Choosing the Right Estate Sale Professional Part 1

You might think choosing a Professional Estate Seller is as easy as picking up the phone. Do you choose your DOCTOR, LAWYER, or CPA that way? The estate sale business has made major strides in the past 10 years. It’s become a cottage industry that brings in multiple thousands of dollars weekly! So why wouldn’t you do your homework and find the right individual(s) to do your estate?

Fred and I have a few tips we think may be helpful. First –

The Don’ts.

1. Don’t hire a friend, a friend of a friend, or a relative. They may be nice, but that doesn’t mean they have experience conducting sales.

2. Don’t hire someone just because they do/have done garage sales. Estate Sales and Garage Sales ARE NOT THE SAME. Not even close.

The Do’s.

1. Hire someone who actually does estate sales on a regular basis. They are more likely to be well known by estate sale enthusiasts who follow specific Sellers wherever they go – across the street or in another county.

2. Hire a professional who actually has a recognizable name. Ask a prospective Seller if they have a DBA (doing business as) certificate. If they do, they probably have a checking account set up in the company’s name and have a Tax ID Number.

Note … Some Sellers don’t use their name or any recognizable name in order to fly under the radar when advertising. Some advertising venues allow only 2 sales per year per individual; thus, the Seller bounces from name to name and credit card to credit card and doesn’t create much of a following – loyal or not.

3.   Make sure your Seller has a formal contract that spells out –
a.  Seller’s responsibilities
b.  Homeowner’s responsibilities
c.  Percentage of sale proceeds – 35~50% (gross v. net).
d.  Elapsed time between end of sale and distribution of proceeds.

4.  Ask the prospective Estate Seller for references. CALL THEM. Read any on-line reviews. Look over their website. Check their rating with the BBB.

Another thought from a reader …

5.  CL writes … One of the most important traits in hiring a professional is – That they see and feel the individual’s human emotion. Sentimental issues. When I say this – Is the sale because of an immediate need for food, to pay bills, to pay the rent/mortage?

Fred and I agree, it’s important to connect and be comfortable with an Estate Sale Professional. You will sign a contract … AND … hand over the keys to your home to that person. But we believe those feelings should be based on concrete practices first, followed by empathy shown during an interview second.

THE GOAL should be …
— Hire a professional (someone who knows the business – pricing, staging, advertising, city codes, etc.);
— Hire a person or company with a good track record (references, BBB, etc); and
— Hire a person or company who believes the Client is first and foremost – NOT THE PEOPLE WHO COME TO THE SALE!

That’s the professional who will maximum $$$ from your sale.

If you think hiring is cut and dried, it’s not. The nuances to everything we’ve mentioned are many. Next week expect us to expand on those details. Not all estate sale professionals are right for all estate sales. Location, Size, Timing – all these things and more contribute to the success of your sale.