Unless you are thrilled to get rid of all of your possessions, chances are your estate sales is taking place because of any one of the “three D’s” – death, divorce or downsizing. When you live in the same house for thirty years, you accumulate stuff. Lots of stuff. Preparing to sell your possessions requires being ruthless, unemotional and motivated. And you need to know the true market value of things that you may have some extreme attachments to. Sounds like a job for a professional! To save time, money and heartache, many people today are turning to 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 sale 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 references.
Next, look into 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 items that don’t sell?
Make sure to be very thorough when you interview your prospective estate planning team. The better prepared you are, and the more comfortable you are with whomever you hire, the better your estate sale will be.
For our clients, we at Family Estate Planning Law Group may be able to refer you to qualified professionals. For more information, contact us to see if we can assist you in your search.
Reference: The Casper Journal (November 11, 2015) “Professionals can ease burden of planning estate sale”