Estate sales come at a time when families are at a crossroads resulting from one of the dreaded three D’s: death, divorce, and downsizing. For many, the task of organizing items acquired over a lifetime can be overwhelming, especially when coupled with having to determine each item’s value. It’s a task that can take novices not weeks but months, which is why many people enlist the help of professional estate sale planners.
The Casper Journal’s recent article, “Professionals can ease burden of planning estate sale,” provides some good advice on the subject.
Selecting a reputable estate sales professional is important. These are your possessions, and many of them are valuable.
When finding an estate sales person, ask your family, friends, and business professionals for recommendations. Your estate planning attorney may have some very good references.
Next, look into their business histories and customer reviews at the Better Business Bureau’s website, and conduct a search online to see what type of articles or reviews of their services have been posted.
You should then choose a few and interview these professionals in person before deciding on the company you want to engage. Ask them about their credentials, certifications, and education in the area of estate sales. Also, make sure that they are insured and bonded.
Ask for the names of three or four references. Contact them to find out about their experiences working with the company and whether or not they would hire them again.
Before signing the contract, make sure you understand it, and consider asking your attorney to review it for you. Just so there are no surprises, you’ll want to find out the following from the estate sales business you plan to use:
- Does the company charge a flat fee or commission?
- What is their commission and are there additional fees?
- What services are included?
- What do you need to prepare for the sale?
- Is there an extra charge to clean before and after the sale?
- How much time will they need to get the estate ready for the sale?
- How are sales recorded?
- Can the family attend?
- How are discounts or negotiations handled?
- What do they do with stuff that doesn’t sell?
Ask these questions well in advance so you’re totally prepared when the time comes to have an estate sale.