Estate Sale Companies
A good estate sale company can help you or your loved one transition out of the home easily and profitably. But finding the right company can be a challenge. Unlike industries like law or real estate, the estate sale profession is essentially unregulated. That means that it’s extra important for sellers to research estate sale service providers thoroughly to find a company you can trust with your home, belongings, and peace of mind.
The first step towards finding the right estate sale company is to create a short list. Ask family, friends, neighbors, and other service providers like real estate agents and attorneys for recommendations. You can also search online to find service providers near you, then vet those results against consumer review sites and professional business appraisers like the Better Business Bureau.
When you have identified a few companies that seem promising, start shopping around. All reputable businesses should offer a free initial consultation. To begin, make sure the company is insured and bonded by requesting copies of the bond and/or insurance policy. Ask how long the company has been in business, what specialized credentials they possess, and how their sales typically perform. Get the names and contact information of previous customers, and reach out to them for references. Be detailed and diligent about rates and fees, making sure you completely understand their fee and payment structure to avoid any surprise expenses down the road.
Once you’ve chosen an estate sale company that you trust, they will put together a contract defining the terms of your sale. Review the contract closely, and ask a trusted friend or advisor such as an attorney or accountant to take a look as well. Anything that the company promised you verbally should be written down in your contract. This includes:
Which items will and will not be included in the sale
Rates and fees, and what is included with each
How prices will be set, your authority to change prices or remove items from the sale if you do not agree with a price, and any discounting practices
The right to be present at the sale or have an advocate present on your behalf
Practices for records, documentation, and receipts
Details on post-sale procedures
How and when you will receive payment, including specific dates, penalties for not meeting those deadlines, and refusal to allow the company to utilize your share of the proceeds prior to payment
Finally, check in with your gut instinct before signing a contract. The estate sale company that you choose will work closely with your home and belongings, and it’s important that it’s a good fit. Do your research, get a second opinion, and make sure that you’re completely comfortable with the company you choose.
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