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Tips on Choosing an Estate Sale Company that’s right for you.
There are several things you can do yourself to help in the decision making process.
Need help finding a company? We've made it easy.
Learn About Estate Sales
This will enable you to ask specific questions about the process to the companies.
Interview More Than Two
Look over the complete list of companies in your area. Call as many as possible for information about the services they offer.
What Do Estate Sale Companies Charge?
Don't let the percentage charged be the only criteria when choosing a company. A lower percentage does not necessarily mean you will make more money. If a company with more experience knows that you have a collection worth a good amount of money, they could possibly make you more money even while charging a higher percentage if a less experienced company misses the opportunity.
Interview In Person
Once you have narrowed it down to a few companies ask them to come and meet with you. They will want to see what you want liquidated.
Do NOT Throw Anything Away
Do not throw anything away before meeting with the companies. Every company will tell you this and there is a reason. That "pile of junk" or "that trash" might be worth big money. Seriously...don't throw anything away until you have an expert look at it.
Removing Items After An Interview
Realize that most companies work on a percentage so the more they make for you the more they make. Also, realize they may make a bid to you based on what you represent will be for sale. Many will charge a commission once they have started working on the sale and something is removed. If you intend to take items let the companies know on the front end and have it in the contract.
Everybody loves to hate them. Different states / counties have different requirements for estate sales. Find out whether sales tax is supposed to be charged or not and then ask each company whether they do.
Research, Research, Research
Make sure you feel comfortable with the company before signing a contract. READ EVERY WORD ON THE CONTRACT. Check with your local better business bureau to be sure there aren't outstanding issues with the company you have chosen. If there are, ask the company about it.
Visit a Sale
The best way to get a feel for a company is to watch them in action. Go to a sale and don't let them know who you are. Look and see how it is set up. Interact with their staff at the checkout. Do they treat people with respect? Are they efficient? Look for what is important to you.
Ask for References
Ask the company for letters of reference and contact information for recent clients. Contact those clients and find out what they liked and what they didn't like. Ask them specifically "What do you wish would have been done better?"
Get a Contract
A contract is extremely important. It should detail out when the sale will be held, how much the company is charging, when you will get paid, etc. Do not hire a company without a contract. Do not hire a company that states in their contract that you will be responsible for their legal fees if you choose to sue them.
ASK THE COMPANY IF YOUR PERCENTAGE IS OUT OF THE GROSS SALES OR NET SALES, IF THEY SAY “GROSS SALES” THEN THEY WILL BE MAKING MORE MONEY THAN YOU. WE STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU ONLY HIRE A COMPANY ON THE NET SALES AS THAT IS THE ACTUAL MONEY COLLECTED ON SALES. You should both have a copy of the contract after signing it. A good contract details out what is expected of each party.
Ask The Same Questions
Make a list of questions to ask each company. That way you are comparing apples to apples. They may have a brochure or something they can send you in the mail. Here are some questions you may want to consider asking:
How many days do you think it will take to set up?
What is your commission?
Are there fees besides your commission?
Do you have insurance?
How long after the sale will I be paid?
Do you have an appraiser on staff or access to one? If they are an appraiser ask for their license or proof they are. Many companies out there state they are a certified appraiser and they really are not.
What is your field of expertise? Antiques, Art, Furniture, etc?
How many people do you generally have staff a sale like mine?
How will my home be left? Broom Clean, Empty, etc?
Do you or your employees buy items?
Do you have a store?
Do you have a contract? Can I take a copy home with me to look over?
Do you pre-sell or allow people early entry?
Do you charge sales tax?
Do you have any sales coming up that I could visit to see how your sales are conducted?
How many days will the sale itself be?
When would you be able to do the sale?