This is part three of a multi-part series of questions you should ask before hiring an estate sale company. Go here for part 2.
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 want an answer for.
How Do You Determine Prices on the Merchandise?
Pricing the merchandise appropriately is very important to making an estate sale a success. Both the client and the company have the same goal in mind… Make as much money as possible. But does that mean that grandma’s vintage, silver spoon collection should be priced as if it were being sold at a Christie’s auction? NO!
Here’s why. First, large, well known auction houses attract global bidders. Second, they are bidding against each other for that exact item. Third, they probably plan on adding that item to their collection. The buyers for your item will be from your local area, they are trying to get a really good deal, and they are likely buying it in order to resell it. The vast majority of estate sale buyers are looking to make a profit from reselling the items. An estate sale company is trying to finely balance selling the items to them and getting as much for the items as possible.
Therefore, as a general rule, estate sale companies will price items at (roughly) 40-60% of what it might fetch in a resale store or an online sales venue (eBay, Etsy, etc.). Remember, stores and online entities have the opportunity to let an item sit for weeks or months waiting for the one buyer who will pay a certain price for the item. Your estate sale company is trying to sell as much as possible in two or three days to whomever walks through the door.
But how do they determine those prices? Estate sale companies use a variety of means including prior experience, knowledge of the local market, research, and sometimes, calling in a professional who is an expert if there is a really valuable item. There are even certain items that a company may take to an auction house in order to get the best price for a really rare item.
Here at A2Z Estate Solutions, we know the Colorado Springs market. As an example, we know that certain furniture, while very hot in some parts of the country, maybe in very low demand here. While that coffee table may fetch $300 at an estate sale in Big Coastal City, we might have to list it at $25 in order for it to sell here. So when you hire an estate sale company, make sure you understand the way your items will be priced.