This is part two of a multi-part series of questions you should ask before hiring an estate sale company. Go here for part 1.
When the time comes for you to liquidate an estate, whether because of downsizing, divorce, or a death in the family, holding an estate sale is usually the easiest and most expedient option.
Hiring an estate sale company (sometimes called an estate liquidator) may be your best option if you want to save time and earn more money. Estate sale companies will do all of the hard work for you; and, because they know the local market, will price your items in a way to get them sold. A correctly priced, sold item puts more cash in your pocket than a premium priced, unsold item.
But, just like any other professional, you’ll want to talk with them (in person tends to work best) and ask several questions before deciding which company to hire. Here’s another question you will definitely want an answer for.
How Much Will an Estate Sale Cost Me?
Most estate sale companies are paid out of the proceeds from the sale, so it’s not like it is money coming out of your pocket. However, it is critical to understand what you will be charged because this is money that won’t be going INTO your pocket.
And notice what I said… MOST companies… There are some companies that will charge you an up front fee or deposit, and that DOES come out of your pocket.
The most common way that estate sale companies are paid is to charge a percentage of the gross sales. Other methods include charging a flat rate, a flat fee plus a percentage, or the greater of a minimum or a percentage.
These are all legitimate ways for an estate sale company to be paid. You will need to compare them and determine which will work best for you. But whichever method the company uses, you will also need to find out what that method includes for the price. Does it cover set up, security. labor, permits, advertising costs, taxes, credit card processing fees, and other required costs that go into a successful sale? Or do they charge extra for these services?
In addition, you will want to find out if they provide any optional services (and how much they charge for them) that you may need such as professional cleaning of the house, clearing out unsold goods after the sale, providing you with donation receipts for tax write offs, selling the house, etc.?
And finally, ask if you're required to pay a deposit. This is where that “out of pocket” expense I mentioned earlier can come back to bite you.
At A2Z Estate Solutions, for a basic estate sale, we follow the flat fee (we call it a set up fee) plus a percentage model. The percentage we charge is on a sliding scale, meaning the more we sell, the smaller the percentage we charge. We also offer several extras such as the cleaning, clear out, and home sale for reasonable fees as well. And we never charge you anything “out of pocket.” We don’t get paid until the sale is over.