Selling! Estate sale? or Auction?
Everyone at one time or another will be faced with having to sell an estate, and it is the astute person in charge who makes the decision that everyone must live with for the rest of their lives. How many times have you heard in a conversation, "I wish I would have sold my items using a different source? Or the sale was a bummer! A lifetime was given away --- pennies on the dollar." Dilemma and questions are often overwhelming when having to downsize or to sell a complete estate.
There are many factors that must be considered when making such a decision: location, time of year, quality and condition of the estate, type of items to be sold, expectations, time frame, and family concerns. Most important is what do you have in the estate? A disinterested third party such as an appraiser should be hired to help direct your decision regarding what is being sold. As an appraiser, we have guided clients down multiple paths of selling the estate in order to garner the greatest return.
Most people tend to rely on the preverbal estate sale as the only road to take when selling the estate. Yes, in some cases it might be the best path; however, there are a number of concerns that should be addressed. Reputation and referrals need to be thoroughly checked, contract restrictions and fine print need to be carefully read and understood as some contracts can leave the owner almost defenseless. Avoid signing if you are not allowed to be on the premises during the sale, and that there is a clear understanding about responsibilities regarding theft and liability issues, fees and commissions are just some of the concerns.
Watch for conflicts of interest when selecting an estate sale company. The perfect estate sale specialist does not own a shop, is not an antique dealer, does not own another business that might handle resale merchandise, and does not appraise the estate and then act as the seller's agent. These are red flags of major conflicts that indicate the company is not representing the estate at "arms length". Run, don't walk from such companies.
The other method of selling is one of the oldest methods used: the auction. At times, an auction alone and/or a combination might be the best method. Upper end property tends to do better when it is open to a number of people who may want to own it. Competition is created when the bidders set the price and not the estate sale specialist and the lucky buyer who is the first through the door who gets the "trophy". An auction exposes the property to a larger audience and is transparent.
Again, selecting an auction house requires the same diligence as selecting an estate sale company. Should the property selected be sent to a national auction, local auction and/or an on-site auction house? Just as there are questionable estate sale specialists, likewise, there are questionable auction houses. Again, a knowledgeable, experienced appraiser can help you navigate the maze.
Selling is an art and we are there to help you make the best decision regarding your property. Our only interest is to represent you with the knowledge and integrity that is expected.