Researching Estate Liquidators?
Be sure to ask these 5 Important Questions to receive the highest value for your estate items
During these drastic times, some people are taking drastic measures. Let’s face it, the economy for the past 4 years has been less than rosy. People are unemployed or underemployed and the recovery has been slow. Oftentimes families find themselves in a position to downsize their households. Others turn to their collectibles or items they have been saving for a rainy day, to sell in order to just get by. We are seeing Baby Boomers handling their parent’s estate as they downsize, move to assisted living or even move in under the same roof. Estate liquidation is a viable means to the end of finding new homes for your treasures and get cash for your household items. One of the advantages of hiring an estate liquidator is that there is typically no out-of-pocket expense for you as the client. In fact, all the work is handled by the estate liquidator from prepping the estate, to research and pricing, advertising and running the sale. About a week or so after the estate sale has ended you receive a report and payment. All the headache and stress of figuring out what to do with the estate is handled for you.
It’s more important than ever to find the RIGHT estate liquidation company. We’ve come up with the 5 Questions you should ask when you are researching estate liquidators. We hope you find them helpful!
1. Are they BBB accredited with a history of being a reliable and respectable business? It could be a red flag that you are working with a company that has not established a solid reputation in your community. The best marketing tool any company has is positive word-of-mouth and a solid reputation. Do your homework to ensure you are hiring truly respectable businesses.
2. Do they collect and pay sales tax on your behalf at the city and state level? If a business does not collect sales tax during the liquidation, it is not operating as a real business should. Also, you as the client could be liable for making such payments after the fact, including interest and penalties.
3. Do they earn you top dollar? Estate liquidation is much more than simply emptying your house after a move. Does the liquidator have the experience to handle valuable items? Do they take the time and have the connections to do proper research? Some unscrupulous liquidators will buy your items on the “cheap” then resell them themselves at a later time, place or date. Find out if they have their own storage space, retail store or auction. Certainly the liquidator is not motivated to get you the absolute best price on your items if they can wait and sell them later themselves. You are much better served by estate liquidators who run “pure” estate sales with no “sweetheart deals” with or early sales to their dealer friends.
It is also important to point out that hiring an estate liquidator because they charge the lowest percentage, more often than not does not result in a bigger bottom line. In fact the converse is most often true. Quality, experience and attention to detail really do make a difference in your bottom line. (Read our follow-up blog post that explains this point even further.)
4. Do they have client references that you can personally contact? Ideally former clients that have utilized their services are the ones to whom you want to speak. Be sure to ask the references for details about the preparation of their sales as well as the sale itself, and the final reporting and delivery of payment.
5. Are they bonded and insured? Bonding addresses the trustworthiness of the business and the insurance is to protect both you and the estate sale company from liability.
Once you have received satisfactory answers to the above five questions as well as evidence to validate the responses, you now have your short list of the estate liquidation companies with which you should continue your discussions. Beware shopping by percentage alone. As with almost any service, you do truly get what you are willing to pay for. If there is anyway possible, go to sales run by the companies on your short list. You will readily note differences in the way they operate and deal with the customers as well as the sale items.
Congratulations! You have just increased the value you will receive for liquidating your estate.