Sorting through the possessions of a loved one after their passing away or moving into a residential care home is difficult and demanding. You and other family members may not agree about what items to split. You may not have the time, energy, or space to add more items into your home. An estate sales professional can take charge of sorting and cleaning items that are to be sold as well as arranging a sale or auction for the estate’s benefit and your peace of mind.
The estate sales company will document, photograph, and research each item before the event to ensure the estate will receive the highest possible return. You do not need to be present or worry about advertising as the company will take care of the marketing and keep you updated throughout the sales process.
The estate sales crew may begin a week before the scheduled event with the sale lasting one to three days. Larger estates may require a longer time period to prepare and hold the sale or auction.
Once the sale has concluded, the company will clean up and finalize the transactions. You should receive transaction receipts and accounting spreadsheets with itemized reports. The estate will receive a check minus commissions and fees.
The commission fees vary between companies, although the average commission fee for estate liquidators is 10 to 25 percent of the net proceeds of the sale. It is not uncommon to see commission fees of 30 to 35 percent. The higher percentage may be due to using certified appraisers at all sales or providing more services, like security. There are no upfront costs typically for estate sales as the company makes its profit from the sale. You may see the company, like Organizing Life Services Estate Sales Professionals, advertise as no money out of pocket.
Look for reputable companies with certified appraisers either on staff or at the company’s disposal. You can locate appraisers certified by the American Society of Appraisers or the International Society of Appraisers by checking out each organization’s website. Each one hosts a database you can use to search for professionals in the U.S. and Canada as well as other countries.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of West Florida lists ratings and reviews for estate sales companies in and around the Tampa area. The site currently lists 33 organizations within 100 miles of the city with four of those companies holding a BBB accreditation. Other online directories that feature senior care companies may list estate sales businesses.
Your family attorney or the executioner of the will may have referrals they can give you for companies they have dealt with in the past as well as your friends and family. One of the best ways to get a feel for a particular company is to attend one of their estate sales and observe the displays and the staff’s interaction with buyers.
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