Picking The Best Estate Sale Company
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Once you’ve made the decision to hold an estate sale and start interviewing potential companies, you’re going to find that they’re not all the same. Sure, their goal is the same—they want to generate the largest possible amount of revenue through the sale of the estate’s items in a short period of time. But the company’s methods, and the type of items you have for sale, will help determine what kind of sale you will have.
So how do you pick the best company for your situation?
Consider your house
In what condition is the property you’re clearing out? Is the company going to have to put in a lot of time and manpower to make the home presentable enough to allow shoppers? Are you expecting them to have the home broom-clean at the end of the sale, or have the entire home cleared out? If you’re cleaning out the home of a hoarder, for example, look for a company with experience in those sorts of situations. If that person is struggling with the idea of clearing out their home, find a company who you are confident can be empathetic to the situation.
Consider your schedule
How much lead time does the company need to set up and hold a sale? Is that time you have to spare? Do you need the space cleared out as soon as possible, making a company with an off-site location perhaps more enticing to you?
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Consider your stuff
If you have specialty items—a collection of fine art, say, or vintage tools—make sure the company you hire has experience selling them. An skilled company will know how to get the best price for that item, even if it means opening it up to a larger market beyond a local estate sale.
Do you have jewelry or other valuables that could, potentially, be easily stolen? Find out how the companies you’re considering deter shoplifters. Do they hire security? Install cameras? Keep a watchful eye? All good options for certain situations. Make sure you’re comfortable with the method they will employ.
Consider your location
There are items (art, for example), that may find a more enthusiastic market elsewhere in the country. Find an estate sale company that specializes in what you’re selling, if you’ve got specialty items to sell. Will they consider offering the items to a larger market if they’re unlikely to get the best price locally? How will they do that?
Consider their practices
Attend an estate sale, and see how they run things. Every company is different—make sure you’re happy with how they work. How did they treat their customers? How did they promote the sale?
Compare their fees
Does the company charge fees for clean up or trash-hauling? What about for advertising or for accepting credit cards? There are a variety of fees that could be included with the sale. How important are these services to you and your situation? How does it affect their commission rate? And how much experience does the company have? A long-standing company may have a higher rate than one that started just a year ago, but their knowledge and experience could mean better-educated pricing.
Ultimately, consider what will bring the best return rate for you.