Consider this: about 10,000 Americans turn 65 each year, 2.4 million will pass away, 876,000 couples will divorce and another 800,000 others will file for bankruptcy. The estate liquidation service industry was built on these hardships. They are known in the industry as the four “D’s”: downsizing, death, divorce and debt.
Many people often choose an estate liquidation service — whether they are struggling to fit recently inherited antiques into a tiny apartment, liquidating assets as part of a divorce settlement or simply moving across country for a new job. And since the average American home spans some 2,500 square feet, emptying one out isn’t easily accomplished alone.
Enter the estate liquidation service business. There are roughly 14,000 estate liquidators in the country and because the liquidation service industry is not regulated, most liquidators have no formal training. Anyone can set up shop as an estate seller. How do you protect yourself and ensure that you get an optimal return on your estate sale? Because the team at VNTG Home believes that retail isn’t just about sales…it’s about relationships and we specialize in estate liquidation and home transition services, we want you to be armed with critical information to help you pick the right partner when considering an estate liquidation service partner.
- Set realistic expectations! Most people don’t have enough valuable stuff for a full-on estate sale. Many reputable estate liquidators won’t consider you for an estate sale unless you have more than $20,000 in merchandise. Sometimes the best option for sellers is to consign or donate their unwanted valuables.
- Do a Google search on the name of the liquidator you’re considering hiring. Can’t find them online? This is a red flag. A smart business knows that their site is critical to the health of their business. It’s not to say that smaller operations cannot prosper via word of mouth advertising but a website should be the primary place where you can spend time learning, about who they are, what their process looks like and how profit is made for both the buyer and liquidator.
- Ask for references. Its status quo when you apply for a job that you supply references. Why shouldn’t you expect the same when hiring a professional who is going to come into your home and manage the sale of your household items? Ask for references along with telephone and email addresses. If they hesitate to give you a list, run. If they hand you a list, call or email everyone on it. Ask the reference about their entire experience. Where their expectations met? Did they encounter any surprises? Did the liquidator give estimation for the value of items for tax purposes? Where there any fees that showed up which they did not expect? Were they satisfied with their financial outcome? Did the estate liquidator go above and beyond in any way to assist them? You want to hire someone who you can trust, especially if this is a difficult time. And while estate liquidators are not therapists, they should show empathy and kindness. Ask references about the emotional support they received. Were the estate liquidation teams empathetic? Did they take the time to understand the family dynamics? By giving clients a chance to talk through these important topics, the estate liquidator will be able to recommend the best plan of action based on the items sold and the individuals involved.
- Attend estate sales run by any potential hires before committing. Go see your possible partners in action. Attend their sales. If they have a retail space, check it out. Don’t wait for them to invite you. Take the initiative and see for yourself how they operate, how they treat people, how they price items. Ask estate sale attendees if the sale meets or exceeds their expectations based on their estate sale experiences. It might feel like you are spying on your possible estate liquidation partner, but a good business partners is a transparent business partner who has nothing to hide.
And while we have you here, we invite you to check out VNTG Home transition services. Our estate liquidation service approach is different. A single call to VNTG Home puts you in touch with one of our home transition experts. No more run around, calling multiple services and feeling stressed. The team works with you to create a custom plan that fits your unique needs and budget. It’s this special combination of experts who understand what you are going through and mix of home transition service options that helps you achieve the best emotional and economic outcome possible.
We work hard to offer competitive and affordable home transition services. Our asset trade program even allows you to trade furnishings to reduce the out-of-pocket costs of moving and home liquidation.
And because we believe in experiences, not just transactions, the team at VNTG Home wants your experience with us to be personal, easy, positive and memorable. Let us help reduce the stress that comes with estate liquidations and home transitions.