Selling? How? What to do?
"My kids don't want it! In fact, no one wants any of the antiques, collectibles and other family household items that have been with me since I was a child. What should I do?" This is a common reframe we hear on almost a daily basis. Sadly, this generation does not have the same connection with the past as we do; consequently, family possessions and heirlooms are sold and the tie that bound is cut. You are left with the dilemma of how to dispose of your treasures: an estate sale? An on-site auction? Use a local auction house? The internet? Call a liquidator? Donate? Sell it with the house? or Use a consignment shop?
The contents of the estate will dictate which to use, but the average seller has no idea of what to do; consequently, the local estate sale specialist is usually the one who gets the call. An experienced appraiser who has no interest in buying or making any commissions on your items should be the one called to help direct you towards the best decision for the best value for the over-all estate.
It is a problem, especially when you have no idea where to start. What if the small oil painting has value? Does anything have the same value that you once thought it did? The fear that something of significant worth may be tossed aside may haunt you for ever. As an appraiser, we hear it all the time. This is when an appraiser should be called to help guide and consult with you. Decisions need to be made judiciously by offering various solutions to your problem by helping you make a decision. An estate sale might be in order; however, these two pieces might do better at a local auction. Or this piece of art should go to a national auction house. Or the jewelry and coins might best be sold by following a different approach.
One client recently gave us a call because she was concerned with the prices that an estate sale company had placed on some of her mother's items. She wanted an objective overview before the sale. We arrived the day before the sale to discover that the estate sale company had had a "pre-sale" with most of the pottery gone; however, one piece of "lava glass" was left that was marked $15.00, but with our direction was later sold on the internet for $3,800.00! Each venue has its merits and its problems. No one can point a finger at the estate sale specialist or the liquidator without realizing that three fingers point back at you. You ultimately are responsible for not doing your due diligence when making your decision when selling the estate.
Many times the person who makes the final decision is the personal representative who has a fiduciary duty to maximize the financial value of an estate and the decision must have merit especially when other heirs are involved. Almost everyone will be faced with the problem of selling the personal property for one reason or another.
For a nominal fee that could save the estate a great deal of money, an appraiser should be called. In fact, it is one of the many services we provide that will help keep you out of harms way.