Good question! There are many different steps that go into a well thought out and successful estate sale, certainly much more than just pricing. Here we have an outline of how it typically works. If you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the comment section below.
The Initial Consultation
This is the first contact you will have with one of our representatives, but its also your opportunity to discuss your individual needs and goals. Its completely free and there are no obligations. We will establish who you are, whether you are the home owner, an executor of the estate, or a mediator and we'll talk to you more about who we are. We will also talk about what items are to be sold, how we're going to sell them, and all costs and commissions involved. There won't be any pressure or surprises here.
If you choose to hire us at this point, we will provide you with a copy of our Estate Sale Contract (more on this to come), which identifies your rights and our services, etc. It may sound a little scary, but it's necessary for us, the Estate Sales company, and you, the Client, to establish this agreement first thing so that we both know what to expect of one another. Any upfront fees (such as cleaning, or deposits) will be resolved at this point but remember, our commission doesn't come until the end of the sale. We don't make any money until you make money.
Cleaning and Prepping
This is the point where we have the home cleaned, inventory all of the items, price them and go into more detail about what you want. The time that is required for this stage can vary, but we typically allow three weeks so that we can be completely thorough. This is the time in which you, the client, specify what items you what to keep, sentimental items, and you can set minimum prices on certain items. That's right, you read it correctly. You can set a minimum price that you're willing to accept for items. Also at this stage, if we've agreed to sell items through other avenues such as online, or via consignment, this is the time we will begin listing and selling these. If there are any other expenses required at this stage, we will discuss them with you before we arrive at any decision. These expenses could include hiring a moving company that we didn't foresee needing. We try our absolute best to avoid it, but sometimes they are necessary. If this happens, it will be deducted from the gross receipts at the end of the sale, not from your pocket.
The Final Pricing Period
This is one full day, twenty four hours, before the doors are opened for the sale. All of the items you've specified that you don't want sold have been removed from the home or marked sold. We've listed and/or already sold all of the items that we're selling through other avenues. This is the day that time stands still at the estate, the time in which no other items may be removed from the home by anyone except the buyer. This is vitally important because of inventory.
Everything is priced, displayed and the home is staged beautifully, ready for potential buyers. We've already established the duration of the sale, we've advertised, set out signs, and done all of the prep work. Whether it lasts one weekend or three weekends, this is the culmination of all of our joint efforts. Our representatives will work the sale, the payment area, and all of the areas in-between.
Once the sale is over, the real work begins. This is the time where we gather all of the items that have not sold. Hopefully there aren't many, but realistically there will always be some. At this point, we will decide together whether to donate the items, or try to sell them through our other avenues. All of our equipment, displays, etc will be cleared out of the home. Within ten days after the closing, we will provide you with a statement showing all gross payments, itemized expenses, our 30% commission and your net receipts. Within thirty days we will provide you with a check, made payable to you, the Client.
What happens if during the sale you find sentimental items or things we haven't discussed?
We will automatically set these items to the side to be returned to you at the end, or in the case of items we have not discussed, we will consult with you before any sale is made on them.
What happens if I change my mind or something happens and I have to terminate the contract?
Unfortunately, at that point we would have to bill you for any expenses that had already been incurred, but other than that, we would forfeit the contract, and forego our commission.
How do you price the items?
We use "fair market value" and liquidation prices. We use our experience to determine the value of items and antiques and try to get as much for them as we can. We do negotiate with buyers at our discretion however, but you are welcome to set minimum prices that you will accept for certain items.
It may seem pretty simple now that we have outlined the steps involved, but remember, no two estate sales are the same. This is a loose outline for how things should go, but there can, and almost always will be situations that arise out of seemingly nowhere. Don't worry, we at Wiley Estate Sales and Antiques are equipped to handle anything.
If you have questions, or would like to schedule a consultation call 423-268-7195.