Monday, March 21, 2011

So you think you want to have an estate sale?


With spring in the air, some people begins to consider liquidation of estates or households.  Here are some key tips to keep in mind when considering someone to liquidate for you or your family.

1. Do NOT box and/or drag everything out. First, you are creating entirely to much work for yourself and the company that you are hiring would prefer that you leave things as closely to the condition in which they were left as possible. Also, in boxing it up you can chip/damage glassware, tear collectible paper, or damage electronics. PLEASE REFRAIN FROM DOING THIS!

2. If a house has not been a smokers,  please don’t smoke in it.  If it has been smoked in, crack windows etc to help air the home out. Upholstered items in a smokers house are much harder to sell.

3. Get rid of all opened food and food with bad dates. Do not throw away the containers because often you will throw away the sugar bowl that matched grandma’s china.

4. Throw away all prescription medicine.

5. Properly dispose paint cans.

6. Do NOT throw out the linens. Towels, bed linens, etc are very sellable and even with holes.  Rag bags can be made for people who wash cars.

7. Do NOT throw anything away other than the items listed above. Leave the throwing out to the professionals. Remember one man’s junk is another mans treasure. You will probably throw out the item that would have sold first.

8. Do NOT get rid of clothing items. The professionals will know what will sell.  After the sale, whatever is left can be donated but remember every penny adds up.

9. This is not your granny’s yard sale nor is this a retail store. Just because granny paid $1,000 for an item doesn’t mean it will sell for that and it doesn’t mean it will only bring a few dollars. Items are priced according to extensive research and experience. This is why you hire a professional to maximize your profits and make every possible item sell. Remember it is in the best interest of the liquidator you hire to get you as much money as possible from of each item because their commission is banking on it. Don’t be offended if they tell you there isn’t enough to conduct a sale.  They are just saving you time and trouble.  However they may be able to offer you other sources.

10. Also take into consideration the preparation time your sale may take. Your liquidator may be working on several sales at one time. So please consider that they may need to set a sale up several weeks before the actual sale.

11. Utilities should be left on if possible. Trash has to be proper disposed and that isn’t the responsibility of the liquidator however if you require them to dispose of the trash, expect their commisson to be more. Water is a must so that items are clean, and restrooms are always needed for your liquidator (not for public use). Electric is nice, people don’t like shopping in the dark.

12. Perhaps the most important of all is to take into consideration of what will happen with what is left. Remember no matter how fabulous the sale, you will always have something left. Many liquidators leave this headache to you or will give you a list of potential people that "might" help you take care of it.   My personal opinion on this subject is that is what you hired a liquidator to do, “LIQUIDATE”;  meaning they are responsible for seeing that this is done and  is not your problem. That should be included in their commission and contract. They should also have to do a sweep clean of the house. These means that counters are wiped down, and the house is mopped or vacuumed before the turning the key back over.

I do understand some people don’t want it cleaned out and that is fine but discuss it upfront before the sale is conducted. Start with the end in mind!

13.  You don't have to have antiques to have an estate sale.  People like to buy everything a household has to offer.  In this economy,  I have a lot of customers just looking for a variety of items from everyday things including groceries to nice used furniture. 

If you will follow these simple steps you will have a great sale with little if any headaches.

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