Knowledge IS power. Part of my mission as a professional appraiser and estate sale representative has been to provide knowledge so my clients can make decisions in their best interest. In this, and the next two articles I will endeavor to provide you with information about estate sales, auctions and the pros and cons of both. Tips and tools of the trade for estate or downsizing dilemmas.
This article deals with estate sale know how. Can you do it yourself or is it best to hire a professional to represent you? Life events bring us to a need to either downsize ourselves or to dispose of estate items of a loved one that just will not fit into our own homes. Many people end up paying storage fees for months or years until they decide it is best to sell off stored items. Then they are faced with where and how to sell it.
When you are downsizing or moving, when you are a representative for a family member or friend’s estate, it is always best, if possible, not to move the contents but to sell them at the home location. The question is if you can “do it yourself” or hire a estate sale representative. I personally dislike the moniker of estate sale liquidator as it implies selling under duress for pennies.
In doing a sale yourself you will need to assess how many people you have available to sort, display and monitor the estate sale. Will your support group of friends and family be able to provide moving and lifting, cleaning, trash disposal, and security for your sale? What will you have to hire outside people to do? Do you or your support group have “product” knowledge about what you will be selling?
So often over the years, I have observed or heard of valuable estate items sold for a tiny fraction of their worth due to ignorance of identification and recognition of worth. The item(s) you think are worth very little may be the most valuable item in the home. Selling a Monet pencil drawing, lost for many years, for $10 is a good example! I advise a minimum of a walk-through value consultation by a qualified professional appraiser. The article last month went in depth on how to choose such a professional appraiser.
You can, with support, do it yourself. You will need to arrange supplies for cleaning, marking, display, and for the sale itself. Some estates are very clean, others not so much! The definition of estate is not just after passing, it includes all a person’s possessions, living or deceased. Some estates are overflowing, a real challenge. Others clean, neat, and organized.
Lots to consider, lots of work, but you can save a lot of money if you do it yourself correctly. Otherwise, find an estate sale representative/agent that will work hard for your interests. I again dislike what many people call themselves…estate sale liquidators. You want an estate sale agent marketing your property, not liquidating it. Find an agent known for integrity, organization, and one who will work hard to maximize your bottom line.
Does that seem acceptable to you? Not to me.
Either way you choose, there is much to consider before deciding which way to go. Hopefully this will give you some of the information you will need to decide for yourself the best way to proceed. Next month I will provide information on auctions which is also and option to consider when downsizing or planning an estate sale.