Choosing the Right Estate Sale Professional … Part 2

Avoiding the Less Than Wonderful Estate Sellers

Fred and I have attended estate sales that never should have happened … haphazard setups … poorly managed staff … little or no research before pricing … and other poor business practices. We believe it’s due to the explosion of sales throughout the Metroplex and the rise of mediocre Sellers.

Why does a homeowner hire someone like that? The Number 1 reason is to cut costs. A mediocre Seller will charge a lower percentage to do the sale (around 35%); thus, undercutting the Professional who charges 40% to 50%. The client thinks he/she is getting a bargain, but it’s far from it. Estate Sales have fixed costs … supplies, staff, expert evaluations/pricing, advertising, etc.

Low Ball Sellers don’t …

** Hire enough staff to adequately stage a sale which means …

  • No one washes the glass or polishes the silver.
  • Tables aren’t covered with tablecloths.

** Take time to research prices. The results … items are priced too high or too low or not at all. Shoppers HATE having to find someone to price an unmarked item.

** Call in experts to price rare or unusual pieces. Specifically in the fields of Asian artifacts, Art, Books, Coins, Jewelry & Watches, Rugs, etc. In the end, that valuable piece you had is sold for a fraction of its value and the shopper gets a prize (probably a dealer who knew the difference).

Low Ball Sellers rush through the preparations of a sale and then use minimal staff to run the sale. At 35% you have to cut corners to make even a small profit. When it’s all over the Seller heads off to the next project while the homeowner is off to a retirement home or assisted living. Is that really how you want your estate sale done?

Before you think it’s just the Low Ball Seller who gives the estate sale business a black eye – it’s not. You have some companies that do 2, 3, or 4 sales every weekend. You have other companies that are franchises. They may charge the client for their time (preparing and running a sale). Both type of Sellers have potential drawbacks. More on those in the weeks to come.