At EstateMAX we look beyond the “What’s it Take” to “Who We Are in the Matter” when we handle our client’s personal property.  Turning goods into liquid assets takes skills and persistence and delivering it to the client as promised takes integrity!

The estate sale business is becoming a playground for the inexperienced. As the market “graying of America” proliferates-more people downsize or pass away leaving “stuff” behind that they don’t want or ( no longer have any use for.)  This “stuff” translates into monetary assets, if managed correctly.  A novice can hold an indoor yard sale and call it an “Estate Sale”.  That takes no skill past 1st grade basic number writing and spacial organization.

After all the “junk” business is the second oldest “profession” in history…

The “Used Stuff Industry” has become a buyer’s market. Too much stuff, too many boomers downsizing, lots of estates full of vintage and antiques for sale. So, consider the professional reputation your estate seller hold when hiring.

For instance, an item that currently has a $100 retail in a retail store or antiques mall can sell for $1, if the client ignores how their property is being represented to the public, how it’s being sold, who and how it is selling it. If the client is aware, they will hire a company who will care about the result of their project.

In the State of Maryland there are no licensing requirements for auctioneers or estate sale companies. Unfortunately, seniors are an easy mark because of age, infirmity, urgency to sell a home that overwhelm.  Those who can’t ( because of age related disease, infirmity, or plain ignorance) check out the reputation and legal credentials of a company they are hiring are at greater risk of losing significant assets- if hiring an inexperienced or crooked estate sale or auction company.

And, with no certification requirements mandated, too many inexperienced virgin estate sale “companies” are signing up to estate sales sites daily, encouraged by the platforms selling the advertising service, regardless of their credentials, or lack of. It’s an easy “set up” for those with no experience selling personal property, or anything for that matter, to get in the game.  At the end of the estate sale, the company has the clients money and either will or won’t stand accountable for sales, turning over receipts,( if they were recorded,  a sales statement and the cash, then having the property cleaned out to meet settlement or other deadline.

If you’re reading this and considering your options, ask yourself  if you need a whole-house sale, and after the sale, a clean out service of what’s left- leaving it ready for settlement or for renovation?  Or do you just have a few used furniture pieces for sale? If you are the latter a company that does online sales only, is for you (and can not be considered a full service “estate sale” company.)

Full service is just that it includes sale of contents of whole households, Ask that question based on your needs.

After our combined 35 years of retail management, interior design, project management,  ( the last 18  for me) conducting estate sales, handling property downsizing and clean outs, Steve Berryman and I have learned a lot about how and how not to do our job. Read link link for Bios.

Our experience in years brings to the game:

  • Understanding of the local market-Research, research, research-
  • Knowledge of goods -and appropriate pricing based on condition, the local market, competitive events, volume of merchandise, more-
  • Real negotiating skills-
  • Real Marketing knowledge and ability
  • Knowledge and understanding of buyer’s behavior and appropriate response
  • Handling a sales floor, minimizing risk of theft, damage, etc.

Always ask for this key information and ask the appropriate questions when interviewing a sales agent:

  • State business license, form of business ( LLC,  etc.) FBI fingerprint check, and full legal background check is crucial when hiring-
  • Liability Insurance-
  • What form of payment does the company accept during the sale and where will your money be held until paid, and when do they pay you?-
  • A black and white contract-
  • Client reviews on a public forum like Angie’s List, Google, etc.

Consider when interviewing the estate sale agent-Does this person/company have

  • The ability to run a small business, managing and handling many different duties-
  • The ability to work in layers, breaking down a big problem into baby steps, and re-construct it into a working system.
  • A predisposition for organization and experiential skills
  • Fast moving, decisive personality and a back up staff to perform the work
  • Attention to detail- setting up a sale site, assuring no harm comes to the property, to buyers-and to you, the client
  • The ability to work with the public-professional salesmanship
  • An understanding of deadlines- can they perform under pressure and do they have an “exit strategy”. Getting the property cleaned up by the scheduled date, paying you, the client, on time.
  • Can they demonstrate prior success?

Is this “company”  someone who does what they say they will do, sticking to the contract, paying on time, and going above and beyond when needed to make sure the client is satisfied.

If these questions can be answered to your satisfaction and backed up in black and white, you are talking to a professional estate sale agent.

If not-call EstateMAX. We assure professionalism.Or call us first and avoid problems!







About the Author EstateMax

Unique, Personalized Solutions for Estate Downsizing, Estate Sales and Transitions Services. Serving Seniors, Boomers and Estates in the Washington DC Metro area. The Other People's Stuff Estates Liquidation Warehouse and Showroom in Frederick MD, handles sales of the balance of our estate sales.

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