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Thursday, July 3, 2014

What should a family do before calling an estate sales company?

Busy Bee Moving Sales - An Estate Sales Company in Nashville, TN.
 Before signing a contract with an estate and moving sale company, you have some decisions to make.
Proof of your legal right to sell the property must be obtained such as a power of attorney or the executor of a will and any court documents that would be necessary to outline the will's specifications.  Heirs should have removed any items not to be included in the sale or at least clearly marked them as not to be sold.  One contact person is best during the sale so as not to cause confusion.  This contact person will be responsible for communicating what items are to be sold and which are not and where they are to be stored during the sale.  For example, if a piece of furniture is too large to move during the sale, it should be covered, roped off, or noted for the sale.  If any items require titles or paperwork, those may take several weeks to apply for lost titles so give ample time to have that paperwork as buyers will want the proper and legal forms before buying.
Keys to all entrances, out buildings, sheds, basements, doors, clocks, gun cases, furniture drawers, garage items, farm equipment, freezers, jewelry boxes etc. have to be given to the company with labels.  Code entrances and safe codes may also be necessary.   Ask the sales team to keep these keys in a safe place during the sale as they are often lost during the sale.  I once had to reimburse a buyer 20.00 for a skeleton key for a secretary he bought during the sale that disappeared before he picked it up.
Go through everything you can.  It is time consuming to pick through everything and that is why it is important to choose a reputable company that will contact you or set aside things you would want to keep.  Money, jewelry and firearms are often hidden in the home.  It may be impossible to find everything mother stashed away so clear instructions on what to do if those items are found will help the company put those things back for you if you do not want them in the sale. Think about the person that lived there and where would they have most likely hidden things.  Always check through old purses, safes, between mattresses, books and file cabinets for important paperwork and valuables not to be included in the sale.
Choosing a date for the sale is important.  You want to choose a time that is good for you and the company in which you are working with.  Be sure you choose a company that is not booking too many sales the same week of your sale.  You want your sale to get the attention it deserves and not competing with others on their list so don't be afraid to ask them details about other sales they have booked at that time as it can greatly affect the employee coverage and expertise given to your sale. Don't be afraid to book your sale in the Fall and Winter months.  These months are rare for garage and estate sales therefore giving your sale more opportunity for buyers.  Also, antique dealers often have low inventories during those months and need to replenish their  stock.  Also check the local events in the area to avoid any possible activities that may interfere with the success of your sale that weekend.  For instance, you may decide that a  County Fair would pull customers away from the sale. 
Visit some estate sales in your area.  If you are not familiar with the process, check them out, especially the companies you are interested in using.  Observe the advertising, parking, layout of the sale and the prices of the merchandise.  You can find more information on my post later on how to choose an estate sales company so I will not go into that in this post.
Research any items in the sale that you have an idea of exceptional value.  Don't assume the company you are hiring will research everything.  Even if they did, they can never know the value of everything.  The less time they take in setting your sale, the less time they have taken to research it as well.  Furthermore, you may have information behind the origin of certain items that will assist the estate sales company in finding the value for your mother's painting.  Especially in the case of artwork, I have found the client of incredible help in giving me information that leads to an accurate appraisal.
Make sure the home and property are safe and accessible to the public.  Although the restrooms may not be open during the sale, a facility will need to be present while workers set up.  Water may also need to be accessible for cleaning.  Lighting, and electricity also need to be in working order for the sale.  Rope off or repair areas too dangerous for buyers.  Inspect outside areas for proper parking places and communicate to the estate sales manager your wishes for parking and buildings of no entry.  Make sure your homeowners insurance is up to date.
HOA and local residency restrictions.  Many condominiums, neighborhoods and subdivisions have strict homeowner rules about garage and estate sales.  They may also have requirements about signage and parking.  Make sure you have given ample time to have any associations review your sale guidelines in  the event they want to bring it before the board for approval.  Many associations have fined the homeowner for breaking the HOA rules.  Again, convey these rules to the sales manager so they may also comply with the HOA requirements.
And finally, make a decision on what company to go with.  I will go into more details on this matter in another post but definitely do your research, ask around for references, look for complaints in The Better Business Bureau and don't be afraid to ask for references.

The following is brought to you by Busy Bee Moving Sales in Nashville, Tennessee.  Visit our website to find out how we can assist you in selling your estate. email: or call 512-788-2544.

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