge.
There are no current accrediting bodies that regulate the estate sale industry; there are simply good estate sale companies and bad estate sale companies, making it difficult for heirs and executors, when making a decision on choosing an estate sale company.
Empowering yourself with information and a list of questions should help you in the process of choosing an estate sale company and succeeding in hiring an estate liquidator to meet your needs.
Rely on Referrals
Personal referrals are the best way to start compiling your list. Rely on friends, family, neighbors, real estate agent or broker and/or your probate or estate attorney.
Internet Search and Browse
In today’s market, if your business is not online, you’re not in business. A quick search for a “local estate sale company” should give you a hefty list to choose from. Beware of the paid ads, being first on google doesn’t always mean you’re good, it simply means they are paying to be there.
Evaluate their overall image online, do not bypass a company with a few bad reviews and choose one with none, it may simply mean they are very active and experienced, and online bad reviews are believable if there’s a pattern of negative reviews not one or two with many other positives.
Once you’ve compiled a list of estate liquidators to choose from, begin by calling.
Your interview process begins the minute they answer the phone. A professional estate sale company will lead with personalized attention, followed by business-related discussions which is something less experienced estate sale companies have not grasped.
The estate sale process and success of the sale is based on good communication and a good relationship between you and the estate sale company. Once you’ve established a comfort for the person you’re speaking with, use these questions to help you choose an estate sale company:
- How long have you been in business?
- Are you fully insured and bonded?
- How many staff members will you dedicate to my sale?
- Will you move and arrange all the items accordingly?
- Will you price each item in my home?
- How do you market my sale?
- Can you provide me with references?
- Are you experienced in the Probate Sale process (if your estate sale is relating to probate)
- Will you give me a breakdown of items sold and dollar amounts?
- How much do you charge?
Since it is not regulated, each estate sale company fees are different. It’s important to look beyond what an estate sale company charges and focus on the many additional added services they may provide in order to insure a successful estate sale for you and your family.
The percentage variance is small between each company when compared to the level of quality you will receive.
The added services they provide may be included in the percentage fee or may cost more, this is why it’s important to ask, listen and evaluate before choosing an estate sale company and finally hiring an estate liquidator.
A few added services an estate sale company may provide
- Online sales of your valuable items to a global audience and specific collectors beyond your on-site sale.
- Consignment services for estate sale items that may not sell during an estate sale, this saves you from separately hiring a consignment shop for some of your items.
- Online marketing presence. They are visible and active online including social media followers and potential buyers.
- Online featured marketing of their sales on estate sale directories.
- Appraisal services of your valuable items if needed.
- A complete clean out after the estate sale and debris removal.
Anyone considering hiring an estate sale company should make sure they are licensed with the city/state, bonded, insured and a member in good standing with their local BBB. Without the aforementioned, anyone in a vulnerable state can be easily taken advantage of. Bonnie Frederics, Arizona Estate Sales & Liquidation, LLC
Once you’ve made your preliminary choice, schedule a meeting in your home where you can further evaluate the estate sale company, a professional and experienced estate sale company will also do the same by asking, interviewing and evaluating you and the contents of your home as a potential estate sale client.
Never proceed with a verbal agreement and a hand shake, rely on written documentation and a signed legal contract when choosing an estate sale company. When you sign a contract, you are both bound to uphold the terms of the contract. The terms will vary with each company and also based on geographical location.
The length of time an estate sale is held differs from region to region. Here in Arizona, estate sales in Tucson are mostly limited to a maximum of one and a half days due to HOA regulations. Estate sale discounts can be had the first day. Bonnie Frederics
Have you hired an estate sale company? How was your experience?. Will you apply the questions above when hiring an estate liquidator?.