Client Frequently Asked Questions
The idea of organizing and conducting a sale can be a daunting task. Calling on a professional and reputable estate services company to manage this responsibility is a solution for many. Here are some questions that our clients have asked that may also be occurring to you:
What is the first step?
Contact us, explain your situation, and schedule an appointment. We will view the home and its contents and listen to your specific concerns. Together with you, we will decide how to proceed in caring for your belongings or that of a family member. We will answer your questions and discuss when the sale could be held.
When should I call you?
Call as soon as you think that you might need our services. In some cases, an executor must wait to obtain a Letter of Authority to execute any legal documents; it can be several weeks before these are received. Don’t wait until you receive them! It is beneficial for us to preview the home and contents, especially regarding items that should be retained and those that could possibly be discarded. What could seem worthless and ready for the dumpster to you often has value and appeal to another. In any case, calling sooner than later puts you in a better position to understand what lies ahead.
What is the charge for the initial appointment?
There is no charge.
Should I throw out newspapers, magazines, and cleaning supplies?
Depending on their condition, these items could be salable and should be included in the sale. We can let you know if you should dispose of such items. Some people are collectors of old newspapers and magazines. And, as for cleaning supplies, many people see value in purchasing them, even if they are partially used.
Should I donate clothing, towels, and linens?
Again, these items can be sold and can increase the proceeds of the sale, unless these items are torn and stained.
How much time does it take to get ready for a sale?
This depends upon several factors…size and condition of the home, how many possessions are in the home, the condition of those possessions, whether there are out-buildings and how many there are and how full they are. The time frame can be determined after we have previewed your property.
What are your responsibilities?
We bring in our supplies such as display tables, shelving units, organizing containers, bags and tags, etc. We determine the most effective traffic flow in the home and set up our tables accordingly. We may also re-arrange furniture to enhance the usability of space. Once that is done comes the work of unpacking boxes, cabinets, drawers and closets. Items that can be sold are separated from those that cannot; items that cannot be sold are set aside either for donation or the trash. We research the value of any high-value items and price and tag all items, either individually or in bulk. Everything is beautifully arranged and displayed, ready for the buyers who will be attending the sale.
We price items based on our knowledge and experience of how much a given item is likely to sell for, which is fair and reasonable to both buyers and sellers. Pricing too low results in not obtaining as much as could have been realized. Pricing too high results in unsold items. For specialized items, we seek the guidance of experts to price the item accurately.
We prepare the advertising for the sale. This includes writing the ad for the sale, photographing many items that will be for sale, and uploading captioned photos to the online listing.
What are my responsibilities?
Remove personal and financial documents, family photographs and memorabilia, and any items that are not to be sold. Presentation is very important to the success of a sale so both items to be sold and the home must be clean before we begin our work; this is the Client's responsibility. For the security and success of the sale, the home cannot be open to visitors.
Who conducts the sale?
We provide extensive instructions and coaching for the client to conduct the sale.
How are you compensated?
We ascertain how much time will be required to set up the sale and the cost for us to do so. We prepare a quote for you. If this quote is acceptable to you, we prepare a contract that specifies the work we will do and the cost to do so. Upon acceptance of the contract, an initial deposit is required. A progress payment is made when we have completed the pricing. Final payment is made when we provide the guidelines for conducting the sale.
How many days is the sale conducted?
Typically, a sale runs for two to three days, (Thursday-Saturday) depending on the quantity of items to be sold.
Can we live in the house while you are setting up the sale?
As you can imagine, the home is in a state of upheaval during the set-up process and we need to completely focus on our work, working when and how we need to do so. Therefore, no one can live in the home or the property during the preparation for the sale.
If the house is going to be sold, is it better to have the estate sale first or to list the house for sale first?
How this matter is handled can have significant consequences. There are differing opinions about this matter; the most prevalent opinion is to get the house listed and get showings started. My husband, Larry, is a Realtor and he understands that thinking. However, in our experience in conducting estate sales, it may be more beneficial to the seller of the home to have the estate sale first for the following reasons:
(1) As explained in the previous question, the home is in a state of upheaval during the set-up process so the home does not present well for buyers nor is it conducive for buyers to be freely moving about the home. (2) Preparing for an estate sale requires the ability to focus on the task at hand; to accommodate visitors during this process changes that focus. (3) If a buy/sell contract is negotiated before the personal property has been sold, it is common for the seller to lose control of the pace at which they need to sell the personal property. In some cases, due to the requirements set by the buyer, the seller either does not have enough time to have a sale and/or has difficulty coordinating their closing date with the openings on estate sale companies schedules. We have personally observed that this situation places the seller under a great deal of pressure. On the other hand, when the personal property is sold first, this provides the opportunity to sell the house unencumbered and free of anxiety with respect to the personal property.