Why should I have a professionally conducted estate sale rather than a garage sale or family-run sale?
First, it’s an incredibly difficult task for non-professionals to get things together, let alone run a sale as it should be run. Not only is the work itself grueling, but you also have to factor in sentimentality, time, difficult family dynamics etc. As one would expect, most laymen (and this includes attorneys, CPA’s, trustees, etc.) have absolutely no idea what items are worth in the secondary market. Laymen attempting to conduct their own sales, we have found, either vastly over-price or ridiculously under-price a majority of their household possessions. We, on the other hand, come into your home or place of business and price merchandise for sale at a fair market value. We market the items via national estate sale websites, Facebook, word of mouth and online ads, and we display everything in a way that will net you the most money possible. Remember, too, that there’s greater perceived value when a professional estate firm conducts an estate sale. Customers who come through a sale conducted by Jennerbug Finds see carefully considered staging with traffic patterns in mind, tables filled with high end merchandise, professional signage and price tags alike & helpful staff members.
How does and onsite estate sale differ from an online auction?
Estate sales (also known as “tag sales”) are orderly liquidations run much as a retail shop would be run. The liquidator prices each item in the estate at fair market value. Over the course of a sale, items not purchased may be discounted or bundled together in an effort to liquidate as much as possible. In an online auction, the bidding starts low and go up with buyers setting the final price. Both our onsite sales and online auctions are beautifully staged, professionally organized, and extensively advertised. During the onsite sale, the public is invited into the home and allowed to shop at leisure. Clerks are available to write customers’ tickets and answer their questions. Cashiers are stationed (usually near the entrance/exit) to “cash out” customers. During an online auction, buyers are able to browse the items and photos at their leisure and place bids while the auction is live. Pickup is typically handled over one or two days.
Do I even have enough for you to conduct an estate sale? I don’t really have fine art, great antiques or lots of expensive things.
You’d be amazed at just how well even an average estate can and does sell when offered to the public in one of our orderly liquidation sales. We liquidate entire estates that aren’t filled to overflowing with 18th century furniture, period silver, rare automobiles, fine jewelry and the like. We sell furniture of all types, clothing, general residential contents, portable buildings, cars, stereo equipment, tools, motorcycles, farm equipment, musical instruments . . . well, actually, a little bit of everything! Call or e-mail us to schedule a complimentary consultation in which we can advise you how to best liquidate your estate.
What should I do to get ready for a sale?
- Get all your legal “ducks in a row.” If there has been a death in the family, make sure that you have legal title and full authority to sell. Make certain, too, that all disbursements have been made to any and all heirs before you call us for a consultation. If there’s a divorce or bankruptcy liquidation afoot, make sure that you talk to legal counsel before calling us. (Remember that any liens or other encumbrances are solely your responsibility.)
- Please step away from the dumpster and the thrift shop box — PLEASE. You’d be horrified to learn what some former clients have, in their zeal, thrown or given away before speaking to us!
- Show us any and all items you do not want us to sell before we sign a contract, as we base our commissions upon what we estimate the gross sales to be and items taken after the signing of the contract are subject to full commission.
- Please remember that professional estate liquidators generally won’t work with clients who are still living in the home. It’s simply too taxing for both parties, and requires us to be in your living space while you’re in our working space. If you still reside in the sale venue itself, you’ll need to remove all of your personal items to storage and then vacate the premises during work hours.
How much do you charge to look at an estate?
Our initial consultations are always free of charge. Should we determine that an estate sale is not your best option, we’ll be glad to provide you with a set of alternatives during this complimentary consultation.
How is your company paid for its services?
We operate on a flat, all inclusive commission that’s based upon the total gross sales. Sometimes, the estate may want additional advertisements or security above and beyond what we deem necessary, but this, again, is rare. Remember that because we operate on a percentage-based commission, we are doubly motivated to get you the most money possible for your household possessions. Commission can range from 25% to 50% of the gross sales depending upon the estimated final gross of the sale and the amount of labor to be expended. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, and farm implements usually run 10%, but we may occasionally pare that commission down to 5% if the vehicle is a late model with very low mileage
Do you have any special requirements of the estate itself before taking a sale?
Actually, yes, but only a few. If you are the representative of an estate, we will need to have a photocopy of the necessary legal documents which authorize you to dispose of the contents. We also require that the homeowner’s insurance on the home itself be current and in place throughout the sale process. The estate itself is responsible for disconnecting from gas or water any appliances which are to be sold. The furnace and air conditioner must be in working order before we begin work, and the water, gas and electricity must be turned on and kept on throughout the sale process. (No need for a phone line, though, as we run credit card sales through a cellular phone app.)
Shouldn’t I wait until my home has sold before I have you conduct my sale?
Some real estate agents may disagree with us on this issue, but we answer this question with a resounding “No!” You see, selling a home and then contracting with an estate liquidator can — and most often does — paint the liquidator into a corner, so to speak. We want to do your sale justice, and we need adequate time in which to do this. Please try to coordinate the sale of your real estate with the sale of your household possessions, as (again) an estate sale can bring potential buyers into your home. (By the way, we gladly work with realtors to co-market the properties themselves.)
The executor/executrix lives out of state. Can we still proceed with a liquidation?
Absolutely. We often work for out of state heirs, executors/executrix’s, trustees etc. All necessary arrangements can, if necessary, be handled via telephone calls, texts, and e-mails.
How long will it take you to coordinate my sale?
We usually book our sales anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months in advance. Remember: we only have about forty-eight “working” weekends out of fifty-two or so in any given calendar year, and so must schedule our sales with that in mind. Once we begin the work itself, the average estate requires two to three weeks’ worth of prep time. Occasionally, we may coordinate a sale in less time.
How long should I expect my sale to run?
Each sale is unique, however we have found a two-day sale to be the most efficient. Sometimes, depending on the quantity of items, we may schedule a sale for only one day, or for 3-4 days. That being said, most sales are two days-Friday & Saturday.
What do you do with items that don’t sell?
Naturally, there are always some things left over in each estate. We offer cleanout and buyout services that we can discuss with the client after the sale is complete. We can assist in packing up what’s left for donation or to bring to an auction house. On the off chance that items of appreciable value are left unsold, we can and will gladly broker some of your items for you. The bottom line is that it’s still the clients property to do with as they wish.
What do you do to deter theft during the sale?
A: We limit access to one entrance/exit. If there’s an attached garage or breezeway, it’s kept separate from the main house itself and manned by one or two employees. Our staff is well trained in watching for “sticky fingers” or “tag switching.” We don’t allow drink cups, oversized handbags, or strollers in our sale venues. These are often used as ploys by professional shoplifters. Should someone buy handbags or luggage, we’re careful to check each piece before it leaves the home. High valued items are kept near the cash register. Fine jewelry is kept under glass. We only allow one piece to be shown at any given time, and nothing leaves our showcase(s) until paid for.
Do you sell automobiles and motorcycles?
Absolutely! We find that cars, trucks, vans and motorcycles all draw large numbers of new and different customers. (By the way, as a general rule, we charge a considerably reduced commission on most automobiles and motorcycles.) We also sell farm implements of all kinds, including tractors and tractor attachments, as well as combines, working chutes, feeders, and other large farm items.
May I be present for the sale itself?
We find that many clients may get emotional when they’re on site during their own estate sales. It’s hard to see things leave your home, we understand that. We have also found that when a client is onsite during the sale, customers are uncertain with whom to negotiate, they may get conflicting prices, and staff may feel uncomfortable negotiating with the customers in front of the client. Just remember that we’re here to make you the most money possible, and that your estate sale won’t be a social club, nor will it be a coffee klatch around your kitchen table. (It’ll be a place of business. Don’t forget that.)
Do you clean the home after a sale?
We strive to pick up large debris and leave the home “broom clean.” Bear in mind that ours is a professional estate sale company, though, not a housekeeping service. If you’d like the home to be immaculate and ready to put on the market, we’ll be happy to discuss that service with you.