You never realize how much emotional weight possessions can have until you have to take care of the belongings of a loved one. Whether they have passed away or downsized into a nursing home or assisted living facility, it can be difficult to handle all of their things.
Not only might you have an attachment to certain things, there is probably a lot of stuff to go through. The LA Times found that on average, each person has at least 300,000 separate items in their house at any time. It might be even more if you have a family member who likes to collect trinkets are saved everything they ever got. An estate sales professional can be a big help in sorting through all of your loved one’s things and figuring out what’s trash and what’s treasure.
A good estate sale professional is highly trained to be able to seek out the valuable things you may own and can help you price them to sell at the highest price. There is a process to an estate sale and Steward Estate Sales points out the different steps over on their site.
Generally, things will start with a walk through and appraisal. It’s important that you remove all items you want to keep or don’t want to be sold before this step. Most estate professionals are certified appraisers so they will be able to price your items to sell. It’s also helpful if they have been in the area for a long time because they will know the market of shoppers as well.
Once they have priced everything, they will clean and arrange all the items to be sold. Often they will stage the house to look appealing to shoppers and make sure they properly advertise the sale.
On the day of the sale, you don’t have to be at the house but you can if that is what you want. Estate sale staff will handle everything from transactions, questions, security, and any auction items that are going to be bid on. They will also make sure that everything is cleaned up once the sale is over and if there are any leftover items they can make recommendations on what to do whether it’s donating the leftovers to a local charity, selling them online, or giving them to a consignment shop.
Finally, they will total up all the sales and let the executor of the will, as well as you, know the final cost. Once they deduct their fees and commission, they will send you a check for the rest usually within a few days of the end of the sale.
The number of items and how you want to sell them are going to affect the total cost. If you have a lot of items to sell or the house is overly packed and messy it is going to cost a lot more. Generally, professionals will charge a flat fee for pricing and walk-throughs but some do these for free or charge by the hour. After that, they will also take a percentage of the total sales, usually around 35%, but it is up to you and them to arrange their total commission before the sale.
You can start by talking with your loved one’s attorney because they will probably have a few recommendations but you can also ask friends or neighbors who have gone through this process. The Better Business Bureau of Fresno lists companies in the area along with reviews but be careful to only consider reviews from people who have used the company's services not just shopped one of their sales. You will also want to make sure you choose a company that is part of the American or International Society of Appraisers and agree to fees, commission, and any other details before signing a contract.
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