Q: Why should I have a professionally conducted estate sale rather than a garage sale or family-run sale?
A: 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.
Q: But I don’t live in Colorado. Can you help me?
A: At this time, we do not manage estate sales outside of Colorado.
Q: How exactly does an estate sale work? How does it differ from an auction?
A: Estate sales are orderly liquidations run much as a retail shop would be. That is to say, every item has a price tag. Estate sales are different from auctions in that customers need not wait hours for one item or another to “come up on the block.” Also, with an estate sale, the estate itself is not at the mercy of an often uncomfortable customer base that dwindles down as the day goes by.
Q: 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.
A: 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 of all kinds, not just those that are filled to overflowing with 18th century furniture, period silver, vintage clothing, rare automobiles, fine jewelry and the like.
Q: What should I do to get ready for a sale?
A: 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.
Second, 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!)
Third, show us any and all items you do not want us to sell before we sign a contract, as a) we base our commissions upon what we estimate the gross sales to be and b) items taken after the signing of the contract are subject to full commission.
Fourth, please remember that professional estate liquidators don’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 for a minimum of two weeks. (Talk to us about the specific amount of time needed to prep your sale.)
Q: How much do you charge to look at an estate?
A: 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. Please remember, though, that we usually book our sales anywhere from two to six months in advance.
Q: How is your company paid for its services?
A: We operate on a flat, all inclusive commission that’s based upon what we initially estimate the gross sales will be — there are no out-of-pocket expenses to you. (There may, on rare occasion, be an exception to this rule should a commercial dumpster of any kind is required, or the moving of large furniture from an off-site location to the sale venue. Sometimes, too, 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. We are a company with integrity and never have “up front” fees, nor any hidden costs.
Q: Do you have any special requirements of the estate itself before taking a sale?
A: 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 phone app.)
Q: Shouldn’t I wait until my home has sold before I have you conduct my sale?
A: 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 thousands of potential buyers into your home. (By the way, we gladly work with realtors to co-market the properties themselves.)
Q: The executor/executrix lives out of state. Can we still proceed with a liquidation?
A: Absolutely. We often work for out of state heirs, executors/executrixes, trustees etc. All necessary arrangements can, if necessary, be handled via telephone calls, faxes and e-mails.
Q: How long will it take you to coordinate my sale?
A: We usually book our sales two to six months in advance. (Remember: we only have about forty-eight weekends 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. Rarely, a sale may require more time.
Q: How long should I expect my sale to run?
A: Each sale is unique; however, suffice it to say that approximately 95% of our sales are two-day sales. From time to time (perhaps once a year), we may encounter a small sale that only merits one long day, or (even more rarely) an extremely full sale that merits three days. For all intents and purposes, though, you can probably count on a two-day sale.
We do not like to conduct sales on Fridays, as we believe that Friday sales simply don’t do our clients justice. We only conduct sales on Fridays when a) specifically requested by a client or b) the municipality in which we’re working doesn’t allow Sunday sales. (This is the case, for example, in Nichols Hills.)
Q: What do you do in case of inclement weather?
A: It’s a given that weather in the South Central States can (and often does) turn on a dime. Should there be very severe weather on sale day, we would re-schedule your sale accordingly. Most municipalities have fairly generous policies concerning permit furtherances.
Q: What do you do with items that don’t sell?
A: Naturally, we strive to sell the contents of an estate “wall to wall”, but there are always some things left over in each estate.
On the off chance that items of appreciable value are left unsold, we can and will gladly broker your items for you.
For all intents and purposes, in any case, it’s little more than common and miscellaneous household “stuff” and perhaps a few small pieces of furniture that one finds unsold at the end of an average sale.
Q: 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. Furthermore, our staff is well trained in watching for “sticky fingers”, and our police officer scrupulously checks receipts at the door. We don’t allow drink cups in our sale venues, and we strongly discourage baby strollers in the same. (These are often used as ploys by professional shoplifters, believe it or not.) Should someone buy handbags or luggage, we’re careful to check each piece before it leaves the door.
Handguns, some knives, gold, platinum, palladium, some sterling, better ivories, valuable objets d’art, gemstones etc. are kept in locked, lighted showcases. We only allow one piece to be shown at any given time, and nothing leaves the showcase(s) until paid for.
Q: Do you sell automobiles and motorcycles?
A: 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.
Q: May I be present for the sale itself?
A: Sorry, but the answer is an unequivocal “no.” We will be glad to arrange for a “family only” preview upon request, though.
We don’t allow the family on site during public sale hours as it has long been our experience that family members inadvertently get underfoot, or become emotional, or get distracted by the public’s sometimes bad behavior in the family home. We suggest that you take a nice spa day for yourself on the public sale days, or perhaps treat yourself to a day at the lake.
Q: What about sales taxes?
A: With the exception of immediate family members conducting sale(s) within six months of an immediate family member’s demise, the charging of state sales sax IS required on all purchases at both estate and garage sales in Colorado — don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And yes, we comply with Colorado state law in the collection and remission of all sales taxes. We’re responsible for the collecting and remission of all applicable sales taxes.
All sales taxes collected are remitted under our tax/site number to the Colorado Tax Commission in a prompt and orderly fashion once a month.
All sales tax exemption permits are collected at the cash register, stapled to their respective tickets, and kept in perpetuity.
Q: Do you clean the home after a sale?
A: We strive to pick up large debris and leave the home “broom clean.” Bear in mind that ours is a professional estate liquidation firm, 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 refer you to a professional housekeeper whom we recommend highly.