Assessing the home
- To begin with, Jennie and or crew members will visit your home or the residence in question. We will walk through and do a thorough review of the contents and reach a decision as to whether or not to proceed with an estate sale. Should your contents not be enough for a sale, rest assured we will put you in contact with a reputable and caring local charity which will best suit your needs, where your families belongings can be best used and appreciated by those who have little or nothing of their own.
Finding your liquidator
- In the case of the home having well enough content to actually proceed with a sale, now is the time for us to agree to our terms and sign the contract, and for us to begin our work in order to liquidate your estate. We don’t like to waste either of our time in beating around the bush to decide when and where; it is best that you are ready when you call us to interview our company, so that you can make an informed decision on who will best fit your needs. We like that you choose us with an open and educated mind and that you will always be happy with the finished product, and that you did in fact make the right decision.
Beginning the basics
- After setting a date for the sale to be held (in most cases seven to ten days after contract signatures) we will ask to have a key and full run of the home to work in day or night; depending on how much there is to do. We will then begin to unearth, clean, sort, photograph, research, and market your items for sale. Within a few days we will send out an email invitation of what is available in your estate to our trusted clients and loyal following as well as hand out fliers in your neighborhood. We shall send an additional email or more during the four days prior to the pre-sale, adding any significant items we find during the rest of the week. The mailing and flier information are costs we share from the gross proceeds of the sale itself, as well as any print ads, pre-sale or worker food, labor or crew, and basic clean-up costs. This will all come out of our pocket and be reimbursed at the end of the sale from the proceeds, leaving the result of the net sale to be divvied up between the owner and EstateSalesHelp.
Building the sale
- After we have organized your home by bringing in dozens or more tables, chairs, cases for display, and anything else needed to give your sale, such as tarps and awnings for outside wet weather, we photograph and advertise as which time we will then price all substantial items that we are able to. Now we are ready to sell!
Giving the sale
- Now comes the time for the sale once everything is in order and looking it’s best. In order to make the sale the best it can be, we ask that nothing be removed from the sale after our crew comes to work on the house, save personal items which we have set aside for your family, usually in a closet or cabinet marked family. We don’t want anyone to regret selling something that was part of their family and they are unable to replace. We want the end result to be a happy one for each of us and strive to make that happen.
Catching all the bases
- During the sale, if our crew has any questions for you or your family, we will need a contact number to be able to phone you at and ask any questions that may come up. Should we find something we have a question as to whether or not you might want to keep, we would like to ask you prior to adding it to the sale. We do ask that nothing we have advertised, or photographed for the website, be removed prior to the sale as this gives the clients a false sense of bad advertisement or the impression that we have pre-sold items, which we will not do.
- Our first few hours or part of the sale, will usually gross 50-70 percent of total sales, next few hours 20-30%, the latter part of the sale the remainder. That’s okay, as we need the end of the sale for 1/2 price, and free giveaway at the end of the day should you so choose for us to give your family’s items to the poor and needy at the end of the sale. The clean up will take place at the end of the sale. If you so choose, we will clean the yard, garage, entire premises and whatnot, adding this costs to the end of the families net results and paying for it from their end only.
- On a one-day sale that we often have for smaller estates on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, we will have discount mid-day and box-lot pricing last hour with free items leaving at the end of the sale around 6pm. At the end of the sale, we simply type up all sales recorded (it is very important for the family to note that we do NOT record each item as this would be impossible with the amount of sales we have each day… but rather we record each purchase made by every family or group that pays us, for example, Ellen buys a bed, four records, six plates, forty towels, a box of pots and pans, and a bracelet, you will see on your sales sheet only BED ETC 450.00 and this is how the entire sales sheet will read. Many one day sales only warrant four or five pages of sales being 40 sales to a page while some multiple day sales will house 25 sheets of sales typewritten recording close to a thousand separate purchases… not items. Most often your homes will have tens of thousands of odd items so it would be unthinkable to record each stapler, toothpick, and panty sold from the home, so we don’t try. As it states on our contract, we attempt to pay you within the first few days but have two weeks to get all paperwork back to you for you to go over costs/sales and net monies made.
Finishing with pride
- Our goal is three fold: to make this process as painless as possible, allowing us to do the hard work and show respect for the memory of the deceased; to enable our clients to find magnificent items to add to their collection at fair and decent prices; and finally, keeping the unwanted things from landing in the dump and also helping the less fortunate in our society at the same time we make a living from a business we love being a part of in every way. With these things in mind, we do our best to please all of the people we deal with, while holding tight to our integrity and following our hearts with the knowledge that we are doing the best job we are able and earning a track record we can be proud of forever.
- The following is a guide for shoppers more than clients who hire us to help them have a more enjoyable time of coming to the sales, waiting to enter, buying the items they came to obtain, as well as follow up etiquette of post-sale behaviors and expectations.
Estate Sale Etiquette
- There are many different ingredients that will help your time spent at any given estate sale be more enjoyable both for you and your guests as well as the host presenting the estate sale. The following content is more a guide than a rulebook but might be a good list to print out and bring along with you, should you be visiting one of our estate sales in the near future for the first time or even if you are already a fan of our estate sales but find your experiences not as positive as you would hope they might be.
- By following these rules, you can be sure to have a fun and profitable time on your future visits and also be welcomed back time and time again to upcoming estate sales we may host.
- 1) Follow line or list rules; sign up, wait patiently for your time to enter, and do not leave the premises once your name is on the line list. Enter in order of signup.
- 2) Never smoke on the premise at all.
- 3) Watch your language as well as the volume of your voice: you are not at a ball game or in a bar setting, you are visiting another person’s property and more than likely they recently lost a loved one and are sensitive to your behavior and your words.
- 4) Do not litter, bring it home with you or dispose of properly.
- 5) Have your own boxes and/or wrap for items you will purchase with you at the sale, do not expect the company or family to provide them or the labor needed to wrap your items purchased.
- 6) Have cash on hand or credit cards for purchases, do not expect the sale to accept your personal or business check if you have not already cleared this with the host company or family giving the sale.
- 7) Do not push, shove, or be too aggressive while shopping. Wait your turn at cases for jewelry and smalls that are more valuable and under lock and key.
- 8) Never, and I mean NEVER shop from the hold tables or touch anything that another person has put on hold…this means NEVER!
- 9) Buy every item you choose for keeps. There are no returns at an estate sale. You are not at Macy’s. This is buyer beware territory and when you spend money on something that is broken, chipped, or damaged, it is normally priced accordingly. Bring a magnifying glass, your glasses, a small pin-light, and anything you may need to choose wisely. Once you buy it, you own it. There are no returns of any kind in most sales.
- 10) Bring help to load your large purchases into your vehicle, don’t count on the company to have labor to help you load or a truck to bring the item to your home. While some of our companies may offer this service, many don’t. Come prepared and think ahead.11) Bring your own SOLD tags with pre-printed name and phone number on them. Do NOT sticker anything sold that you do not plan on buying, ever! This is one of the biggest gripes I have about buyers. They will come into the sale and put their name all over the house on all sorts of items and then lose interest in their choices leaving them for the next day. This is unacceptable. By doing this, you cause the company or family selling the items to take less money or be forced to give a discount on the item the next day as you have taken it off the market during the premium hours of the sale: the initial opening period when folks are all pumped up to spend money. Once the initial opening is over, the crowd dies down and we do not have the momentum needed to get top dollar. This is one mistake I have a hard time getting past and will land you in the ‘do not invite’ list of my company names. We actually have a healthy list of names of dealers who are not allowed to participate in ANY of our sales. Since we have over 80 houses to empty a year, more than likely you don’t want your name added to that list.12) Watch how and where you park your vehicles. Parking in a no parking zone or area will leave you with a healthy fine at least and a towed vehicle at worst. In between stands dents, scratches, and nasty notes from neighbors whose driveways you have blocked. Beware and following signs and warnings of colors and hydrants. Use your head and act accordingly.13) Don’t bother the neighbors. This means stay off their property, don’t sit around in front of their homes, and by all means leave them alone and give them their privacy. Put the shoe on the other foot and imagine how you would feel if you had your neighborhood inundated with strangers and cars, noise, traffic, and over-stimulation of crowds. Never attempt to enter the home housing the estate early or knock on the door prior to the sale attempting to befriend the heirs and get into the sale prior to the advertised time. This is truly bad manners.14) Upon check out of your choices, be quiet. Hold your tongue and allow us to add your prices in peace and quiet receiving a better discount and making the job for the cashier or pricing person easier. The more you yack, the less chance there is of your getting a healthy discount as the pricing person will need to go back to the beginning of their job and add all the items again. Also if you picked up a priced item that is tagged $50 or $100 dollars, don’t act surprised that it does not cost $2. Thanks in advance for being intelligent and not making our jobs any more difficult than they already are.15) Dress accordingly. If we invite you to a digger sale and tell you that the place is crawling with spiders, rodents, bugs, and is full of dirt and dangerous conditions, don’t wear a sun-dress and sandals. Instead bring gloves, dust mask, closed toed shoes, flashlight, and the like. Think of what you can do to make your visit easier on both yourself and the host. Come prepared.
16) Try not to argue with the host or company that is giving the sale, let alone the family who is going through this ordeal. Be amicable. Try to put yourself in their shoes and reverse the roles. Treat folks and their property with respect and honor. Remember that in order for you to shop amongst this content or property, someone had to die or be removed to a rest home. Chances are that the loss is still fresh. Think of how you might feel if your own parents had passed and you were forced to sell all of your childhood belongings and family heirlooms to get the family home ready to sell or lease. Imagine the loss and pain you might be feeling and how much worse that would be with some nincompoop coming in and being spiteful or mouthy in the midst of your loss out of their sheer greed or stupidity. This is the number one way to get me to ask you to leave and kick you off our list permanently, by being disrespectful of the family and their ordeal.
17) Wait your turn. Whether you are in line to view jewelry, see weapons, get checked out, to pay the cashier, or use the restroom wait your turn patiently. The quickest way to annoy a cashier or crew member is to act like your personal problem or desire is far more important than the guy in front of you, or worse yet, all 50 folks in front of you. Be an adult and wait until you are called and then you will get your question answered in the order people lined up or grabbed numbers. You would not want someone taking cuts in front of you and likewise, others don’t want you being helped before them when they came first.
18) Remove your purchases promptly. Don’t leave furniture or large items on the property longer than the sale takes place. We are not in charge of the home or property after the sale is finished. If you leave your purchases on the property for longer than the days of the sale, you risk losing your items altogether and having them go back to the family ownership or donated when we clean up the house. You are in charge of your items bought, we are not.
19) Do not take food and or drink into the home. While we try to provide you with snacks and beverages at every sale, we would appreciate your eating these outside of the home so that we don’t cause any more damage to the carpets than necessary.
20) Use the port-a-potty outside when we have one available instead of using the family toilets inside the home. We try to furnish you with outside toilets and hand- washing stations at every home. If we do not, you are normally welcome to use the home’s bathrooms but we would prefer if we do have a bathroom outside that you use it instead so that we don’t have issues.
By playing along with the rules of our estate sales and making an effort to follow the guidelines listed above, you will be sure to enjoy the sales, get along with others, and still be welcomed back time and time again.
In closing the best way to describe why we do things the way we do with fair pricing and why we condone ‘gifting or giving away all leftovers’ at the end of each sale can be shown by letting you read an exert from Kahil Gibran’s book The Profit:
And a merchant said, “Speak to us of Buying and Selling.”
And he answered and said:
To you the earth yields her fruit, and you shall not want if you but know how to fill your hands.
It is in exchanging the gifts of the earth that you shall find abundance and be satisfied.
Yet unless the exchange be in love and kindly justice, it will but lead some to greed and others to hunger.
When in the market place you toilers of the sea and fields and vineyards meet the weavers and the potters and the gatherers of spices,
– Invoke then the master spirit of the earth, to come into your midst and sanctify the scales and the reckoning that weighs value against value.
And suffer not the barren-handed to take part in your transactions, who would sell their words for your labour.
To such men you should say,
“Come with us to the field, or go with our brothers to the sea and cast your net; For the land and the sea shall be bountiful to you even as to us.”
And if there come the singers and the dancers and the flute players, – buy of their gifts also.
For they too are gatherers of fruit and frankincense, and that which they bring, though fashioned of dreams, is raiment and food for your soul.
And before you leave the marketplace, see that no one has gone his way with empty hands.
For the master spirit of the earth shall not sleep peacefully upon the wind till the needs of the least of you are satisfied.
From the lovely and inspiring book “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran
From our family to yours, good luck in your searches and best wishes with all the challenges life throws your way.
Thanks for the read.