HIRING AN ESTATE SALE COMPANY FOR YOUR LIQUIDATION?
We hope you find this information useful in determining which firm is best for you.
1. Does your company conduct estate sales full or part-time?
A quick search online for estate sale companies will yield hundreds of results. Approximately 80% of the companies in the Baltimore/Washington Area that advertise they are professional estate sale companies with many years of experience are actually just part-time “hobbiests” with an interest in the business. Don’t just ask how long they have been in business – ask them to show you proof they are who they say they are. A full-time estate sale firm should be able to show you a professional website with a list of past and future sales. There are very few full time companies in the area and these firms do sales at least a couple times a month. Estate Liquidator’s website shows you every sale we have conducted for the last few years, as you can see, we have experience.
2. How do we know what items sold and for how much?
Our complete transparency is what separates us from all the other companies in our area. Estate Liquidators keeps a detailed sales log at each sale for every item purchased during the weekend. Hiring a company that simply tells you the total dollar amount that was taken in during the sale without justifying how they came up with this figure is unacceptable. Often times we are asked what percent of the sale is our commission. Although this is a great question, make sure you also ask if a sales log is kept or the percent of commission you are charged really has no bearing, since you will not know what actually sold. This sales log is also a very important part of the accounting of the estate that can carry liability for our company and the estate. Many of the expensive purchases will be tax-exempt transactions by dealers or collectors with Maryland Tax Exempt IDs (both state and federal regulations must be met when it comes to tax liability for the estate and you could be liable).
3. How does an on-site estate sale differ from an online auction of the contents?
There are many companies now advertising online estate liquidations. Although this sounds quick and easy, it leaves much to be desired when trying to maximize value and completely clean out a home. Our proven method requires trucks, warehouse space, equipment, staff, that these online sellers are trying to avoid but are necessary to do a complete job in liquidating an estate. Unlike with purchasing new products online, customers prefer to touch and closely examine older, second hand items found at an estate sale. Our customers bring their jewelers loupes to the jewelry case, magnifying glass to the china cabinet, test drive vacuums and pull start lawnmowers in the garage. At our traditional estate sales, our customers incur no shipping fee, auction buyer premiums or even credit card fees. We make our events as fun as possible for the shoppers and this live, social interaction is something they can't get online. A traditional estate sale can yield more than HALF IT'S TOTAL VALUE on simple, household items that could never be sold online. Items such as furnishings, home decor, lawn/garden, kitchen, office supplies, etc, are in every home and our customers love paying us to carry these items away. Visit one of our sales and you will see folks filling boxes with spices & coffee filters from the kitchen, paper clips and staples from the office, nuts and bolts from the workshop, wrapping paper & ribbons from the holiday storage, towels & bedspreads from the linen closet - IT ALL ADDS UP! The time and set-up to conduct an on-site estate sale will yield higher total profits and leave the home much emptier than cherry picking the high end collectibles for an online sale and donating the rest.
4. How extensively does your company advertise my sale?
The old days of just an ad in the local paper and signs around the neighborhood are gone. These days, a successful advertising campaign is predominantly online (most likely just how you searched for a company to conduct your sale). Most companies will say they advertise online, but be sure to ask to just what extent they actually do. We have been liquidating estates for over 15 years and have compiled a proprietary e-mail list of buyers who absolutely love attending our sales. We also pay significant subscription fees to multiple websites that cater exclusively to local estate sale attendees, showing them many photos of the sale, descriptions, even a mobile app to find the sale. We also advertise on all local online classified sites, online newspapers, and many hobby/club/collector sites for specific items in the estate. Our Facebook page gives detailed information on each weeks sale as well as interactive videos for the shoppers. Our company website has one of the largest exposures in the area and is constantly updated to feature our upcoming events. Our professional signage the date of the event are strategically placed around the sale in high traffic locations.
5. Is your company a licensed, insured & bonded estate sale firm?
We get this question often. The state of Maryland does not require any licensing to operate a liquidation company. They do however, require ALL BUSINESS ENTITIES to have a Certificate of Incorporation and be “In Good Standing” with the state at all times. All on-site sales done in Maryland are required to collect 6% sales tax on all purchases and hang their certificate of business during the sale. Bonding indemnifies a business against their own employees. What is important is the coverage for any unexpected issues with customers. Estate Liquidators is a registered Maryland Limited Liability Corporation and carries a significant amount of Liability Insurance. We collect the required Maryland Sales Tax at all events and file all documents in a timely manner with all state and federal regulators. Any company that does not comply with these regulations is operating illegally and the estate can be exposed to liability.
6. What forms of payment will you accept during the sale?
Estate Liquidators accepts cash, debit cards, credit cards, and checks that meet our requirements. Credit & Debit Card purchases will make-up a very large part of each sales total purchases. Any company that does not take plastic will have a significant, negative impact on the sales total.
7. What happens to any unsold items at the conclusion of the sale?
There will be always be leftovers at the conclusion of the sale. Estate Liquidators will remove any of the items and clean the residence to "Broom Clean" at no extra cost in some cases. Other situations may require an additional trash removal fee which will be determined at the initial consultation or after the sale is over depending on the estate.
8. Can the family members of the estate be present during the sale?
Estate Liquidators understands it is human nature for family members to have emotional attachments to items in the estate and want to give suggestions on how we should conduct the sale. Often times, they even would like to be present during the set-up and sale of the liquidation. In order for us to do a professional job and maximize profits for the sale, we require our clients to fully entrust our background, knowledge, and experience and let us handle everything from start to finish. We ask the house be vacant of all occupants at least two weeks before the sale dates and that we have a key for access anytime. We request this advance time since we are going to completely convert your home meant to be lived in, into a retail shop. In fact, the two photos at the top of this web page are a great example of how a living room and dining room are converted into a safe, well displayed, selling situation. We will first rearrange furnishings for optimum check-out display areas, remove all items from all furniture, cupboards, drawers, and cabinets ect for proper staging and appraising - we even tape off all bathrooms as well as other restricted areas of the home and yard. At this time, we will bring in many of our display tables and showcases and begin the pricing - it is quite a process but all extremely vital for the success of your sale. Merchandising and crowd control are the keys to any good liquidation - we need to get as many shoppers in and out as quick as possible to insure we best empty as much of the home possible in just one weekend (it really is an art form). As you can imagine, for owners to be still on the property with all this going on is virtually impossible. This does not mean we do not always have an open communication line for any questions or concerns you may have at any time during the process – it is your estate until it is sold – you are the boss. We can assure you, for every concern you have, we are thinking about ten times as many issues regarding the procedures necessary to make your sale a success. Call, e-mail, or text us anytime – once we are under contract, we are thinking of nothing but how we can better take all the burden off of you!
Call Today For A Free Consultation 410-336-0277
Our 2000 sq. ft. warehouse has everything needed for even the largest estates. 250+ banquet tables, 100+ showcases, mobile credit card terminals, advertising signs & banners, event tents, clothes racks, even floor coverings. Our 30' travel trailer is ready to set your sale up today! Call 7 days a week. 410-336-0277