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How to Find an Estate Sale Company That’s Right for You

Not all estate sale companies are alike.  There are those who operate with a high standard of ethics and integrity, dedicate their careers to the industry, and put their clients’ needs first.  These are the estate sale professionals that you need to find and hire.  Much like any other industry, there are good estate sale professionals and less than stellar estate sale professionals.  It falls on the one doing the hiring to decipher who is a good fit for them and who isn’t.  How can you tell the difference? Do some research.

Much about interviewing estate sale professionals comes down to gut instinct and how you feel about the person you are considering.  If you feel good about them, confident they can do an excellent job for you, and you have no doubts, these are usually good signs to move forward.  On the other hand, if there is something you can’t quite put your finger on that is bothersome, or you feel uncomfortable for any reason, listen to that feeling. While there is no perfect way of selecting an estate sale company, there are some things that can help you proactively through the process.  It is worth the effort to do so.

How to find an estate sale company   

  • Ask trusted professionals (estate attorneys, financial planners, realtors, accountants) or family/friends in the location of the estate.  They may know of a company with a stellar reputation to offer you.  If you are given the same name of a company numerous times, then that is usually an indicator that they have done good work for their clients.
  • The American Society of Estate Liquidators® www.ASELonline.com for nationwide members.  Click on “Find A Liquidator“.
  • Yellow pages and online Yellow Pages: look under Estate Sales, Estate Liquidators, Appraisers.  It is recommended to research each company you’re interested in hiring.
  • You can Google/search online for a company.  It is recommended to research each company you’re interested in hiring.
  • Call an estate planning lawyer in that city and ask the paralegal for a trusted referral.

Questions for a prospective estate sale company:

Many of these questions will be answered during the first meeting during conversation.

  • How long have you been in business? Those new to the industry can be excellent too, especially if they have been professionally trained.
  • Ask for 2-3 professional references for sales they have conducted recently
  • Ask if they have any credentials, certifications, special education? This adds credibility and shows their commitment to their career.
  • Do they charge a flat fee or commission?
  • What is their percentage of commission?
  • What services are included in that percentage?
  • What must I do to prepare for you to begin?
  • Are there any additional fees? Additional services you offer?
  • Do you charge extra to clean up prior to the sale, as well as post-sale?
  • How many days will it take you to set up for the sale?
  • Do you price every item?
  • How do you keep track of what items sell for?
  • How many days do you hold the sale?
  • Can the family be present?  (generally not recommended)
  • How do you handle discounts or negotiations?
  • May I see a copy of your contract?
  • Are you insured/bonded?
  • Do you also clean out estates?  If so, how much do you charge?

Call or check online your local BBB to see if they have any unresolved complaints against them.  Also check Angie’s List, etc., and online reviews if you search for a company. Remember that some negative online reviews may be unjustified or unreasonable.  Multiple negative reviews should be looked at more closely.

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