Choosing the right estate sale or auction company can be a stressful, daunting experience. Your life, or the life of someone that you love, is about to change drastically. In addition to your already overwhelming task, you need to make an informed decision on which estate sale company to choose to handle the liquidation of your personal estate. Here I’ve put together an estate sale hiring guide to help ensure you the pick the right estate sale professional for you.

1. Make a checklist.

When choosing an estate sale or auction company there are several concerns that you should address. You should talk to several companies, and when you talk or meet with them, have a list of questions and concerns prepared ahead of time. It will be easier if you do not have to come up with questions on the spur of the moment. Also, make sure that you make clear any expectations that you have concerning how the sale should be conducted

2. Do your research.

Find out how much experience the estate sale company has, and what type of sales they have handled before.

3. Get references.

You should ask for references. This provides you other perspectives on this company’s general performance.

4. Get everything in writing.

Ask whether the company provides a contract, and keeps written receipts for all sales. Some companies do this automatically, while others do so only on request. In order to keep everything on a professional level, I think it is best to do both, provide a clearly written, easy to understand contract, and provide receipts for all sales. This just keeps everyone honest.

5. Understand the costs.

Next is understanding the costs involved in holding an estate sale, and what portion of those costs will be deducted from your portion of the sales. It is a good idea to have all the costs detailed in the estate sale contract. This prevents unexpected charges from popping up.

6. Ask about appraisals.

Ask how they determine prices. Obviously experience and the type of sales they have held is going to affect how capably they are going to be able to provide an accurate, fair price for your possessions.

7. Discuss reserve prices.

If there are items that you require a reserve price on, then you need to make sure that you make this clear to the estate sale company. Their objective is to sell as many of your items as possible, and because of this they generally offer lower prices after the first day of the sale. When discussing pricing with my customers I make sure that this is very clear. It can cause a lot of hard feelings, if not handled correctly.

8. Ask about security.

It is the responsibility of the estate sale company to provide adequate personnel to provide security for the sale. In a perfect world you should not have to worry about theft, however, the sad truth is that some people steal. Usually someone walking around the premises is enough to deter most people. However, you need to be aware that, especially with small items, if someone wants something badly enough, there is not a lot that the estate sale personnel can do to stop them. So, in short, expect some minor property loss.

9. Plan for clean up and disposal.

Another important aspect of this process is the disposal of unsold items at the end of the sale. The estate sale company should provide the homeowner with options, and then abide by the homeowner’s wishes. Also, some estate sale companies provide clean up and disposal services at the conclusion of the sale. Once an agreement is made, this should also be written into the contract.

10. Remember, you are in control.

Something very simple that is often overlooked is to make sure that you take the time to read the contract carefully before signing. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. If there are aspects of the contract that you do not understand, make sure to ask for clarification. Also, if there is something that you do not agree with, discuss it with the estate sale company. They should work with you to come to a mutual consensus on how to make you feel comfortable enough to continue the process.

Go with someone trusted.

So, after you have talked to several companies, if you decide to choose our company, River Country Antiques, to handle your sale, I want you to know that my family and I will provide you with honest, knowledgeable, and competent service. We do that by making sure that all the criteria above are explained, discussed, and agreed upon with our clients. Also, If there are any aspects of our performance that you have questions about, do not hesitate to ask questions. We are working for you and your family. 


& Mike Carter and Miranda Silva

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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