Perhaps the biggest responsibility, and challenge, facing the estate liquidator today is helping clients understand what is considered “reasonable” in the world of personal property sales.  But….there’s also responsibility on the clients’ part, so if you’re considering contracting an estate liquidator take a little time to understand your goals, the estate sales market and the liquidators you’re considering before jumping in with both feet!

First, it’s important to understand your primary and secondary goals, and to gain some insight into the return you can expect.   Define your goals first for yourself, then for your liquidator.  Is your primary focus on maximizing the sales dollar for each piece of personal property, or on getting a healthy overall return so you can focus on the real estate transaction you’re moving toward?  Are you focused on a tight timeline?  Have a closing scheduled and concerned about protecting your home during the sale?  Need someone to manage through final disposal of items that may be left?  Identify your goals and concerns, write them down, and discuss them before signing a contract.

As a prospective client considering an estate sale, it’s also important to have some understanding of the resale marketplace.  What should you expect for a return on the stepback cupboard you inherited from your great grandmother?  What about that milkglass compote? How have you arrived at that dollar value, and does your liquidator, based on their experience, agree?

Next, understand who you’re hiring.  Instead of simply calling around asking, “what is your commission rate”, do some research.  Does the liquidator you’re considering have expertise in marketing and selling items similar to yours?  Before selecting your estate sales professional, visit one of their sales. Is it professionally managed and adequately staffed?  How are sales recorded?  Is the client’s personal property and home protected?  Is the sales atmosphere fun and friendly?   If you feel good after visiting a sale, you’ll feel much more confident with your selection.  Remember, you’re contracting someone to touch things that in some way touched your life, or the lives of someone you loved.

To ensure success, it’s equally important for the liquidator to understand your goals, motivation and expectations before they agree to host your sale.  Your liquidator’s goal should always be client satisfaction through realized expectations.  It’s important for them to understand your goals, motivation and expectations before they agree to host your sale.  Having straightforward conversations before making your selection will help ensure you feel good about your expectations, your contract and the personal property sales professional you hire!