Planning an estate sale requires a tremendous amount of admin, organization, and coordination. The emotional effort of sorting through family heirlooms and sentimental items on top of logistics can make the entire experience even more overwhelming. That's why many people hire a professional estate sale company to handle everything.
These companies know what they’re doing and they do it well. With an estate sale company by your side, you can typically get more money than you would have otherwise. Best of all, you don’t have to deal with any of the administrative tasks, nor the stress of sorting through and pricing your belongings.
This guide covers the most important things you need to look out for and questions you should ask if you want to sift through the many options and find an estate sale company you can trust.
Signs you're working with a professional estate sale company
Whether you want to plan an estate sale due to a death, divorce, or simply because you want to downsize, knowing how to spot a good estate sale company will help ensure you have a good experience and get the most value for your items.
The only problem is that there are now so many companies promising cleared out homes and great profits, it’s challenging to choose between them. How do you know which ones are trustworthy and will work hard to get the greatest possible value for your things?
Here are 8 things you should look for when choosing a professional estate sale company.
1. They're licensed and insured
The estate sale industry is not regulated like other industries. This means companies can operate without any sort of licensing or experience. However, professional estate sale companies will have a business license and may be members of associations that promote ethics for the industry and have requirements for gaining membership.
Legitimate companies will also have insurance. This could be professional liability insurance, workers' compensation insurance, or both. Requesting information about insurance coverage is an effective way to separate the professionals from amateurs.
2. They're confident, experienced appraisers
Pricing items for an estate sale requires specialized knowledge, which is why good companies are experienced at appraisals. Their industry expertise and eye for valuables mean they know the difference between trash and treasure and can offer insight that maximizes profits.
Hiring an estate sale company that has someone on their team who knows how to appraise items properly increases your chances of getting more value for your things.
Some of the questions you should ask include:
- How do you appraise and price items?
- How many years of experience do you have?
3. They're keen salespeople committed to getting you the highest possible price
When it comes to getting the highest possible price for items, it takes a lot more than just bringing in a professional. You want a company that is going to pull out all the stops to get as much money as possible for your valuables. The more resourceful they are, the more likely there are to get better prices.
If there are highly valuable or niche items, the estate sale organizer may send those items to a high-end auction house, list them for sale in a consignment shop, or post them on collectors' websites to try and get a higher price.
4. They're strategic marketers with an engaged digital following
Marketing is essential for getting customers to sales, so you should expect pretty much all estate sale companies to do some type of marketing. However, what separates the good companies from the mediocre ones is exceptional marketing that spans everything from social media ads to email newsletters.
How well a company advertises your sale will determine how successful it is, so be sure to hire a company that is known for its marketing. Ask questions like:
- How do you advertise sales?
- Do you list them on any of the major estate sale websites?
- How will you market niche items?
5. They handle item cleaning, pricing, and staging for you
One of the most painstaking parts of organizing an estate sale is preparing every single item for display. This isn’t just a matter of wiping things down and making sure everything is neat and tidy. Items should be thoroughly cleaned, priced appropriately, and then staged by room and type.
When hiring an estate sale company, be sure to ask if they sort, clean, and arrange for things to be fixed. You should also ask if they will be staging the merchandise and providing tables and display cases.
6. They offer post-sale cleaning services
Things are not over when the last customer has left. After hordes of people have swept through the property it will almost certainly need a deep clean — especially if the home is going up for sale.
Hiring an estate sale company that will take care of the post-sale clean up means you won’t have to get your hands dirty at all, so be sure to ask if they offer services to spruce the property up after the sale ends.
7. They have plans for leftover items
Despite even the best efforts, sometimes things just don’t sell. If the house needs to be completely empty or you’re on a tight schedule and don’t have time to worry about a plan B, the last thing you want is to have a pile of unsold stuff and no idea what to do with it.
Look for an estate sale company that takes care of leftover items too. Some companies, like Serendipity, have showrooms and will sell certain items on consignment if they don’t get sold at the sale. They may also offer removal services if you want to donate leftovers or throw it out.
8. They offer buy-outs when it makes sense
Buy-outs involve an estate sale company assessing the contents of a home (and sometimes the home itself!) and making a cash offer for all of it. This is by far the quickest way to clear out a home and avoid having strangers rummaging through things, but not all companies do buy-outs.
If you want to avoid opening up a home to strangers and dealing with everything else that an estate sale entails, find a company that considers buy-outs, like Serendipity.
Serendipity is Atlanta's best estate sale company
Need help organizing an estate sale in Atlanta? From the pre-sale clean up to consignment sales, Serendipity offers the full house experience, which is why it is quickly becoming one of the most trusted estate sale companies in Georgia. Get in touch with our estate sale specialists today.