During the process of downsizing you may wish to use the services of an estate liquidator to assist in the selling of belongings that you have decided not to take with you as part of your move.
While we help facilitate the selection of an estate liquidator for our clients needing this service, some people prefer to do this on their own. For those wishing to go it alone, here are a few tips and questions we recommend for consideration during the process of choosing an effective and trustworthy estate liquidator:
- Read the entire contract before signing. Be sure to exclude any items you choose not to sell that may have been present when they walked through the property.
- In order to avoid a conflict of interest, it may be better to choose an estate liquidator who is not also an antique dealer. Antique dealers may offer you low prices for certain items and then resell them for a profit.
- Be aware of what is covered by the percentage (fee) they charge. Is advertising, cleanup, storage, travel time, sales permit, and trash disposal included in the fee? Ask questions.
- Find out if there is an antique appraiser on staff. If you have items that may have value due to being antiques (you may have some and don’t even know it), it is a good idea to have an antique appraiser help with pricing.
- Will they consign items of increased value that don’t sell at the estate sale? If so, what is the consignment fee and details?
- What length of time will they require to set up for the sale? Make sure they can work within the timelines outlined in your home sale contract if you are selling a home.
- Will they offer a private pre-sale for family and close friends if requested?
- Can they arrange for shipment of items out of state? If so, what is the process?
- Do they clean up after the sale? To what degree? “Broom clean” is typical. If you are selling the home, it is important to know if they leave it empty after the sale or if you or someone else will be required to empty any remaining items. Good companies will leave the house totally empty and
- How well do they advertise, and what advertising sources do they use?
- Do they have a following of people who regularly attend their sales? If so, how many. Do they have a track record of successful sales in your area?
- How do they staff the sale (number of staff and security)? In large homes or when there are valuables, it is critical to have multiple staff members at the sale and sometimes paid security is also necessary. Make sure the contract addresses this and who pays for it.
- Here are a couple of common questions we receive clients and prospective clients along with answers.
What do estate sale companies charge for their services?
Estate sale companies vary in their fees. Many base their fee on the projected gross sales expected to be collected. For instance, if a car is included in the sale, they may reduce their fee percentage due to the increased proceeds anticipated by selling the car. It may also depend on whether the sale is held on-site (in your home) or if they are required to move your items to another location to sell. The typical fee percentage
ranges from 25% to 35%, with more experienced and upscale liquidators often charging more.
What if I don’t have enough stuff for an estate sale?
If an estate sale company determines that you have valuable items to sell, but there is insufficient quantity to warrant an individual estate sale, then they may choose to bring in items from another estate to increase the pool of potential buyers, or to take your things to another site. Yet another option is, they might wish to take particular items to their gallery for consignment, or ask you to allow them to market your valuable via the Internet. If the remaining items are not antiques or collectibles, it is sometimes more beneficial to allow an auction company to take them to their auction house for a sale, or to offer the items to a dealer for a modest “buy-out” amount.